June 28, 2010

Monday Music

Jalacy Hawkins was born July 18, 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio. As a young child, “Jay” was trained as a classical pianist and had dreams of being an opera star. Things changed. In his 20’s Jay picked up a guitar and all that other nonsense went out the window.

Here is Screamin’ Jay Hawkins performing Heart Attack and Vine.

Another hit came with I am the Cool!

Hawkins became popular in both rock & roll and blues genres, writing and performing some outlandish tunes. With a flair for the dramatic, Jay came on stage wearing strange haircuts, even stranger clothing, and he rigged his stage with a variety of shocking props.

I Put a Spell on You became Hawkins biggest hit. It was popular world wide and has been reprised by great blues and rock & roll artists many times since. Probably the best known tribute is this performance by John Fogarty and Credence Clearwater Revival.

Nina Simone does a fine version.

Even Marilyn Manson felt the need to channel Screamin’ Jay.

My favorite so far is this one; with Grammy award winning singer Joss Stone, and legendary rocker Jeff Beck on guitar. This version is contained in Beck’s latest CD; the first he has released in seven years and his first effort into classical strings. Emotion and Commotion was released just this past May.

Screamin’ Jay died in Paris about 10 years ago having left a musical legacy that continues entertaining us today, and likely will for many years to come.