I Put A Spell On You

Album: I Put A Spell On You (1957)
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  • Lyrics
  • Hawkins wrote this as a ballad lamenting the loss of a girlfriend he wanted back. The original version was a lot slower and much more tame. Hawkins was recording for Grand Records at the time, and had a hard time convincing them to release this. A year later, Hawkins recorded the version that became famous for another label, and transformed the song into a spooky tale about putting a curse on the girl so he can have her.
  • Hawkins performed the ghoulish version for the first time at a Christmas concert staged by Cleveland DJ Alan Freed in 1956. He got a huge reaction from the song, and Freed invited him to perform it on his TV special. Hawkins developed a bizarre stage show around this. He would come out in a flaming coffin and wield a skull on a stick that he named "Henry."
  • The producers wanted a "weird" sounding record, so they gave the musicians lots of food and liquor and created a party atmosphere at the session.
  • The version with various grunts and groans was banned by most radio stations. An edited version became a hit with teenagers who liked the forbidden sound.
  • Around Halloween, this becomes very popular every year.
  • Before taking on his spooky stage persona, Hawkins (real name: Jalacy Hawkins) was a boxer and professional piano player. He died in February 2000 and was rumored to have at least 50 children. There was even a website set up after his death to help locate all his kids.
  • Creedence Clearwater revival covered this in 1968 and performed it at Woodstock in 1969. It was their second single, but did not chart.

    Another popular version was by The Animals, who released it on their 1966 album Animalization. Eric Burdon performed the song with a reunited Animals at a 2006 concert in Lugano, Italy.
  • This was also covered by Arthur Brown, from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, who also liked to use fire as part of his stage act. Arthur Brown's only hit was "Fire." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    David - Lubbock, TX
  • Another popular cover was by Nina Simone, an influential singer who performed a variety of standards and jazz songs before her death in 2003. Her 1991 autobiography is titled I Put A Spell On You.

    Simone's version reached #23 on the R&B chart and crossed over to the pop chart in the UK, where it peaked at #49 in 1965. It landed on that chart again when it was re-released in 1969, this time at #28.
  • Marilyn Manson recorded this for his album Smells Like Children. His growling, often snarled lyrics were a rather odd contrast to the music, although it was significantly darker and more "metal" than it had been originally. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brett - Edmonton, Canada
  • Joe Cocker covered this on his 2004 album Heart And Soul. Eric Clapton added to the track with a typical "slowhand" guitar solo. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Howard - Figtree, Australia
  • The Notorious B.I.G. sampled the bass line of this song and speeded it up for his song "Kick In The Door."
  • On The Simpsons, this song was used at the end of an episode in which Krusty the Klown invents a new sandwich for his fast food chain which has both addictive and psychedelic properties. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Will - Boston, MA, for above 2
  • This was used as a recurring theme in Jim Jarmusch's first film, Stranger Than Paradise (1984). Eva (Ezster Balint) comes to America from Hungary, carrying a tape recorder on which she plays the song at top volume as she walks down the street. She proclaims "It's Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and he's a wild man, so bug off." She plays the tape on a roadtrip in her cousin's car; he is unimpressed, but his friend cheerily proclaims it "Driving Music." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ekristheh - Halath
  • Annie Lennox sang this at the 2015 Grammy Awards after joining Hozier for his performance of Song of the Year nominee "Take Me to Church." Lennox had recorded a cover of the classic Screamin' Jay Hawkins number for the soundtrack of the 50 Shades of Grey movie, which was released a week or two later.

    Lennox's version entered the Hot 100 at #97 in the week following her performance.
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Comments: 34

