I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get round to this brilliant track. It was written by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, whose recording of it was released in 1956. It was banned from most radio programmes because of its ‘outrageous’ style.
Here is a live performance, I am guessing from the early 60s from the Granada station identification logo. This makes it clear that it was written as a creepy stalking song (like Every Breath You Take).
Nina Simone did a great version in 1965 for an album by the same name. As a single it reached No 23 In America and No 49 in Britain (No 28 on its 1969 UK re-release).
Creedence Clearwater Revival did another good version on their eponymous debut album in 1968. Released as a single the same year, it reached No 58 in the US.
They performed it at Woodstock the following year.
For my money much the best version is by the Alan Price Set, released in 1966. Somehow he avoids the creepiness. The harmonies are wonderful (I have tried to find out who arranged it, without success. I presume it was Price.) It went to No 9 in Britain and No 80 in America.
Here is a live performance from 1966.
Coincidentally (apparently) the Animals, the group Price had left the previous year, recorded their own version of the song only a few days previously for their 1966 album Animalisms. It doesn’t do much for me, but then the Animals never did.
One Reply to “The Alan Price Set: I Put a Spell on You”
A great song; I like all those apart from perhaps the one by the Animals. I hadn’t heard it done by Creedence or Alan Price before but really enjoyed them both. Radio One producer John Walters plays the trumpet on the Alan Price one.
I first heard this song by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, and it remains my favourite recording of it. I can now see that it is based on the Alan Price arrangement, but it ‘s much heavier, being from a year or two later. The organist is Vincent Crane. The drumming, which is outstanding, is done by Drachen Theaker, what a magnificent name!