Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Casts His Spell

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and his spell-binding track is back to haunt us in the latest TV promo campaign for a Suzuki Swift. The car company has ‘’I Put A Spell On You’’ playing as its back drop sound as the 50’s black magic style of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins tries to take hold of one wary passer-by. Never far from his digital piano and complete with banshee-type wails Screamin’ Jay Hawkins delivers a quirky forty-four seconds of theatrics that spill over to the man who ‘misses the motor’ in the blink of an eye. Swift it may be – but are you spell bound? Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Casts His Spell

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Original

Known as an innovator of Shock Rock, our eccentric performer is so much more than just the music behind an elusive car as in his stage act Screamin’ Jay Hawkins rises from a coffin in his Vincent Price get-up; complete with smoke and mirrors.’’I Put A Spell On You’’ was meant to be a blues ballad but Screamin’ Jay Hawkins found more mileage in his accidental findings of a more hysterical version with its ¾ , waltz-like lilt and tiptoe saxophone lead. The umpa–pa digital piano part drives the music forward in this Adams Family-type charade to the deep-set operatic vocal line:

Intro: Em       Chorus:                   Em         Am                   Em

’I put a spell on you, ‘cause you’re mine’’ etc

A gutsy saxophone middle-eight is certainly worth waiting for.

Nina Simone’s Cover

From the screamin’ abdabs to a more salubrious version, Nina Simone eclipsed Screamin’ Jay Hawkins some years later with her jazz-clad cover. This time scored for in 4/4 with delicious digital piano chord harmonies, sonorous strings and brass; all underwritten to enhance the velvet vocal line of Nina Simone’s love song. With her lyrical pleas and tinkling digital piano right hand that randomly scatters notes like star dust – Nina Simone exacts her musical potion.

… Now I’m spellbound.

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