February 12: The late great Screamin’ Jay Hawkins died in 2000

screamin jay hawkins


“To me he was like a natural treasure”
– Jim Jarmusch

I came into this world black, naked and ugly. And no matter how much I accumulate here, it’s a short journey. I will go out of this world black, naked and ugly. So I enjoy life.
~Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Screamin Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You:

Fantastic full length documentary on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, I Put A Spell on Me:


Birth name Jalacy Hawkins
Born July 18, 1929
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Died February 12, 2000 (aged 70)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Genres Rhythm and blues, soul, shock rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, actor,producer
Years active 1946–2000


Jalacy Hawkins (July 18, 1929 – February 12, 2000) — known as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins — was an 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”, Hawkins sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him an early pioneer of shock rock.



SJH_1 billboard

Screamin ‘Jay Hawkins – Concert Tokyo 1990:

Allmusic.com (Bill Dahl):

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was the most outrageous performer extant during rock’s dawn. Prone to emerging out of coffins on-stage, a flaming skull named Henry his constant companion, Screamin’ Jaywas an insanely theatrical figure long before it was even remotely acceptable.

Hawkins’ life story is almost as bizarre as his on-stage schtick. Originally inspired by the booming baritone of Paul Robeson, Hawkins was unable to break through as an opera singer. His boxing prowess was every bit as lethal as his vocal cords; many of his most hilarious tales revolve around Jay beating the hell out of a musical rival.

Hawkins caught his first musical break in 1951 as pianist/valet to veteran jazz guitarist Tiny Grimes. He debuted on wax for Gotham the following year with “Why Did You Waste My Time,” backed by Grimes & His Rockin’ Highlanders (they donned kilts and tam o’ shanters on-stage). Singles for Timely (“Baptize Me in Wine”) and Mercury’s Wing subsidiary (1955’s otherworldly “[She Put The] Wamee [On Me],” a harbinger of things to come) preceded Hawkins’ immortal 1956 rendering of “I Put a Spell on You” for Columbia’s OKeh imprint.

Hawkins originally envisioned the tune as a refined ballad. After he and his New York session aces (notably guitarist Mickey Baker and saxist Sam “The Man” Taylor) had imbibed to the point of no return,Hawkins screamed, grunted, and gurgled his way through the tune with utter drunken abandon. A resultant success despite the protests of uptight suits-in-power, “I Put a Spell on You” became Screamin’ Jay’s biggest seller (“Little Demon,” its rocking flip, is a minor classic itself).    (READ MORE)

Here’s an incredible performance of I’m Lonely recorded 6 months before he died:

Today’s Spotify album is the allready classic live album, Live at The Olympia, Paris 1998:


Other 12 February:

Sammi Smith (August 5, 1943 – February 12, 2005) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Born Jewel Faye Smith, she is best known for her 1971 country/pop crossover hit, “Help Me Make It Through the Night”, which was written by Kris Kristofferson. She became one of the few women in the outlaw country movement during the 1970s.

In their great book “Heartaches by the Number: Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles”, David Cantwell & Bill Friskics-Warren rates Sammi Smith’s version of Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night” as…. number 1..

Although I don’t agree.. it is a great version.. here it is:

Omar Hakim (born February 12, 1959 in New York CityUSA) is an American jazzjazz fusion and pop music drummer.Hakim credits jazz vibraphonist Mike Mainieri with giving him his first break in 1980; Hakim appeared in a video with Mainieri called The Jazz Life and began working with singer Carly Simon through Mainieri. Hakim first came to major attention as a member of Weather Report and then Sting‘s Blue Turtles band, appearing in the film Bring On the Night.


Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr., better known as Ray Manzarek (born February 12, 1939), is an American musician, singer, producer,film director, writer, co-founder and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973, Nite City from 1977–1978 and Manzarek-Krieger since 2001

– Egil & Hallgeir

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