We’re digging into our Far Out vaults to bring you two of our favourite artists joining together on stage to perform a classic. It sees The Who’s Pete Townshend and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour pay tribute to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins with a stunning performance of ‘I Put A Spell On You’.
In 1985, Pete Townshend formed his own supergroup and it was the kind of band that could send shivers down your spine, it was Deep End. As well as a legendary session drummer in Simon Phillips, the band also included mercurial guitarist David Gilmour. The group backed Townshend for his concept solo album White City: A Novel.
The band even joined the legendary Mod guitarist on a tour of the record. During the string of live dates, Townshend arranged for the group to have their performance in Cannes filmed for German TV Rockpalast and it luckily captured a wonderful moment as two guitarists pay tribute to a legend.
The performance wasn’t just well-equipped upfront, the band also included percussionist Jody Linscott, harmonica player Peter Hope-Evans, Chucho Merchan on bass, The Who’s touring keyboardist John Bundrick, the Kick Horns and five backing vocalists.
During the show, Townshend guides the band through the album and a few Who numbers too, with ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ also being a favourite. However, the real show-stopping moment came when the group pay homage to the iconic musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins with a cover of ‘I Put A Spell On You’.
Composed in 1956, the track found prominence with Nina Simone but was deeply rooted in the rhythm and blues which put both Townshend and Gilmour on their paths towards the success of their own.
Hawkins said the song was originally intended to be a genuine love song but the producer “brought in ribs and chicken and got everybody drunk, and we came out with this weird version… I don’t even remember making the record. Before, I was just a normal blues singer. I was just Jay Hawkins. It all sort of just fell in place. I found out I could do more destroying a song and screaming it to death.”
While Townshend and Gilmour aren’t exactly screaming their performance is capable of shaking your bones to dust. Watch the two guitarists battle it out on a cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’ from 1985 below.