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1965 {July 2nd} Nina Simone performed "l Put A Spell On You" on the British ITV network television program, 'Ready Steady Go!'...
    A little over a month later on August 5th, 1965 the song entered the United Kingdom's Official Top 50 Singles chart for a one week stay at position #49...
    And across pond it was in it's first week on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart at position #30, five weeks later it would peak at #23 for one week...
    Four years later on January 15th, 1969 "I Put A Spell On You" re-entered the UK Top 50 Singles chart at position #44, three weeks later it would peak at #28 {for 1 week}...
    Ms. Simone, born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, passed away at the age of 70 on April 21st, 2003...
    May she R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 12th 1956, Screamin' Jay Hawkins recorded "I Put a Spell On You*"; later in the year it was released on the Okeh Record label...
    And on February 12th, 2000, exactly forty-four years after recording the song, Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins passed away from surgical complication, he was 70 years old...
    * Though his version never charted, a number of covered versions did; on Billboard's Top 100 chart , Creedence Clearwater Revival's version peaked at #58 in 1968 and the Alan Price Set took their version to #80 in 1966 and to #8 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    Also on the U.K. Singles chart Sonique reached #36 in 1998 with her version...
    On Billboard's R&B Singles chart, Nina Simone's covered version reached #23 in 1965, and her version would peak at #49 on the U.K.Singles chart.
  • Karlin from Nelson, BcI liked the Arthur Brown version. I might still have that vinyl [but no turntable]
  • Mach Ten from Hanford, CaHello Everybody ... I heard a long version ... aka ... extended version of ... I Put a Spell On You by CCR ... I had the song on my PC back in 2004 but I cannot find it anymore ... Does anybody know what album this long version of ... I Put a Spell On You by CCR ... is on ... would greatly appreciate the help. Sincerely ... Mach10
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzThe Creedence Clearwater Revival version of "I Put a Spell on You," was the followup release to the group's cover of "SusieQ," and peaked at #58 on Billboard in December of 1968. I was floored when I first heard the Screamin' Jay Hawkins original on an oldies station in Los Angeles back in the early 1980s--you never really knew what he was going to do next.
  • Ani from Yerevan, ArmeniaJOHN FORGERTY has also done a gorgeous cover of this song in the album "Premonition" (1998). However, there are many versions of this song, but the original one always remains N1 for me:)
  • Jean-françois from Montreal, QcIn 2008 Beatrice Bonifassi (Betsy) and Champion recorded a version of this song. "I Put a Spell on You" was being used as the theme song of the Quebecois film Truffe by Kim Nguyen. The film was set for release on screen in July of 2008 and on DVD in January of 2009. We can hear the DJ Champion remixed version during the titles.
  • Ledg from Winnipeg, MbA version exists on the album House on the Hill (1971) by Audience. This was the first I heard this song and this version is one of my all-time favorite tracks by any artist.
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaThis is considered to be the very first of the "Shock Rock" genre.
  • Jean-françois from Montreal, QcScreamin' Jay Hawkins song is sampled on "Wait A Minute (Just A Touch)" by Estelle.

    The single was produced by, and features, Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am. It was made available for download on November 19, 2007 and then released physically a week later, on November 26, 2007. The song was released in UK only.
    It is included on "Shine", album released in February 2008.
  • Callen from Berkeley, CaProducer DJ Premier's sample of "IPASOY" for Notorious B.I.G.'s "Kick in the Door" is great, and it's not slowed down. He uses the first 4-count "ba-ba-ba-bum..bum..bum" and spreads it over 6-counts. A 2-count space ,with a lazy buoy ringing, and he repeats for a slowed, off-beat effect that is really scientific, really DJ Premier, really puts a spell on you. Love them both.
  • Sander from Solana Beach, Cadoes anybody know who C.A. Quintet is?
    They did the best cover of this song on their album "Trip Through Hell".
    I am only 14 but they are one of my favorite bands.
  • Marcus from Columbus, OhThe Hawkins' Verison of The Song "I put A Spell On You" was played on "The Soupy Sales" show where a hand puppet, "Pookie, The Lion" did the song was jerked around to Jay's screams and groans & in the end of the song the hand puppet acted like he had a epiplstic seizure. That song has been covered by many artists, but Screaming Jay Hawkins is the best of them all. Also he did a tune called "Constapation Blues" where he was screaming & groaning in that song & makes some of my friends laugh at his pain. Mr. Hawkins left us on the same say Charles Schulz who did Peanuts left us also. Marcus Brainard
  • Joe from Hearentheir, OtherNo one has mentioned yet that Audience recorded the tune on "House On The Hill". The whole album is pretty good.
  • Pawgrafoman from Worthing, EnglandNick Cave covered this song and relased that on his studio album 1986 'kicking against the prick'.Very dark song as Nick Cave is
  • Jerry from Eatontown, NjScreaming Jay was very unique but Creedence did the song justice. As a matter of fact any long Creedence song is worth listening to.Susie Q, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, and my Personal Favorite Keep On Chooglin
  • Joshua from Franklin, PaManfred Mann also covered this song. Their version can be found on "Manfred Mann - The Best of the EMI Years."
  • Christian from Paris, La FranceI put a spell on you a été il y a quelques années un support pur la boisson française "Perrier" elle Était magnifique..........j'aimerais connaitre toutes les versions et tous les interprétées de I put a spell on you.......thank you .....Chris

