Wang Dang Doodle

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"Wang Dang Dooodle"
B-side single by Howlin' Wolf
Released January 1961 (1961-01)[1]
Recorded June 1960 in Chicago, Illinois[2]
Genre Blues
Length 2:20[1]
Label Chess
Writer Willie Dixon
Producer Leonard Chess, Phil Chess, and/or Willie Dixon

"Wang Dang Doodle" is a blues song written by Willie Dixon for Howlin' Wolf at Chess Records in Chicago. It has been covered by many artists, including Koko Taylor, Z. Z. Hill, Ted Nugent, the Pointer Sisters, PJ Harvey, Grateful Dead, Ratdog, Savoy Brown, Love Sculpture, Charlie Watts, Booker T. & The MG's, Hindu Love Gods and the Dutch blues band: Livin' Blues (Dutch). Robin Williamson has performed his own version, using the title and the same tune, but substantially new words. Dixon has also recorded it. Jimmy Sturr recorded a polka version of the song in later years.


Dixon had written hundreds of songs for many different artists in the basic blues format at Chess. "Wang Dang Doodle" was written relatively late in his career and by this time Dixon's songwriting had evolved from standard rural blues to a much more sophisticated format. "Wang Dang Doodle", a party song, is an example of his later, much more urban, style with its massive, rolling, exciting beat.[3]

Howlin' Wolf version[edit]

Howlin' Wolf recorded the song in June 1960 in Chicago, Illinois. Backing Howlin' Wolf on vocals were Otis Spann on piano, Hubert Sumlin on guitar, Dixon on bass, and Fred Below on drums. There is a chance that Freddy King plays guitar on the recording, but this is not known for certain.[2]

Willie Dixon says in his autobiography that of all the songs he wrote for Howlin' Wolf, "Wang Dang Doodle" is the one he hated the most.[4] Howlin' Wolf did not think much of it either, calling it a "levee camp" song.

Koko Taylor version[edit]

On June 30, 1964, Willie Dixon brought Koko Taylor to Chess Records, where she recorded "What Kind of Man Is That?". Her next session for Chess was on December 7, 1965. It was at this session that she recorded her version of "Wang Dang Doodle". Backing Koko Taylor on vocals were Gene Barge and Donald Hawkins on saxophones, Lafayette Leake on piano, Buddy Guy and Johnny "Twist" Williams on guitar, Jack Meyers on the bass guitar, Fred Below on drums, and Willie Dixon singing with Koko.[5]

Koko's version was released in early 1966 and peaked at #4 on Billboard magazine's R&B Singles chart and #58 on the Hot 100.[6]

Pointer Sisters version[edit]

The Pointer Sisters' version of "Wang Dang Doodle" was released as the follow-up single to "Yes We Can Can" and was also released on their self-titled debut album. The single peaked at #24 on the R&B Singles chart and #61 on the Hot 100.[7]



  1. ^ a b "Reviews of New Pop Records". Billboard: 42. January 23, 1961. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b The Definitive Collection (CD liner). Howlin' Wolf. United States: Geffen Records/Chess Records. 2007. pp. 15,18. B0008784-02/CHD-9375. 
  3. ^ Rowe, Mike (1973). Chicago Blues. New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. pp. 170–173. ISBN 0-306-80145-0. 
  4. ^ Willie Dixon, with Don Snowdon (1989). The Willie Dixon Story: I am the Blues. New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-306-80145-8. 
  5. ^ Chess Blues 1947-1967 (CD liner). various artists. United States: MCA Records/Chess Records. 1992. CHD4-9340. 
  6. ^ "Koko Taylor - Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Pointer Sisters - Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 

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