"I Put a Spell on You" is a 1956 song written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, whose recording was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It was also ranked #313 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Although Hawkins' version did not make any charts, several later cover versions have done so. Nina Simone's version reached # 23 in the US Billboard R&B chart in 1965; it also reached # 49 in the UK singles chart that year, and # 28 when it was reissued in 1969. The version by The Alan Price Set reached # 9 in the UK in 1966, and # 80 on the Billboard Hot 100Creedence Clearwater Revival's version reached # 58 on the US Hot 100 in 1968. In the UK, Bryan Ferry's version reached # 18 in 1993, and the version by Sonique reached # 36 in 1998 and # 5 on reissue in 2000.[1][2][3] The song has been recorded by numerous other artists. The song version by Jeff Beck featuring Joss Stone, was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at 53rd Grammy Awards.

The original composition[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hawkins had originally intended to record "I Put a Spell on You" as a refined love song, a blues ballad. He reported, however, that the producer "brought in ribs and chicken and got everybody drunk, and we came out with this weird version.[4] I don't even remember making the record. Before, I was just a normal blues singer. I was just Jay Hawkins. It all sort of just fell in place. I found out I could do more destroying a song and screaming it to death."

Hawkins first recorded "I Put a Spell On You" during his stint with Grand Records in late 1955, however that first version was not released at the time. It has since been reissued on Hawkins' UK Rev-Ola CD "The Whamee 1953-55".

The following year, Hawkins re-recorded his song for Okeh Records and the new version became a quick success, despite being banned by some stores and radio stations and not appearing on the record charts, despite the fact it was clearly a good seller. The new version brought Hawkins together with Alan Freed and his "Rock and Roll Review".

Up to this time, Hawkins had been a blues performer; emotional, but not wild. Freed suggested a gimmick to capitalize on the "demented" sound of "I Put a Spell on You": Hawkins wore a long cape, and appeared onstage by rising out of a coffin in the midst of smoke and fog.[4]

The act was a sensation, later bolstered by tusks worn in Hawkins' nose, on-stage snakes and fireworks, and a cigarette-smoking skull named "Henry". The theatrical act was one of the first shock rock performances, and a basis for much that came later in rock and roll, including Dr. JohnAlice CooperEric BurdonScreaming Lord SutchWarren ZevonArthur Brown (whose band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown recorded "I Put a Spell on You" in 1968), Black SabbathTed NugentGeorge ClintonThe Butthole SurfersThe Cramps, and Marilyn Manson.

"I Put a Spell on You"
Single by Creedence Clearwater Revival
from the album Creedence Clearwater Revival
Released 1968
Genre Psychedelic rockblues rockroots rockacid rock
Length 4:25
Label Fantasy Records
Writer(s) Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Producer Saul Zaentz
Creedence Clearwater Revival singles chronology
"Suzie Q"


"I Put a Spell On You"


"Proud Mary"/"Born on the Bayou"


"I Put a Spell on You"
Single by Sonique
from the album Hear My Cry
Released 25 April 2001 (US)
Format CD Single
Genre Dance
Sonique singles chronology


"I Put a Spell on You"


"Can't Make Up My Mind"


Covers and samples[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Other artists to record the song include:

Most of the covers treat the song seriously; few attempt to duplicate Hawkins's bravura performance. Arthur Brown comes close.

In 1967, the arrangement was used for Frank Sinatra's "The World We Knew (Over and Over)".

It has been sampled on tracks by The Notorious B.I.G. ("Kick in the Door"), The Beatnuts ("Se Acabo"), LL Cool J and The Heavy ("Sixteen"), and Legion of Dynamic Diskord ("Rebel Rebel").[5] Producers Cookin' Soul incorporated more elements of the original song plus a tempo change for a remix featuring Styles P of The LOX.

The song has been used as the exit music for the annual Halloween fireworks show HalloWishes at Walt Disney World in Florida. It can also be heard at the end of Halloween Screams at Disneyland and Disney's Nightmare in the Skyat Hong Kong Disneyland.

The title of the song was borrowed to name one of the quests in the role-playing game Fallout New Vegas, as one of the numerous references and allusions to the music of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s in that game.

The song also is an important motif in the classic 1984 independent film by Jim JarmuschStranger than Paradise.

The song appeared in the tenth episode of American Horror Story: Asylum in 2012.

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