US American singer, screamer and actor ; born 18 July 1929 in Cleveland (Ohio, USA) as Jalacy J. Hawkins, died 12 February 2000 in Neuilly-sur-Seine (France)
His wild songs and onstage theatrics of his self-created brand of voodoo jive earned him the name Screamin' Jay Hawkins
. His early act has often featured him emerging from a casket to sing his best-known hit, "I put a spell on you
" (1956), carrying a skull smoking a cigarette ("You know smoking's bad for you, look at Henry..."). Other novelties, ranging from "Feast of the Mau Mau
" to "Constipation blues
" (both 1969), may have stereotyped his talent, but on the other hand, his idiosyncracies have brought him TV and movie appearances that would have eluded him had he played his music straight. Regardless of style, Hawkins's recordings still display a remarkable voice, which would have been used for opera had Screamin' Jay had his way.
His first appearance as a cannibal in the movie Mr. Rock'n'Roll (1957) was never shown. His song "I put a spell on you" starred in the Jim Jarmusch movie Stranger than Paradise (1983), the man himself played in the movie Mystery train by the same director.
Sweet Daddy Hawk died on 12 February 2000 at the age of 70.
Read a great interview with Screamin' Jay Hawkins! (thanks to Trevor Cajiao from Now Dig This)
"One day I won't die."