    -sf- : google translate : auto to english::

    "I put a spell on you" was a few years ago a medium drink pure French "Perrier" It was magnificent .......... I know all versions and interpretations of "I put a spell on you".......thank you .....Chris
  • Thomas from Buffalo, NyOn the NBC-TV drama Profiler, serial killer Jack dedicated this song to the object of his obsession, Dr. Samantha Waters...
  • Peter from Ottawa, CanadaThe band THEM (with Van Morrison) recorded this also, '66 I think, a great version with a slow-burning sax solo.
  • Robert from Bloomington, InNatacha Atlas, a Tunisian-Belgian singer popular in Europe, recorded a wonderful middle-eastern sounding version in 2001 using rai-style percussion, synth and Tunisian backpipe. The accompaniment uses an exotic musical scale but if you listen closely you can recognize a modified 12-bar blues progression.
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesThe 1978 film "American Hot Wax" features an interesting live performance of "I Put A Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins (coffin included), as well as performances by Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. Jay Leno and Fran Drescher also appear in early movie roles, and Tim McIntire is superb as Alan Freed. This is a movie no rock'n'roll fan should miss.
  • Patrick from Conyers, GaThe song was also performed on "The Simpsons" by Bart when he worked for the Mob. Dressed in a fancy suit, he starts singing a couple of lines from the song while walking through the kitchen.
  • Will from Boston, MaThe Notorious B.I.G. sampled the bass line from "I Put a Spell on You" for his song "Kick in the Door". They speeded up the sample and it sounds great. Also, "I Put a Spell on You" was used at the end of a The Simpsons episode in which Krusty the Clown make a new sandwhich for his fastfood chain which is both addictive and psychedelic.
  • Brian from Nr Woodstock, Oxon., EnglandAs well as the Animals version, Alan Price recorded a solo version c. 1965 which was a minor hit in the UK at the time, and has featured intermittenly in his live set since the late '90's.

    Brian, Woodstock, England

    PS If Paul in Perth (or anyone else for that matter) would like a copy of the chords, the band I play in has just started gigging our own version of the song (in Cminor), so just let me know.

  • Djamo from Lommel, BelgiumThis song was also used in a Pringles commercial, whitch I saw a lot on MTV, it was for the , then new, Pringles Hot and Spicy, a commercial about a guy whose chips get eaten by a crocadile at his house in the swamps.
  • Bill from Salem, MaRush Limbaugh has used this song for his Mario Cuomo update theme for almost 15 years. Great choice!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesSonique and Bryan Ferry have also covered this song
  • Mauro Boscarol from Bolzano, ItalyNina Simone cover this song in 1965.
  • Paul from Perth, ScotlandI play this song myself, to the accompaniment of a solo acoustic guitar. I'm willing to share the chord progression I use with anyone else - the trouble is I play by ear, and I can't even identify by name one of the chords I use! Some musician!
  • Billy from Pittsburgh, PaThis song was used in a 2004 jeans commercial (Levi's, I think?) where a mannequin stalks a department store worker who took the jeans off of it. Kind of creepy.
  • Aad from Maassluis, Netherlandsi have an old album of THE ANIMALS, its called
    " ANIMALISMS" TRACK 4 SIDE B IS: I PUT A SPELL ON YOU.
  • Patrick from Conyers, GaWas also covered by Bette Midler in the 1993 Disney Halloween film "Hocus Pocus" with alternative lyrics. A singer dressed in a skeleton costume is singing the original song, and when Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy enter the party, She later takes over the stage and performs her version. She then has the entire party under her spell and makes them all dance.
  • Brad Wind from Miami, FlThe first few attempts at Hawkins recording this song went nowhere. When the producer asked why he could do the song effectively on stage but not in the studio, Hawkins explained that he never did a concert sober.

    THEN the liquor started flowing in the sound studio...
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