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Wild Thing by Tone-Loc

Album: Loc'ed After DarkReleased: 1988Charted:
2
21
  • This samples Van Halen's "Jamie's Cryin'." It was not the first time an Eddie Van Halen guitar riff helped a black artist appeal to a white audience: Eddie played the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It," which helped make that song a huge hit.
  • "The Wild Thing" is slang for sex. It was a popular and benign euphemism that worked well in the late '80s when people like Arsenio Hall needed to talk about sex without arousing censors (the phrase "making whoopie" was hopelessly outdated).
  • This was the first rap song by a black artist to crossover to pop radio, and also the first rap single to be certified Platinum (Tone-Loc's "Funky Cold Medina" was the second). The Beastie Boys crossed over the year before with "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)."

    "I think it's a great stepping-stone for hip-hop," Loc told Entertainment Weekly in 2016. "It opened the door for a lot more listeners, a lot more white listeners. It changed a lot of hip-hop."
  • Tone-Loc wrote this song with Matt Dike (founder of his label, Delicious Vinyl) and Marvin Young. Young, better known as Young MC, had his own hit soon after with "Bust A Move."

    Loc, whose writer credit appears as his real name, Anthony Smith, got the idea for the song after watching the 1986 Spike Lee movie She's Gotta Have It, where hip-hop scenester Fab 5 Freddy tells a woman, "Let's do the wild thing!"
  • Loc does four verses on this track, each describing an encounter with a lovely lady. The first three end in the wild thing, but the last one doesn't, as he finds out she's a prostitute. He sends her off, telling her, "Hasta la vista, baby." This cold goodbye became Arnold Schwarzenegger's catch phrase in the 1991 movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but Loc wasn't the first to put it in a popular song: Jody Watley said it in her 1987 hit "Looking For A New Love."
  • The original set of lyrics Loc wrote for this song were far more lustful - he says it was about "straight having sex on the beach." To improve the song's hit potential, Loc's bosses at Delicious Vinyl convinced him to, ahem, "tone" it down. The song is still very sexual, but with enough ambiguity and comedy to pass the taste tests of most radio stations.
  • The video is a takeoff on Robert Palmer's "Addicted To Love," where blank-staring models pretend to play instruments. A low-budget affair, the "Wild Thing" video relies on a strobe effect and sepia look to conceal production deficiencies like that backdrop that doesn't quite cover the frame.

    Tamra Davis, who later married Mike D from the Beastie Boys, was the director. She also did Young MC's "Bust A Move" video.
  • Weird Al Yankovic wrote a parody of this song called "Isle Thing," which is about the show Gilligan's Island and can be found on his album UHF - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff. (thanks, Steph - SoCal, CA)
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Comments: 7

This was NOT the first rap/pop crossover for a black artist. RUN-DMC was first with a cover of "Walk This Way" featuring Aerosmith in 1986. The song secured RUN-DMC's fame and reignited the members of Aerosmith's careers as well. I know... I should work at VH1.Scott - Columbus, Oh
The video for this song was made on a shoe-string budget to say the least. It was made for around $5,000, which is nothing for a video, especially one that did so well. The bulk of the money went to extras, namely the women in the "band", which incidently are dressed in an homage to Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistable" video female backing group. Check it out and you'll see the similarities.Scott - Columbus, Oh
How can Tone Loc be a bozo for naming his song after the song it sounds like?

Sure it doesn't use the Trogg's riff but it sounds like Wild Thing by the Troggs so why not call it that?
Luke - Manchester, England
Charlie, "Wish You Were Here" was a popular Eddie Fisher song decades before Pink Floyd. I sure hope you don't go to the RATT section and post a similar comment about "Round and Round." Besides, Tone Loc is not really a modern bozo - more of a vintage bozo by now.Greg - Maryville, Mo
The six hundred and sixty-sixth song in the Songfacts database -- 666. Number of the beast, coincidentally.Arthur - Sydney, Australia
i hate it when modern bozo's use titles from classic songs, like whoever used floyds classic' wish you were here for a titleCharlie - Thomaston, Ct
Tone Loc also had a moderately successful film career in the early 90's, with supporting roles in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Surf Ninjas.Kei - Salem, Or
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