It’s hard to choose which version of I Put I Spell On You, an American classic, is the best. Nina Simone, Bette Midler, Bryan Ferry, and Annie Lennox are just four of the best-known versions. And that’s the song that Billy Porter appears in Gossip Girl, putting on a show, of course.
But while it’s classic Halloween, including being one of the best scenes in Hocus Pocus, I Put A Spell On You was born out of a broken heart.
Written in 1955 by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the ballad was born as a cry from a person wanting the return of a love that left him. However, the author revised his original version and altered the tempo, turning this re-reading into a haunting hymn almost like a curse begged. In this new vision, he does not “want” to return, but bewitches her to return.
Gradually, the artist incorporated a frightening theatrical interpretation of the song. He emerged from a burning coffin, holding a skull and a staff he called “Henry”. The grunts and groans in the background of the recording also contributed to a certain “fear” of I Put I Spell On You.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ real name was Jalacy Hawkins and he worked as a professional boxer and pianist. When he died in 2000, it is said that he left more than 50 children.
Multiple covers, versions, and a playlist
The Animals recorded a version of I Put I Spell on You in 1966, followed by the Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1968. Singer Nina Simone loved the song, the version of which is one of the most popular to this day. She liked it so much that this is the title of her biography.
With so many re-records, we’ve prepared a playlist with some of the best versions. Just enjoy.