NAME: Jalacy J. Hawkins (aka Screamin' Jay Hawkins)
BORN: July 18, 1929
COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS: born...Cleveland, Ohio (Cuyahoga County)
DIED: February 12, 2000 Paris, France
"I came into this world black, naked and ugly. And no matter how much I accumulate here, it's a short journey. I will go out of this world black, naked and ugly. So I enjoy life."
--- Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Hawkins served in the military and, for a time, did some fighting as a middleweight.
In 1951, he joined up with Tiny Grimes & His Rocking Highlanders. He provided vocals and played the piano and sax. He went on to briefly play with Fats Domino's band. His services were dispensed with however, after he started wearing leopard skins and a turbin on stage.
His biggest hit, I Put a Spell on You, was released in 1956. Supposedly, during an early recording session of the song, Hawkins was so intoxicated he later had to relearn the lyrics.
Hawkins was regularly carried onto stage in a coffin from which he would emerge, dressed in a cape and brandishing a smoking skull named Henry. Many today view Hawkins as the seminal "ghoul rock" musician, laying the groundwork for later artists such as Alice Cooper.
His acting credits include films such as Mystery Train (directed by Jim Jarmusch) and Rage in Harlem.