Jalacy Hawkins was born.
In later life he said “I came into this world, black, naked & ugly & I will leave black, naked & ugly”
Hawkins was in active service in world war II, he spent some time in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
He was an army boxing champion & was the middleweight champion of Alaska in 1949.
After army life he took on the name Screamin Jay Hawkins & became a singer of rock n roll, R&B, blues & soul.
His songs were mostly on a voodoo, horror theme, he was the king of shock horror years before Alice Cooper or Screaming Lord Sutch.
His stage show was something that had never been done before, dressed outrageous he would perform voodoo rituals on stage & used props like smoke skulls & fire.
He always had “Henry”, his skull on a stick that would often smoke cigarettes.
He toured with Bo Diddley, Them, The Drifters, The Clash, The Fuzztones & Nick Cave to name a few.
All his songs are worth a listen, Baptise me in wine, She put the wammy, The feast of the beast of the mau mau & Alligator wine & many many nore!
His most famous song was ” I Put a Spell on You”, it was written as a ballad, but when it was recorded a long time girlfriend of Jays had walked out on him.
Hawkins downed a bottle of whiskey & screamed & spat the words out, then passed out.
The next morning he couldn’t remember recording it or remember the song.
I put a Spell on You was banned for years as it was “too scary”
Since then it his most well know song, covered by so many & the covers are better known than the orginal.
Hawkins had 6 wives in his life, he died on 12 February, 2000, aged 70 & left a 31 year old widow.
Screamin Jay Hawkins is my favourite singer, I first discovered him in a record shop in Banbury, there in the rack was a bright orange cover with a strange drawing on the cover surrounded by voodoo symbols.
I turned the album round & there was a photo of Screamin Jay in a coffin, just the song titles appealed to me, the last song on the album I couldn’t wait to get home & play.
It was called “Constipation Blues“.