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His initial goal was to become an opera singer Hawkins cited Paul Robeson as his musical idol in interviews ,  but when his initial ambitions failed, he began his career as a conventional blues singer and pianist.
He joined the US Army with a forged birth certificate in aged 13 , and allegedly served in a combat role, with his fellow soldiers and higher-ups around him ignoring the fact he was substantially underage. Hawkins was an avid and formidable boxer during his years in the US Army and later Air Force 's boxing circuit.
In , he was the middleweight boxing champion of Alaska. According to the AllMusic Guide to the Blues , "Hawkins originally envisioned the tune as a refined ballad. Although Hawkins himself blacked out and was unable to remember the session,  he relearned the song from the recorded version. Furthermore, the recording attracted the ire of groups such as the NAACP, "which worried that his act would reflect badly on African Americans.
He found it exploitative, and believed it undermined his sincerity as a vocalist and a balladeer. Why can't people take me as a regular singer without making a bogeyman out of me? Hawkins' later releases included "Constipation Blues" which included a spoken introduction by Hawkins in which he states he wrote the song because no one had written a blues song before about "real pain" , " Orange Colored Sky ", and "Feast of the Mau Mau ".
Nothing he released, however, had the monumental success of "I Put a Spell on You". In Paris in and at the Taste of Chicago festival, he actually performed "Constipation Blues" with a toilet onstage. He continued to tour and record through the s and s, particularly in Europe, where he was very popular. Hawkins released a single recording of mainstream ballads in , "Too Many Teardrops" and the Hawaiian styled "Makaha Waves" on the flip-side.
In February , he suffered facial injuries when he was burned by one of his flaming props while performing with his guitarist Mike Armando at the Virginia Theater in Alexandria, Virginia. His single "Frenzy" found on the early s compilation of the same name was included in the compilation CD, Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by the X-Files , in In , Hawkins relocated to the New York area. They perform in the movie Joey. In , Hawkins performed the song "Sirens Burnin'," which was featured in the horror film Night Angel.
He performed the songs " Jungle Boogie " and " Disco Inferno ". He also toured with the Clash and Nick Cave during this period, and not only became a fixture of blues festivals but appeared at many film festivals as well, including the Telluride Film Festival premiere of Mystery Train.
In , the Greek director and writer Nicholas Triandafyllidis made the documentary Screamin' Jay Hawkins: I Put a Spell on Me about various stages of his life and career, including a filming of his last-ever live performance, in Athens on December 11, , two months before his death, following a performance the day before in Salonica. From to , Hawkins lived in Hawaii. He returned to New York after purchasing a home in Hawaii and establishing his own publishing company, sustained by the royalties from covers of "I Put a Spell On You".
Hawkins died after emergency surgery from an aneurysm on February 12, , in Neuilly-sur-Seine , France, near Paris,  at 70 years old. Although Hawkins was not a major success as a recording artist, his highly theatrical performances from "I Put a Spell on You" onward earned him a steady career as a live performer for decades afterward, and influenced subsequent acts.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, film producer, and boxer. Blues  rhythm and blues  soul  rock and roll  shock rock . Singer songwriter musician actor film producer boxer. Vocals piano guitar saxophone . Okeh Epic Philips.