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Screamin' Jay Hawkins who co-wrote the classic hit I Put A Spell On You appeared at the Ritz Ballroom on 10 April 1966
Graham Reay writes: I heard an ad recently for BBC4's broadcast of the 21 August Prom at the Royal Albert Hall featuring the music of the late Nina Simone.
The music they used was her version of "I Put A Spell On You". I'm pretty sure Miss Simone never visited Kings Heath, but Jalacy Hawkins from Cleveland, Ohio who wrote the song (with Herb Slotkin) did.
In 1956 the original recording of "I Put A Spell On You" was released in the USA under Jalacy's stage name - Screamin' Jay Hawkins. It arrived in the UK via the Fontana label two years later.
Screamin' Jay played the Marquee/Whisky a Go Go club at the corner of Navigation Street and Hill Street in Birmingham on 28 February 1965, months before Nina Simone's cover version scraped into the British top fifty.
The song did much better to promote his next visit - a version by Alan Price got to number nine in the charts in April 1966 while Jay was on tour here, including Birmingham dates at the Penthouse Club on Constitution Hill on 5 April and the Handsworth Plaza and King's Heath Ritz Ballroom on 10 April. Jay's backing group/support act on that tour was Herbie Goins and the Night-Timers, who were Parlophone recording artists.
Bryan Ferry revived "I Put A Spell On You" in 1993, his version reaching the top twenty.  
Screamin' Jay died in France in 2000. Later that year, Sonique took his most famous song back into the UK top ten. Herbie Goins, who hailed from Florida, died in Italy in 2015.
Listen to Sreamin' Jay's version of I Put A Spell On You here:-
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