I Put A Spell On You - Creedence Clearwater Revival

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"I Put A Spell On You" - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968)

One of the earliest hits for Creedence Clearwater Revival, "I Put A Spell On You" was written in 1956 by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, an American musician, singer, and actor known for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and macabre props onstage. Hawkins was an early pioneer of shock rock.

He had originally intended to record "I Put a Spell on You" as a refined love song, a blues ballad.

He said of the track:

"The producer brought in ribs and chicken and got everybody drunk, and so we came out with this weird version.  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."

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. 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 had a major influence on what came later in rock and roll as the 1960s brought several proto-shock rock artists including The Who, Jimmy Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Dr. John, Alice Cooper, KISS and Marilyn Manson.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version of the song did it justice. It was a very important hit for them as their previous one, "SusieQ" peaked at number 11 in mid-1968 while "I Put a Spell on You" hit number two. It was followed by the two monster hits, "Proud Mary" and "Bad Moon Rising". The track cemented CCR's status as bona-fide superstars in their own right.

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