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Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Jalacy Hawkins (July 18, 1929 – February 12, 2000), better known by the stage name Screamin' Jay Hawkins, was an American rhythm and blues musician, singer, and actor.
The Howling Legend: A Musical Biography of Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Music legends come and go, and for every one, there's a backstory that can leave us entertained and sometimes horrified. One legend is particularly known for his outrageous stage shows and extraordinary vocals - the one and only Screamin' Jay Hawkins. With an impressive career spanning decades, Hawkins' musical contributions still echo until this day. Join me as we delve into the life and times of the Howling Legend- from his musical biography, best songs, music genre, famous concerts, and even a critique of his sound.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins was born in the early 1920s in Cleveland, Ohio. From a young age, Hawkins was exposed to the world of music, singing in the church choir and playing multiple instruments. His talent was undeniable, and the artist was soon discovered and signed to a record label. With multiple hits such as I Put A Spell On You, and Alligator Wine, Hawkins' brand of R&B infused with a wild streak earned him a cult status that lasts until now. Hawkins was ONE of the first artists to incorporate props such as skulls, cobwebs, and snakes in his wild and sensational stage shows. Known for emerging from a coffin or throwing meat at the audience, Screamin' Jay Hawkins introduced the world to the ultimate live performances.
Hawkins' musical style was unique, fusing R&B, blues, and rock and roll to create his sound. With his gravelly voice, Hawkins could scream, growl, and howl like no other. No wonder he was nicknamed Screamin' Jay. At the same time, his offbeat sense of humor earned him a place in the genre of novelty music. He greatly influenced various artists, from Nick Cave and Tom Waits to Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath.
One of Hawkins' most famous concerts was the one he performed in Paris in 1991 at the Olympia Music Hall. It was a packed audience, and Hawkins was in top form, howling and screaming every lyric. He included all his most famous hits, making the people go wild. This performance would later become his live album-Live at the Olympia Paris. Many attest it was the greatest rock n roll spectacle they ever experienced.
As with any artist, rapid success comes with criticism. Hawkins' critics claimed that his music was too wild, too maverick, and at times, downright offensive. Yet, Hawkins' fans loved him, and he continued to perform until his death in 2000. You see, Hawkins was not just a performer but a pioneer. He was bold, daring, different, and above all, passionate about his craft. For every detractor, there were ten fans who loved him for what he represented- the ultimate rebel.
The world of music owes a great debt to Screamin' Jay Hawkins, whose outrageous style and fierce, raw voice continue to inspire fans to this day. His cult status still resonates- with I Put a Spell on You being a standard cover song for a wide variety of bands and musicians. He left the world a legacy of music that no one has matched yet. Screamin' Jay Hawkins was truly one of a kind, and he will continue to howl, scream, and rock the world for generations to come.



The Untold Musical Biography of Screamin' Jay Hawkins

When it comes to eccentric and flamboyant artists, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins undoubtedly stands out from the crowd. His wild on-stage antics, swampy bluesy sound, and unique vocals made him one of the most unforgettable musicians of all time. Yet, beneath the theatrics, lay a true musical genius. In this article, we’ll delve into the untold musical biography of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, tracing his beginnings, his most famous albums, his most famous songs, and his significant contributions to the world of music.


Born on July 18, 1929, in Cleveland, Ohio, Jay Hawkins was one of four children. Losing his mother at just a young age, he was raised by his grandmother, who exposed him to religious music at an early age. This experience would later have a significant impact on his musical work. As a teenager, Hawkins ran away from home and began a career busking on the streets of various U.S. cities. During this time, he developed his unique vocal style, infusing it with exaggerated screams, grunts, and other sounds.

Most Famous Albums

Hawkins’ most famous album is undoubtedly At Home with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, released in 1958. It featured his iconic piece I Put a Spell on You, which many consider his greatest hit. This album is quintessential Hawkins, featuring his bold style, eerie groove, and provocative lyrics. Other notable works include Black Music for White People (1961), Real Life (1983), and Live and Crazy (1991).

Most Famous Songs

I Put a Spell on You has to be the most famous song by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. It’s one of those tunes that just stick with you. Another notable hit is Constipation Blues, which features Hawkins’ trademark primal growls and growls. Other must-listens include Frenzy, Alligator Wine, and Whistling Past the Graveyard.

Musical Style and Influences

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ music is rooted in R&B, blues, and rock n roll. However, his sound is unclassifiable, infused with elements of jazz, gospel, and even classical music. Hawkins was heavily influenced by jazz legends such as Cab Calloway and Louis Jordan, who taught him the importance of showmanship and stage antics. He was also influenced by the songwriter and pianist Tom Waits, who once called him the iGodfather of Shock Rock.

