In 1956 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins recorded “I Put A Spell On You” in a drunken stupor. According to the Allmusic profile of Hawkins, the song was to have been “a refined ballad.” The alcohol apparently provided the inspiration for the touches that turned the song into his biggest hit by far. Most of the touches that made the song a hit are preserved in the over the top performance captured in the linked video, which fails only to document the emergence from a casket with which Hawkins usually introduced the song. Nina Simone provides a taste of what the song might have sounded like as a refined ballad. I came to the song through the stylings of Arthur Brown on the “Crazy World of Arthur Brown” in 1968. Halloween provides the occasion for retrieving the song today.
UPDATE: Pat Patterson reminds us of the terrific version by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
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