Monday, February 14, 2011

Alan Price -- "I Put A Spell On You" (1966)

You better stop the things that you do
I ain't lyin'

The Animals
Alan Price appears to have been the brains behind the Animals, which was originally named the Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo.  His brilliant organ work is the most distinctive aspect of the Animals' biggest hit, "House of the Rising Sun."

But Price left the Animals in 1965.  Why he did so is not entirely clear to me.  He has complained that the band's record producer, Mickie Most, was attempting to "homogenize" and "sweeten" the band's music to make it more accessible for the mass market.  He also has said that the Animals "were a separate and dissonant group" in 1965 -- not "mates." 

Price also hated to fly.  Perhaps it was not entirely coincidental that he told the Animals he was leaving the band the same day they were scheduled to fly to Sweden to tour.

"I Put A Spell On You" was a 1966 UK hit for the band Price formed after leaving the Animals -- the Alan Price Set. 

Here's a picture of the cover of the French version of "I Put A Spell On You" -- a 4-song, 7-inch, 45-rpm record. Anyone have any idea what that big outdoor sculpture is?

Price covered a bunch of Randy Newman songs at a time when Newman was essentially unknown.  He and Georgie Fame had a big hit in 1971 with a song called "Rosetta."  It sounds like a cross between the Kinks (Price looks quite a bit like Ray Davies) and Ray Stevens.  

In 1973, Price wrote the score for the movie O Lucky Man!, an allegorical movie that seems to have been inspired by Voltaire's Candide.  The film featured Malcolm McDowell, who had starred in Clockwork Orange.  (McDowell's girlfriend is portrayed by a very young Helen Mirren.  This photo shows them together in a scene from the movie.)  I remember seeing O Lucky Man! when I was in college, and I don't think I was able to make heads or tails of it. 

Here's the opening credit sequence, which features Price's title song:

Here's the Alan Price Set's version of "I Put A Spell On You."  Price sings the first verse to an almost Bach-like organ accompaniment.  After that, the drums and the horns kick in.

After Price left the Animals, they released a somewhat Hawkins-esque version of "I Put A Spell On You" on the Animalisms album.

Here's a link to use to order Alan Price's cover of "I Put A Spell On You" from iTunes:

I Put a Spell On You - The British Are Coming, Vol. 1

Here's a link to use if you prefer Amazon:

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