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]

Owing to a distribution dispute, the Troggs' single was available on two competing labels: Atco Records and Fontana Records.[10] 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.[11]

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[12] 5
Belgium[13] 15
Canada RPM Top Singles[14] 2
Germany[15] 7
Ireland (IRMA)[16] 5
Netherlands[17] 5
New Zealand (Listener)[18] 1
South Africa (Springbok)[19] 5
UK Singles Chart[20] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 1

Other versions[edit]

Notable cover versions of this song include the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fancy, the Creatures (Siouxsie Sioux's second band), X and Liz Phair.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience gave a dramatic performance of the song, at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967:[22] in the documentary Monterey Pop, Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire at the song's conclusion.[23] The version was also included on the compilation album The Ultimate Experience. That same year, the novelty team of Senator Bobby released a version of "Wild Thing". Sung by comedian Bill Minkin in the verbal style of Democratic Senator Bobby Kennedy while a recording engineer is heard giving instructions, the stammering single charted at number 20 in the United States. The flip side featured "Senator Everett McKinley" (an impression of Republican Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen) doing the same song; the initial voiceover by the recording engineer encourages Senator Bobby to respond to his "hit single" (the Senator Everett McKinley version also had some radio airplay at the time). The songs were credited to The Hardly-Worthit Players, and the Senator Bobby version was included as a bonus track on reissues of their 1966 Parkway LP called The Hardly-Worthit Report (the rest of the album is a comedic takeoff on the NBC national news broadcast The Huntley-Brinkley Report). The Goodies, a British comedy trio, released a version on their album The New Goodies LP in December 1975. The Runaways included a live rendition of the song on their live in Japan 1977 album with their drummer Sandy West on vocals.[24]

In 1981, Siouxsie recorded it 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.[24] Siouxsie's version with the Creatures 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".[25]

Uses in popular culture[edit]

The Troggs' version appears in a 2020 TV commercial for Geico's motorcycle insurance.[26]

In Major League and Major League II, X's version is played as the entrance music for hard-throwing pitcher Rick Vaughn (played by Charlie Sheen). It was later reused as the entrance music for a real life pitcher, Mitch Williams.

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. ^ "Billboard Magazine". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. July 6, 1966. ISSN 0006-2510.
  11. ^ Mojo #173 (April 2008), p. 39
  12. ^ "Discographie The Troggs" (in German). austriancharts.at. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  13. ^ "The Troggs - Wild Thing" (in Dutch). www.ultratop.be. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  14. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1966-08-08. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  15. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts - Offizielle Deutsche Charts" (in German). www.offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  16. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Wild Thing". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  17. ^ "Discografie The Troggs" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  18. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". www.flavourofnz.co.nz.
  19. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  20. ^ "TROGGS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  21. ^ "The Troggs Chart History". www.billboard.com. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  22. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 53 - String Man. : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ a b Vincent, Alice (5 February 2013), Wild Thing: The story behind the song, Telegraph.co.uk, retrieved 15 August 2015
  25. ^ Cheal, David (14 August 2017). "Wild Thing': the elemental riff that cemented the Hendrix legend (subscription required)". Financial Times. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  26. ^ "GEICO Motorcycle TV Commercial, 'DMV' Song by The Troggs". ispot.tv. Retrieved 2020-10-17.