Monday, October 31, 2011

Screamin' Jay Hawkins - Little Demon

Hello internet. This is Austin, once again. I should apologize, because I was actually scheduled to write this particular post yesterday. However, I forgot to. Yet still, here we both are. As you know, today is Halloween, and I figured I would share my personal favorite Halloween song of all time: "Little Demon" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins was one cuh-razy mofo. He would perform with a cane topped with a shrunken head or skull (as seen on your left), would rise out of a coffin, and just scream his little heart out. And this was all in the mid 50s, mind you. And the music itself was terrifying for the time. He would smash the shit out of a piano, speak in tongues (which is featured prominently in this track), and, as should be obvious, scream. Loudly. And a lot. Parents feared him, children...well, feared him. While Buddy Holly was pumping out his lovey-pop for every teenage girl in America, Screamin' Jay was making some punk shit. Jay had one huge hit, "I Put a Spell in You", which you all probably know well, which is what gets him mentioned on a lot of "Early Rock'n'Rollers" type lists. But this particular song, "Little Demon", is not only his best song, but one of the best pre-60s rock tracks of all time. It's pretty much a Cramps song, and it was about 20 years before them. I mean, just listen to it, he's shouting nonsense through most of it and the lyrics are about Satan. Protopunk? I should say so. This guy is criminally overlook in the 50s rock canon, and deserves a lot more recognition in the protopunk community.

"He did that nyi-bop-n-nmop'n-yi-bop-mn, ni-bop'bop-mnmh!
Nhyi-bop-mn-nyop(n)-nop-mnyimo­p-ni'h-boh'pop, nyi-boh-bopp'n!

Nyi-bopp'n, bop-bop, mngh-moggbty-mo'h!

That cat was MAAAAD!

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