Wild Thing

Album: Wild Thing (1966)
Charted: 2 1
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  • This was written by a songwriter named Chip Taylor, who has made tons of money from it because it has been recorded by many artists and is constantly being used in movies and TV shows. Taylor used a lot of this money to gamble - for years he bet about $10,000 a day and was kicked out of every casino in Las Vegas for card counting. He also wrote "Angel Of The Morning," which was a hit for Merrilee Rush in 1968. Taylor is the brother of actor Jon Voight and the uncle of Angelina Jolie.
  • The style of music exemplified in this song became known as "Caveman Rock." The Troggs is short for "troglodyte" (meaning "cave dweller"), which helped bolster this image. Over the next few years, The Troggs moved away from this Neanderthal sound and had a big hit in 1968 the much more evolved "Love Is All Around."
  • A New York group called Jordan Christopher & The Wild Ones were the first to record this, but their version flopped. That group was best known for their outrageous hairstyles.
  • The Troggs' first single flopped. For their second single, their producer/manager Larry Page had them choose between "Wild Thing" and The Lovin' Spoonful's "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind." They went with "Wild," recording the song using studio time booked for an orchestra session Page was running. When that session ended 45 minutes early and the musicians shuffled out, The Troggs quickly set up and blew through "Wild Thing" and what would be their next hit, "With A Girl Like You," in about 20 minutes. It was mixed live as they recorded it.
  • The way the song stops and starts up again was inspired by Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel."
  • When Chip Taylor originally demoed this basic three-chord song in 1965, he didn't take it too seriously. He later told Rolling Stone magazine: "I was on the floor laughing when I was through." Taylor added in Mojo magazine September 2008: "'Wild Thing' came out in a matter of minutes. The pauses and the hesitations are a result of not knowing what I was going to do next."
  • This was released simultaneously on Atco and Fontana Records. The Troggs were from England, and sent their manager to the US to make a distribution deal as Fontana (their British label) was initially hesitant to release it in North America. Fontana changed its mind and shortly afterwards, the manager returned with a signed distribution contract with Atco. Because both singles used the same master recording, the compilers of the Billboard Hot 100 decided to combine the two singles (which had different B-sides) into one chart position. It is the only single to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 while being offered on two different labels simultaneously.
  • That crazy whistling instrument in the break is an ocarina, which is an Eastern instrument that dates back thousands of years. The original version of the song recorded by Jordan Christopher & The Wild Ones had whistling in the break, but The Troggs identified the ocarina from the demo they heard of the song and got one to record it. This gave the song a very distinctive sound and was a great talking point for the band. The next hit song to use an ocarina was "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." by John Mellencamp, which used the instrument as a tribute to this song as part of his pastiche of '60s rock.
  • In 1967, this was revived as a parody recording by a comedy troupe called The Hardly Worthit Players. Their version ht #20 in the US, and was recorded under the name Senator Bobby. It was a send-up of the popular Senator from New York (and younger brother of President John), Robert F. Kennedy, and loaded with in-jokes about Democratic party politics and RFK's family. The interplay between "Senator Bobby" and the producer is outlandish. The B-side was a send-up of the popular Senator from Illinois, Everett Dirkson, loaded with in-jokes about Republican party politics. The interplay between the "senator" and the producer on the "response" to "Senator Kennedy's hit record" is equally funny. The voice of Senator Bobby was James Voight, brother of actor Jon Voight. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 while running for President. Everett Dirkson died in 1969.
  • The parody version by The Hardly Worthit Players was one of the last hits for the Cameo/Parkway empire before it went belly-up in early 1969. A former Beatles and Rolling Stones manager bought the original tapes of all product by the company, then changed its name to ABKCO. He still owns the rights and refuses to issue any of them on CD.
  • Five years after The Troggs recorded this, Jimi Hendrix released his version. It was one the few songs Hendrix recorded that he did not write, and it gave the song new life on rock radio stations, as Jimi worked it over in his legendary guitar style. This is the song Hendrix is playing in the Monterey Pop Festival footage where he sets his guitar on fire.
  • Sam Kinison recorded a version of this in 1988 with a video featuring Jessica Hahn, who was famous for her involvement with televangelist Jim Bakker. Also appearing in the video were Slash, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Billy Idol and Tommy Lee.
  • A version by Cheap Trick was used in the 1992 movie Encino Man, starring Brendan Fraser as caveman who comes back to life in a Los Angeles suburb.

