What: “I Put a Spell on You”
Where: I Put a Spell on You single
Why: Long before there was Lux Interior, shock rock pioneer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was deranging audiences with performances that ranged from sensational to insane. He was even known to perform his scatological goof “Constipation Blues” with an onstage toilet. I’m not sure where the possessed rendition (at right) of his only major hit, “I Put a Spell on You,” comes from, but you’ll probably never see it on television these days, especially in the United States.
Hawkins’ performances were as wild as rumors about his past. And you can blindfold yourself and chuck a dart at Hawkins’ catalog and end up with a Halloween classic. We’re also partial to the hilarious “There Something Wrong With You,” with its nutty talk of monkey toes, cow fingers and mosquito pies. But “I Put a Spell on You” is a perennial, which is why it’s been covered by artists as different as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nina Simone, Nick Cave, Them, Bryan Ferry and Marilyn Manson. Rest in peace, you madman.