🎃 SONG OF THE DAY 🎃 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Hear Voices

Screamin' Jay Hawkins & The Chicken Hawks / The Clovertones - I Hear Voices  (2005, Vinyl) | DiscogsAt worst, people can’t see through all his onstage trappings and therefore place him in the league of novelty, although at his best Screamin’ Jay’s voice was anything but: it was unearthly, tortured and seemed to emanate forth from a man both beset AND freeing himself from his demons all at once with the feeling and emotion of a man double his age…”

I’ve just read a review about Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and had to quote the extract you read above! They get him! They get what he was about and yes, yes, he was so much more than just visual horrors and theatrical escapades – this is the artist responsible for I Put a Spell On You, and although popularised by other artists such as Nina Simone, it was originally penned by Hawkins in 1956!

In most photos you’ll usually find him with at least one of his many visual horror props: whether clutching his skull-on-a-stick sidekick, donning a wide satin cape, wearing a white clip-on moustache doubling as a cannibal nose-bone and/or emerging up and out of a coffin onstage. All of these images combined with Hawkins’ wildly unique voice single-handedly pioneered a vision of death and resurrection during a time in the fifties when rock’n’roll was developing.  He encapsulated all that is thrilling about music, his voice seemed to reach out from another dimension, resonating through a hundred life times as he often expelled tales of darkness and woe.  His voice projected a power far beyond his early years and perhaps his failed attempts at being an opera singer were actually a blessing in disguise; for after he turned to blues and r&b!

I Hear Voices is my Halloween offering of the day – I mean, who else would fit the bill as the musical lord of horror more perfectly and be more apt to feature on the day of the dead? Not to mention I’ve never shared this track before, even though I thought I had (check out more Screamin’ Jay on my blog, here!  Written and released in 1962, I Hear Voices was another track that Hawkins performed from the comfort of a 6 foot tomb and, though the mutterings and howls of a troubled spirit comes the cries of a man haunted by voices in his head!!


He is the Cool: Screamin Jay Hawkins' Bizarre Years | Passion of the Weiss

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