Screamin' Jay Hawkins - The Whammy - Classic Blues Videos
great performance in Tokyo, Japan, 1990
Blues legend Screamin' Jay Hawkins performs "The Whammy" at the Kudan Kaikan in Tokyo, Japan in 1990.
Bari Southern (Tenor Sax)
Gary Snyder (Guitar)
Rodney Schnitz (Bass)
Gene Pello (Drums)
Ricky Rouse (Guitar)
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.
He served in the United States Air Force in the Pacific theater during World War II, primarily as an entertainer. Although he claimed to have been tortured for some time as a prisoner of war, stories of the circumstances of his actual capture vary. According to the documentary, I Put a Spell on Me, upon liberation he blew his chief tormentor's head off by taping a hand-grenade into his mouth and pulling the pin. Hawkins was an avid and formidable boxer. In 1949, he was the middleweight boxing champion of Alaska.
In 1951, he joined guitarist Tiny Grimes for a while, and recorded a few songs with him. When Hawkins became a solo performer, he often performed in a very stylish wardrobe, featuring leopard skins, red leather and wild hats.
Although Hawkins was not a major success as a recording artist, his highly theatrical performances from "I Put a Spell On You" onward earned him a steady career as a live performer for decades afterward, and influenced subsequent acts. He opened for Fats Domino, Tiny Grimes and the Rolling Stones. This exposure in turn influenced rock groups such as Screaming Lord Sutch, Black Sabbath, Arthur Brown, Dread Zeppelin, The Horrors, Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper.
Wikipedia contributors. "Screamin' Jay Hawkins." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 Aug. 2010. Web. 15 Aug. 2010