Book Review: Rock & Roll Books

Screamin' Jay Hawkins' All-Time Greatest Hits: A Novel

Rock & Roll Books

Rock & roll pioneer Screamin' Jay Hawkins had only one hit, the voodoo blues funeral march "I Put a Spell on You." Springing from a coffin with a bone in his nose and shakin' a human skull on a walking staff named Henry at his audience, the Cleveland-born singer (1929-2000) was the genre's first shock rocker. Scaring the snot out of many teenage white girls at Brooklyn's Paramount Theatre in 1956, he also had a penchant for self-mythology: Raised by Indians, lying about his age to fight in World War II, father of 75 bastard children, dropped as star of Jailhouse Rock after the studio decided he was too black and weird. Rolling Stone contributor Mark Binelli is a comic genius for channeling those latter attributes. This Novel scans some of the most hilarious rock & roll fiction ever, especially the description of the aforementioned film had Hawkins played Vince Everett, and schooling Elvis Presley in the occult. Gracefully, the book does not condescend, telling these leg-pullers with wit and warmth.


Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ All-Time Greatest Hits: a novel

by Mark Binelli
Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company, 224 pp., $26

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Exhibitionism
It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues
Local Arts Reviews

Robert Faires, April 23, 2004

More Music Reviews
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
The Parrothead behind the empire

Doug Freeman, July 21, 2017

All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music
All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music

Kevin Curtin, June 16, 2017

More by Tim Stegall
Texas Platters
Terminal Mind
Recordings (Record Review)

Jan. 26, 2018

The Boleys Put an Acid-Punk Spin on the Family Bands of the Sixties
The Boleys Put an Acid-Punk Spin on the Family Bands of the Sixties
Family trio Ethan, Emma, and Jovian trade on genetics

Jan. 19, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Gift Guide 2016, Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle