- I came into this world black, naked and ugly. And no matter how much I accumulate here, it's a short journey. I will go out of this world black, naked and ugly. So I enjoy life.
- I went through two wars, WWII and the Korean War, and I'm still here. I got more marks on my body than the average crossword puzzle from knives, bombs, bullets, and being cut in half by a Japanese colonel in a prisoner of war camp.
- Most people record songs about love, heartbreak, loneliness, being broke. Nobody's actually gone out and recorded a song about real pain! The band and I have just returned from the general hospital, where we caught a man in the right position.
- Something I wanted to do but never did is sing opera. That goes back to my respect for Paul Robeson and Mario Lanza, but when I got into the music business, opera didn't get into the charts; they were just putting rhythm and blues out.
- When we began recording ("I Put A Spell On You"), we started out with a slow version. A week later I was sitting at home, and they bring me a 78 of the thing. I put it on, I played it again and again. I thought they'd lied to me: this couldn't possibly be me singing like that. So I tried to see if I could reproduce that style of singing. I contorted my mouth this way and that. I couldn't do it. Finally I poured myself some J&B Scotch, poured that down, and then I was able to do it like the record.