Wild Thing (The Troggs song)

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"Wild Thing"
Wild Thing (The Troggs song).png
Single by the Troggs
B-side
Released22 April 1966 (1966-04-22)
StudioOlympic Sound, London
Genre
Length2:30
Label
Songwriter(s)Chip Taylor
Producer(s)Larry Page
The Troggs UK singles chronology
"Lost Girl"
(1965)
"Wild Thing"
(1966)
"With a Girl Like You"
(1966)
The Troggs US singles chronology
"Wild Thing"
(1966)
"I Can't Control Myself"
(1966)
Music video
"Wild Thing" (music video) on YouTube

"Wild Thing" is a song written by American songwriter Chip Taylor and popularized by the English rock band the Troggs. It was originally recorded and released by the American rock band the Wild Ones in 1965,[5] but it did not chart. The Troggs' single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the UK Singles Chart in 1966. Their version of "Wild Thing" was ranked at number 257 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[6] It has also been performed by many other musicians.

Background[edit]

The first studio version was recorded by the Wild Ones, a band based in New York and set up by socialite Sybil Christopher. They had contacted composer Chip Taylor to ask him to write a song for them to release as a single. Taylor composed it very quickly: within a couple of minutes, he had the chorus and a "sexual-kind-of-feeling song" emerged.[7] On his demo version, Taylor banged on a tambourine while producer Ron Johnson "was doing this little thing with his hands", as Taylor related it. The result sounded "cool". Producer Gerry Granahan approved the song and then produced the Wild Ones' recording, with vocals by Chuck Alden. However, on its release in November 1965, the record failed to sell, and Alden later said that he regretted not performing the song in the same way as Taylor's demo.[8] The solo in the middle of the song was performed by the recording engineer using his hands as a whistle. This sound was subsequently imitated by the Troggs in their version using an ocarina.[9]

The Troggs' version[edit]

English rock band the Troggs recorded the song as their second single on 22 April 1966. The band were introduced to the song by their manager Larry Page, and considered it "so weird and unusual that we just had to record it".[10]

Owing to a distribution dispute, the Troggs' single was available on two competing labels: Atco Records and Fontana Records.[11] Because both pressings were taken from the same master recording, Billboard combined the sales for both releases, making it the only single to simultaneously reach number one for two companies.[12]

On the Atco label, the author credits of both sides are reversed as "Wild Thing" is credited to Reg Presley (Troggs' lead vocalist) and its B-side, "With a Girl Like You", to Chip Taylor. On the Fontana label, "Wild Thing" is correctly credited to Chip Taylor and the flip contains a different song, "From Home", by Reg Presley. The Fontana label credits production to Page One Productions, England, while the Atco label credits production as "A Larry Page Production, Recorded in England". One further difference between the two singles is that there is a noticeable "click" on the Atco single after Presley says "You move me" and just before the music starts again; this click is edited out of the Fontana version.

The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart on issue date June 25, 1966. Two weeks later (July 9), it leaped from number 47 to number six. The song then rose to number two where it remained for the next two weeks (July 16 and July 23), while "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells occupied the top spot. On issue date July 30, 1966, "Wild Thing" hit number one where it remained for two weeks. The song ultimately logged eleven weeks on the chart, with eight of those weeks in the Top 10. In Canada, the single (Fontana 1548) reached number two on the RPM magazine charts on August 8, 1966.

The Troggs recorded a new version of the song in 1993, which peaked at number 87 in the UK Singles Chart.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
position
Austria[13] 5
Belgium[14] 15
Canada RPM Top Singles[15] 2
Germany[16] 7
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 5
Netherlands[18] 5
New Zealand (Listener)[19] 1
South Africa (Springbok)[20] 5
UK Singles Chart[21] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 1

Other versions[edit]

The Jimi Hendrix Experience gave a dramatic performance of the song, at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967:[23] in the documentary Monterey Pop, Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire at the song's conclusion.[24] Live recordings by Hendrix are found on several albums; more recently, the Monterey version is included on Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection (2001) and Live at Monterey (2007).[25]

