Halloween Rocks!

If you read one of my older blogs in which I pretty much say most Christmas music sucks ass, Halloween kicks ass!
Though I’m not a total grinch. I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” every December and I always get misty eyed when Clarence gets his wings.
But….
Yuletide songs are for, the most part, sappy. Halloween numbers are way more fun and I have a feeling the artists who went into the the studio to cut them felt inspired…as opposed to obligated. “C’mon (Celine/Faith/Beach Boys/Justin//Rob Zombie), your fans want a Christmas album.”
Okay, I doubt Rob would ever give us a holiday album but if he did, I’d buy it. He’d turn Santa’s elves into zombies, but I digress.
I’m kicking off Saturday night’s Riot with “I Put a Spell on You,” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. CCR covered it in the late ’60s but I doubt their recording session came close to what Jay and his band lived through a decade earlier. Prior to turning on the tape machine, Hawkins and crew got blind drunk on muscatel. Hawkins moaned and groaned and, as one radio deejay said of the finished result, it sounded like someone was being murdered.
The story goes that the next day, a record company rep played the tapes for Hawkins and Jay thought he was the victim of a practical joke.
That’s not me, Screamin’ Jay protested. You dubbed in another vocal and you’re pulling my leg. Ha ha, that’s a good one!
It was the real deal…too real. Most radio stations wouldn’t play Screamin’ Jay’s new song but word soon spread about this bizarre little ditty and “I Put a Spell on You” became an underground classic.
Soon Hawkins was part of all-star rock and roll revues presented by legendary DJ Alan Freed and it was Freed’s idea to have Hawkins begin every show by emerging from a coffin. The gimmick worked very well. In fact, Hawkins had trouble finding caskets because the American funeral directors association told its members not to sell coffins to the man described as “The Rock and Roll Bogeyman.”
So Happy Halloween and…Don’t Fear the Reaper, Welcome to My Nightmare and let’s slam in the back of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula.”

About johnnymaraca

host of Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot, the rockingest show on the radio. 60 years of rockin' rhythm and blues, from the late '40s pioneers like Louis Jordan to Elvis, Chuck Berry, CCR, Stray Cats, Ramones and tons more. Friday and Saturday nights at 7 on 97.7 the Beach, listen live at http://977thebeach.ca, and WRSG in Middlebourne, West Virginia, Tuesdays 6-8 pm.
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