    A cover by the punk band X with lead vocals by Exene Cervenka was a big part of the 1989 movie Major League, where Charlie Sheen played Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, a relief pitcher with control problems who becomes a star when he gets glasses and starts throwing strikes. "Wild Thing" was his theme music, and was copied in real life by Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Mitch Williams, who entered games with the song playing. Williams was known for his reckless, but effective fastball until 1993, when he became known for giving up the home run to Joe Carter that won the World Series.

    It quickly became commonplace for dominant closers to enter the game with a specific theme song playing when they made the trip from the bullpen to the mound. Trevor Hoffman of the San Diego Padres came in to "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC, and Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankess had Metallica's "Enter Sandman" as his music.
  • After their first single flopped, The Troggs moved from CBS to DJM, Dick James' label. Reg Presley recalled to Mojo magazine April 2008 his initial reaction to "Wild Thing": "There was a guy there (at DJM) called Dennis Berger, who had a heap of demos on his desk. The first one I picked up was Wild Thing. I took a look at the lyric sheet and read: 'Wild Thing-you make my heart sing-you make everything groovy.' It seemed so corny, I thought, Oh my God, what are they doing to us! Then I played Chip Taylor's demo- just guitar and him- and it was incredible. The other boys all liked it too. Chip Taylor later told us our version was just what he wanted."
  • In the same Mojo interview, Reg Presley recalled the recording of this song at London's Regent Sound studio: "We recorded Wild Thing and With A Girl Like You at the same session. We had about three quarters of an hour to get our gear set up for them to get a balance, then record and get out. It was at the end of a session Larry Page and his orchestra had booked. Larry was our manager and said we could have any time left over. So we recorded very fast-and for rawness, you can't whack it."
  • In 2019, this was used in a commercial for the French perfume company Mon Geurlain to promote its new scent, Intense. Starring Angelina Jolie, the sexy ad shows the actress lounging in bed and getting caught in a rainstorm in Cambodia.
  • The song's writer, Chip Taylor, cites the versions by The Troggs, Jimi Hendrix and X as his three favorites.

