Throwback Thursday: 10 Unbelievable Facts About ‘Put a Spell on You’ and ‘Monster Mash’
What's Halloween without Screamin' Jay Hawkins' huge hit "I Put a Spell on You" and Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash"? But do you know the stories BEHIND the songs? I dare you to believe these true facts!
He recorded the song once and it didn't attract any attention. In 1956 he tried re-recording it with Columbia Records. He and the studio musicians got so drunk during the session he couldn't even recall it afterward, but the new version was a huge hit.
Married six times, Hawkins is believed to have fathered at least 57 children -- those are the ones he knows about. Towards the end of his life he organized a family reunion and encouraged as many of his children to be there as possible to meet one another.
Disc Jockey Alan Freed convinced Hawkins to perform his big hit with a macabre stage presence. He often entered the stage from within a coffin and carried a skull around on a stick he named "Henry." He was known to wear "witch doctor" outfits complete with a bone through the nose. His performances heavily influenced KISS and Alice Cooper.
He lived in an orphanage his first 18 months of life and taught himself to play the piano at a young age. He later studied opera.
Before joining the Army in 1944 Hawkins was a successful boxer winning a Golden Gloves championship in 1943.
After multiple rejections the song was recorded by Garpax Records in 1962.
It was No. 1 in 1962... and again in 1973. Likely because the song was introduced to the UK in 1973.
The impersonations of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in "Monster Mash" are from his standup comedy act Bobby Pickett perfected at a Hollywood night club in 1959.
His dad was a manager at a movie theater in Massachusetts.
"Monster Mash" was a satire on the "Twist" and the "Mashed Potato" -- dance crazes inspired by a hit song. Bobby Pickett went on to write several more satires (including one of Star Trek and a 2005 satire on climate change deniers) for Dr. Demento.