Do you ever wonder who pioneered certain types of music, or if anyone else did something before the famous ones? In terms of shock rock, or utilizing scary tactics or risky props on stage we usually think of Alice Cooper, Marylin Manson, or even Ozzy. However, back in the later 1940’s there was a guy named Jalacy Hawkins, better known by his stage name “Screamin’ Jay”. At the core, he played blues and R&B music with a great band and horn section. However, his elaborate stage shows which utilized macabre props, or those related to death or ghastly things, sparked a new term that wasn’t even created yet. Essentially, Screamin’ Jay became the first shock rocker. “He would emerge from a coffin, sing into a skull-shaped microphone, and set off smoke bombs.” Obviously these were things you didn’t see every day in the 40’s and 50’s. But, melding Halloween with the blues worked for him and his audience. This picture perfectly represents his essence on stage and how unique he was as a musician. Jay’s antics inspired a whole genre of music and laid a path for others to follow.
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