Ep. #70 Featuring Taylor Raven, Ryan Raven and Josh Nelson
"I Put A Spell On You"
When we think of “shock rock” usually we think of the 1970s and artists like Alice Cooper or KISS or wild excursions to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But believe it or not, “shock rock” was already raging in the 1950s when “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins performed “I Put A Spell On You”. His stage shows blended rhythm and blues with macabre subject matter and were filled with props, sets, and unearthly sounds made by voices and instruments alike—all acting as inspiration to the artists above and beyond.
Oddly enough, Hawkins’ smash hit (and now cult classic!) was accidental. In the early 50’s he recorded “Spell” as a love ballad, but his record company never released it. Then one night, after a few too many drinks, he and his band fortuitously recorded the version that made history. Rather than scrap the track as a drunken free-for-all, Okeh Records released the wild vocal number! Despite being fully banned in some areas of the country for sounding too cannibalistic, the record sold over 1 million copies.
Hawkins' voodoo priest persona seems to have had little effect on the artists who recorded the song since its release as many have chosen to sing it as it was originally intended—a ballad.
Gracing us with their rendition of the all-consuming love song is versatile mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven with trumpeter Ryan Raven and Josh Nelson on piano.