Sunday, July 18, 2010
Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin
Jalacy Hawkins (July 18, 1929, Cleveland, Ohio — February 12, 2000, Paris, France), best known as Screamin' Jay Hawkins was an African-American musician, singer, and actor. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as "I Put a Spell on You" and "Constipation Blues", Hawkins sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him the one of few original shock rockers.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Hawkins studied classical piano as a child and learned guitar in his twenties. His original career goal was to become an opera singer in the footsteps of Paul Robeson. When his initial ambitions failed, he began his career as a conventional blues singer and pianist.
Watch Screamin' Jay Hawkins perform "I Put a Spell on You," free from YouTube.com.