Wild Thing (The Troggs song)

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"Wild Thing"
Wild Thing (The Troggs song).png
Single by the Troggs
B-side
ReleasedMay 1966 (1966-05)
StudioOlympic Sound, London
Genre
Length2:30
Label
Songwriter(s)Chip Taylor
Producer(s)Larry Page
The Troggs singles chronology
"Lost Girl"
(1965)
"Wild Thing"
(1966)
"With a Girl Like You"
(1966)

"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, 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 2004 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[5] 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.[6]

On his demo version, Taylor banged on a tambourine while producer Ron Johnsen "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.

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. 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.[7]

The Troggs' version[edit]

English rock band the Troggs recorded the song after their manager Larry Page recommended it, recalling later that it was "so weird and unusual that we just had to record it".[8]

Owing to a distribution dispute, the Troggs' single was available on two competing labels: Atco Records and Fontana Records.[9] 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.[10]

On 25 June 1966, the single entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart and on 30 July 1966, it reached number one, where it remained for two weeks. In Canada, the single (Fontana 1548) reached number two on the RPM magazine charts on 8 August 1966.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[11] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[12] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 15
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[14] 36
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[15] 2
Finland (Soumen Virallinen)[16] 22
Germany (Official German Charts)[17] 7
Ireland (IRMA)[18] 5
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[19] 5
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[20] 5
New Zealand (Listener)[21] 1
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[22] 5
Spain (Promusicae)[23] 6
Sweden (Kvällstoppen)[24] 9
Sweden (Tio i Topp)[25] 5
UK Disc and Music Echo Top 50[26] 1
UK Melody Maker Top 50[27] 2
UK New Musical Express Top 30[28] 2
UK Record Retailer Top 50[29] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[30] 1
US Cash Box Top 100[31] 1

Other versions[edit]

The Jimi Hendrix Experience gave a dramatic performance of the song, at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967:[32] in the documentary Monterey Pop, Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire at the song's conclusion.[33] 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).[34]

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.[35] On the flip side, Minkin performs Wild Thing in an impression of Republican US Senator Everett Dirksen.

Fancy, a 1970s pop group made up of session musicians produced by Mike Hurst, recorded the song.[36] Described as a "deeply lascivious version .. with all the heavy breathing and suggestive orgasmic guitar and bass work", they were unable to release the song as a single in their native UK.[36] In 1974, Big Tree Records issued it on a single in the US, where it reached number 14 and was certified Gold.[36] It also peaked at number 31 in Australia.[citation needed]

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.[37] 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".[38]

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.[39] 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.[39][40] 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'."[40] Professional wrestlers Atsushi Onita and Jon Moxley[41] also use this version as their entrance themes, with Moxley using it as a tribute to Onita.

In 1988, comedian Sam Kinison recorded a version of the song to close out his stand-up album Have You Seen Me Lately?.[42] The racy video, featuring actress and Playboy model Jessica Hahn got heavy airplay on MTV at the time.[43] The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for best comedy recording.[44]

In 1993, the Australian band Divinyls recorded the song for the film Reckless Kelly. Released as a single, it peaked at No. 39 on the Australian Singles Chart.[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stiernberg, Bonnie. "The 50 Best Garage Rock Songs of All Time". Paste. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  2. ^ Talevski, Nick (7 April 2010). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-85712-117-2.
  3. ^ Doggett, Peter (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. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2006. Archived from the original on 31 December 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  6. ^ Mastropolo, Frank (November 2012). "'Wild Thing' – The First Punk Rock Song? (Interview)". popularcultureelective.wordpress.com. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  7. ^ Moore, Tony (19 November 2015). "The mystery behind Wild Thing - one of rock's classic songs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  8. ^ Harry, Bill (25 February 1967). "'We're gonna smash America' says the Troggs" (PDF). Record Mirror. No. 311. p. 3. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Atco Vs. Fontana Battle Over Troggs: Round Two". Billboard. 6 July 1966. p. 3. ISSN 0006-2510.
  10. ^ "ARTICLE". Mojo. No. 173. April 2008. p. 39.
  11. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
  12. ^ "The Troggs – Wild Thing" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  13. ^ "The Troggs – Wild Thing" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ "The Troggs – Wild Thing" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5795." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  16. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. p. 139. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  17. ^ "The Troggs – Wild Thing" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Wild Thing". Irish Singles Chart.
  19. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Troggs" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  20. ^ "The Troggs – Wild Thing" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  21. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". www.flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  22. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website - SA Charts 1965 - 1989 Acts (T)". Rock.co.za. Archived from the original on 28 October 2022. Retrieved 2022-10-07.
  23. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (2015). Sólo éxitos 1959–2012 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 978-84-8048-866-2.
  24. ^ "Troggs - Se alla låtar och listplaceringar". NostalgiListan (in Swedish). Retrieved 2022-10-07.
  25. ^ Hallberg, Eric; Henningsson, Ulf (2012). Tio i Topp - med de utslagna "på försök" 1961–74 (in Swedish). Premium. p. 383. ISBN 978-91-89136-89-2.
  26. ^ "Top 50" (PDF). Disc. 28 May 1966. p. 3. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  27. ^ "Pop 50". Melody Maker. 28 May 1966. p. 2.
  28. ^ "NME Top Thirty". New Musical Express. 27 May 1966.
  29. ^ "TROGGS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2022-10-07.
  30. ^ "The Troggs Chart History". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on 19 May 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  31. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles – Week ending July 23, 1966". Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  32. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 53 - String Man. : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  33. ^ "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.
  34. ^ "Jimi Hendrix: 'Wild Thing' – Appears On". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  35. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 79, no. 5. 4 February 1967. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510.
  36. ^ a b c Thompson, Dave. "Fancy – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  37. ^ Vincent, Alice (5 February 2013). "Wild Thing: The Story Behind the Song". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  38. ^ Cheal, David (14 August 2017). "Wild Thing': The Elemental Riff that Cemented the Hendrix Legend". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2022-12-11. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  39. ^ a b Gray, Chris (6 February 2013). "10 Great Versions of "Wild Thing"". Houston Press.
  40. ^ a b "'Major League' a hit with mix of antics, believable action". Associated Press. 25 April 2020.
  41. ^ Mutter, Eric (August 2, 2021). "Jon Moxley On How He Got "Wild Thing" As His Entrance Theme". Wrestling Inc.
  42. ^ wildthang
  43. ^ wild thing
  44. ^ Grammy
  45. ^ "Divinyls – Wild Thing". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 10 February 2022.

External links[edit]