Also in 1967, the novelty team of Senator Bobby released a version of "Wild Thing". Comedian Bill Minkin sang it in the verbal style of Democratic Senator Bobby Kennedy, while a recording engineer is heard giving instructions. The single reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.[26]

In 1981, Siouxsie Sioux recorded the song with her second band the Creatures, adding new lyrics: "Wild thing, I think I hate you/but I wanna know for sure/so come on, hit me hard/I hate you": it was included on the EP Wild Things.[27] It was described by critics as "Perhaps the most striking of those 7,500-odd licensed recordings ... on which [her] chilly multitracked vocals are accompanied only by ... tribal-sounding drums". David Cheal of the Financial Times argued that "It’s a version that taps into the earthy, elemental spirit of the song".[28]

In 1984, the band X released a version as a non-album single. The Houston Press included this version as one of their "10 Greatest Versions" of the song.[29] It was also included on the soundtrack of the feature film Major League as the entrance theme to Charlie Sheen's character Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn.[29][30] Director David S. Ward said of this version, "I was listening to the recording of 'Wild Thing' — not the original one by the Troggs, but the one by X, and it was such a big sound, it sounded like a thousand people were singing it" and "I thought, this would be really interesting if people got so into this kid, this pitcher, that when he came into the game, they would stand up and sing 'Wild Thing.'"[30] All Elite Wrestling wrestler Jon Moxley also regularly uses this version as his entrance theme.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stiernberg, Bonnie. "The 50 Best Garage Rock Songs of All Time". Paste. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  2. ^ Nick Talevski (April 7, 2010). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-85712-117-2.
  3. ^ Peter Doggett (27 August 2015). Electric Shock: From the Gramophone to the iPhone – 125 Years of Pop Music. Random House. p. 421. ISBN 978-1-4481-3031-3.
  4. ^ Dylan Jones (14 August 2014). Elvis Has Left the Building: The Day the King Died. The Overlook Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-4683-1042-9.
  5. ^ "Justin Tricarico / The Wild Ones sing and play "Wild Thing"". justintricarico.pbworks.com.
  6. ^ "Rolling Stone : The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". www.rollingstone.com. 2006. Archived from the original on 31 December 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  7. ^ ""Wild Thing" – The First Punk Rock Song? (Interview)". popularcultureelective.wordpress.com. November 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Justin Tricarico / The Wild Ones without Jordan". justintricarico.pbworks.com. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  9. ^ Moore, Tony (2015-11-19). "The mystery behind Wild Thing - one of rock's classic songs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  10. ^ Harry, Bill (25 February 1967). "'We're gonna smash America' says the Troggs" (PDF). Record Mirror (311): 3. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Billboard Magazine". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. July 6, 1966. ISSN 0006-2510.
  12. ^ Mojo #173 (April 2008), p. 39
  13. ^ "Discographie The Troggs" (in German). austriancharts.at. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  14. ^ "The Troggs - Wild Thing" (in Dutch). www.ultratop.be. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  15. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1966-08-08. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  16. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts - Offizielle Deutsche Charts" (in German). www.offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Wild Thing". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  18. ^ "Discografie The Troggs" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  19. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". www.flavourofnz.co.nz.
  20. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  21. ^ "TROGGS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  22. ^ "The Troggs Chart History". www.billboard.com. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  23. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 53 - String Man. : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  24. ^ "Show 47 - Sergeant Pepper at the Summit: The very best of a very good year. [Part 3] : UNT Digital Library". Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  25. ^ "Jimi Hendrix: 'Wild Thing' – Appears On". AllMusic. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  26. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 79 no. 5. 4 February 1967. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510.
  27. ^ Vincent, Alice (5 February 2013). "Wild Thing: The Story Behind the Song". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  28. ^ Cheal, David (14 August 2017). "Wild Thing': The Elemental Riff that Cemented the Hendrix Legend". Financial Times. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  29. ^ a b Gray, Chris (February 6, 2013). "10 Great Versions of "Wild Thing"". Houston Press.
  30. ^ a b staff (April 25, 2020). "'Major League' a hit with mix of antics, believable action". Associated Press.
  31. ^ Mutter, Eric (August 2, 2021). "Jon Moxley On How He Got "Wild Thing" As His Entrance Theme". Wrestling Inc.