“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Like its fellow contender for the title of quintessential stalker song of all time, “Every Breath You Take”, this song is often oddly misinterpreted as a love song, but in this case that is almost entirely due to the fact that cover versions almost invariably soften the original recording’s sound. In what is possibly the most terrifying Blues performance ever, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins delivers this song in a grotesque yowl that could never be mistaken for anything but an expression of twisted obsession. Granted, there have been some pretty good cover versions of the song over the years (like the one by the Animals), but there’s no replacing the original, so it’s worth seeking out as the definitive version of this classic song.

Verdict: Some of the cover versions have watered it down, but the original is still as potent as ever, and could never be confused with a love song by anyone who’d actually heard it.

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