“Me, I guess you have to say I spent most o’ my time on the dark end of the street,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins told writer Gerri Hirshey in her soul music history Nowhere to Run. It was an unlikely place for the vocalist to dwell. As a boy, Jalacy Hawkins idolized Enrico Caruso and longed for a career in opera. Instead, the leather-lunged singer went the R&B route, and ultimately established himself as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most extroverted performers.
Screamin’ Jay’s rep rests largely on one record: His self-penned 1956 single “I Put a Spell On You.” This wailing, out-of-control slice of musical voodoo, which reached a rarefied level of dementia... Read More