In sum, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ musical legacy continues to inspire musicians and listeners around the world. His theatrical performances, haunting voice, and contributions to the blues genre left an indelible mark in music history. From his humble beginnings as a street performer to his worldwide stardom, Hawkins’ story is one of hard work, innovation, and showmanship. And although he passed away in 2000, his spirit and music live on, proving that true musical geniuses never truly die.
Tag: Screamin' Jay Hawkins, musical biography, best songs, playlist

The Mysterious and Influential Legacy of Screamin' Jay Hawkins

It's difficult to have a conversation about influential voices in music that doesn't mention Screamin' Jay Hawkins. He was the enigmatic master of musical horror and shock, whose iconic stage presence made him unlike any other performer at his time. His outsized onstage performances and pioneering mix of blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll influenced generations of future musicians even beyond rock, including Beefheart and Bowie. Though much has been said regarding Hawkins' legacy as a wild musician associated with macabre classics such as I Put A Spell On You, there's still so much more to unearth from both his personal life and discography – something we're all itching to explore!

When we think of the most influential voices in music, our minds often wander towards the usual suspects: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Madonna, and Michael Jackson, to name a few. But one name that deserves to be on that list, especially for fans of blues, R&B, and rock 'n' roll, is Screamin' Jay Hawkins. This enigmatic master of musical horror and shock left an undeniable mark on music history with his unique blend of gritty vocals and theatrical stage presence. In this blog post, we'll delve deeper into Hawkins' life and musical career, exploring why he is often considered a trailblazer in the music industry and how his legacy continues to influence generations of musicians.

Hawkins was born Jalacy Hawkins in 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child, he showed a natural talent for music and loved listening to blues and jazz records by the likes of Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong. Later on, he joined the army and played in the army band, honing his skills as a performer. After leaving the army, he began performing in nightclubs and theaters, eventually signing a recording contract with OKeh Records in 1952. It wasn't until 1956, however, that he would release his most famous song, I Put A Spell On You. It was a raw, hypnotic track that showcased his distinctive vocal style - a mix of thundering growls and falsetto wails - as well as his knack for the theatrical. The song's success was largely due to the controversy it generated; Hawkins' onstage antics and wild performances often included voodoo props, coffins, and live snakes.

But Hawkins' musical legacy goes beyond I Put A Spell On You. He was a true innovator in the realm of blues and rock 'n' roll, blending different genres and experimenting with unusual sounds. He played the piano, organ, and guitar, and often used unusual instruments like a coffin-shaped organ. Hawkins' music was a precursor to the shock rock genre, which emerged in the '70s with artists like Alice Cooper and Kiss. His influence can also be heard in the music of punk rockers like The Cramps and The Clash, who admired Hawkins' raw energy and do-it-yourself ethos.

Hawkins' personal life was just as colorful and mysterious as his music. He claimed to have fathered over 75 children, though the number has never been confirmed. He was married six times and had numerous affairs with women, including actress Mamie Van Doren. Hawkins was notoriously difficult to interview and would often give contradictory information about his life and career. He passed away in 2000 at the age of 70, leaving behind a legacy that continues to fascinate and inspire fans and musicians alike.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins was one of a kind - a wild, explosive performer whose music and personality left an indelible mark on the music industry. His innovative blend of blues, R&B, and rock 'n' roll set the stage for future generations of musicians to experiment with new sounds and push boundaries. While his personal life may have been shrouded in myth and contradiction, his music speaks for itself. Hawkins' legacy serves as a reminder that music can be just as much about the spectacle as it is about the sound - and for that reason, he will always be remembered as one of the most influential voices in music.
Tag: Screamin' Jay Hawkins, music artist, best songs, artist career
1 - I Put A Spell On You
2 - Little Demon
3 - Frenzy
4 - Alligator Wine
5 - Portrait Of A Man
6 - Hong Kong
7 - Constipation Blues
8 - Yellow Coat
9 - I Love Paris
10 - Person To Person
11 - Orange Colored Sky
12 - There's Something Wrong With You
13 - I Hear Voices
14 - Heart Attack & Vine
15 - Temptation
16 - Monkberry Moon Delight
17 - Itty Bitty Pretty One
18 - Ashes
19 - You Made Me Love You (i Didn't Want To Do It)
20 - Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle
21 - I Am The Cool
22 - Please Don't Leave Me
23 - You Made Me Love You
24 - Don't Deceive Me
25 - Feast Of The Mau Mau
26 - Just Don't Care
27 - I Don't Know
28 - You Ain't Foolin' Me
29 - (she Put The) Wamee (on Me)
30 - Ol' Man River
31 - This Is All
32 - Move Me
33 - Darling, Please Forgive Me
34 - Whistling Past The Graveyard
35 - It's Only Make Believe
36 - Same Damn Thing
37 - If You Are But A Dream
38 - We Love
39 - The Whammy
40 - Do You Really Love Me?
41 - Deep Purple
42 - Baptize Me In Wine
43 - Night & Day
44 - Guess Who
45 - Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
46 - Talk About Me
47 - Not Anymore
48 - Voodoo