Comments: 24

  • Michael from Vienna (austria)One of my favourite covers is the reggae version by Sister Carol, that is played at the end of the film "Something wild" by Jonathan Demme.
  • Joe Cantello from GeorgiaThe version of Wild Thing by 'Senator Bobby' is available as a download from either Amazon or itunes. You can also listen to it on youtube.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 9th 1974, Fancy's covered version of "Wild Thing" entered Billboard’s Hot Top 100 chart at position #99; twelve weeks later on September 1st, 1974 it would peaked at #14 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 17 weeks...
    And on September 7th, 1974 it peaked at #9 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM Singles chart...
    The quartet had one other Top 100 record, "Touch Me"; it peaked at #19 in 1974.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 19th 1966, "Wild Thing" by the Troggs entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #75; and on July 24th it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100 (and for amazing 8 of those 11 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    Its three weeks outside the Top 10 were; 1st week at #75, 2nd week at #47 then jumped to #6, and its 11th & final week it was at #31 and then fell completely off the chart...
    As already stated because of a label dispute it was released on the 'Atco' and 'Fontana' record label in the U.S.A.
    The B-side of the 'Atco' release was "A Girl Like You" and it also make the Top 100, it reached #29...
    The quartet had two other Top 100 records; "I Can't Control Myself" (peaked at #43 in 1966) and "Love Is All Around" (reached #7 in 1968)...
    R.I.P. lead singer Reg Presley, born Reginald Maurice Ball, 1941 - 2013.
  • Jaimz from Vancouver, BcIt's mentioned on the site here that the song was mastered in mono only but I have a stereo version that completely gives the song a new lease on life. One notice is the use of acoustic guitars and with the solo made me realize that the track has a lot of punch without being "plugged in". I also noticed the double tracking of the drums; why? who knows, but it adds to the punch! It really sounds great! Their song "Lost Girl" is really a great track too - too bad it didn't see the light of day at the time.
  • Matthew from Toronto, OnI always thought this was a dreadful song. Couldn't believe it when it soared to Number One. Amateurish, pseudo-macho delivery of the sophomoric lyrics. Had it bombed, it would have been cited as How Not To Make A Record. Laughable.
  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThe Jimi Hendrix Experience played this song at the Monterey Pop Festeval, 1967.
  • Bob from Owen Sound, OnThis was the first full song I learned on bass guitar! It's so simple yet so awesome! The song really good!
  • Alan from City, MiAnybody tried to play along with this song (Troggs version), supposedly in the key of A, and it just doesn't sound right? And neither does Bb! Basically, I assume, the guitars were not tuned exactly right (no keyboard in this, so no need to tune to the keyboard). The guitars were probably tuned to each other (in this day before electric guitar tuners) so they don't sound out of tune with each other. Just not tuned to traditional middle C. The ocarina in the solo sounds just a tad off also, the out-of-tune guitars would explain this. The other possibility is that this was slowed down or speeded up, which would also cause a slight exaggeration in the tuning.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InWhooh! Talk about primitive. Caveman rock, indeed. No work on instrumentality or production is anywhere to be found here, and yet it rocks, and it rocks BECAUSE of those flaws, not despite them. Anyone who has ever seen the footage of Jimi first humping, then lighting up, then smashing his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival will know why that performance was what broke him through here in his homeland of the U.S. Simply fantastic bit of showmanship, right through the dying hum of his guitar through his overcharted amp. I also got a big kick out of the parody verion done with Sam Kinison. Of COURSE this song was always intended to be a bit under the arm, so a joke version is not a stretch at all.
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnI love the rough garage sound this song has.Most everything recorded today is too polished and artificial.For an instant the Troggs captured IT.IT being a sublime moment of great joy in 2 minute song.
  • Ian from Lethbridge, CanadaI love the orcarina solo in the middle!
  • Dan from Winthrop, MaAlso covered in the seventies by a british band called Fancy it reached #14 on U.S.chart.Fancy was lead by a former penthouse pet Helen Court her version was very erotic pre dating Donna Summer's vocal delivery on Love to Love You.
  • Nooxara from Albany, AkJimi Hendrix did a version of this....
  • Linus from Hamilton, On, CanadaIt has the great 70's tune that seems to be missing in music these days.
  • Big Bob from Lagrange, OhActually, the cover version in Major League was from a group called "X", who consisted of John Doe: vocals/bass; Exene Cervenka: vocals; D.J. Bonebrake: drum/vocals; Billy Zoom: guitar/vocals. http://www.xtheband.com/wildthing.html
  • Rick Sobotka from Sedona, AzWas recorded using left over minutes in a studio reserved for someone else.
  • Ross from Independence, MoThis is #257 in Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.
  • Alan from City, MiThe solo on this is recorded on ocarina! Maybe the oddest solo instrument on a Top 10 hit except for the solo to Johnny Get Angry which was recorded on tissue paper and comb.
    The former Beatles/Stones manager mentioned above is Allen Klein.
  • Jade from Chippewa Falls, WiThe lead singer of the Troggs, Reg Presley had just arrived in Hollywood and met with actress Mary Badham at a bar. This song was inspired by her attude and her wildness that she seemed to have.
  • Alejandro from Mexico D.f., Mexicodoes everyone hnows if the kinks ever covered this one?
  • Joe from Adelaide, AustraliaThe Goodies did their own version of Wild Thing in one of their episodes, adding a few extra vocals.
  • Jeff from Gaithersburg, MdThe song writer, Chip Taylor, was raised in Yonkers, New York, born James Welsey Voight, and formed the high school band, "Town and Country Brothers". He started out as a professional golfer, then switched to music. Besides having other hit songs by top performers, including Anne Murray's version of "Son Of A Rotten Gambler" (written for his son), Taylor and his producing partner Al Gorgoni discovered and produced James Taylor and Evie Sands. As a recording artist in his own right, Taylor's album "Last Chance" was called by Rolling Stone magazine one of the best country albums of 1973, and was one of the forerunners of "outlaw" country music.

    As a professional gambler, he was one of the foremost thoroughbred horse race handicappers on the East Coast. When Chip turned his sights on the gaming tables, he quickly gained notoriety with his black jack prowess; finishing third in the World Black Jack Championship in Las Vegas. Taylor became one of the most feared card counters in the land (the reason he was ulimately banned from every casino in Atlantic City). In the late 80's, along with friend, partner, and renowned handicapper, Ernest Dahlman, he garnered enormous winnings through his horse racing exploits, specifically in the form of massive pick six scores.

  • Frank De Wit from 's?hertogenbosch, NetherlandsI've always thought that the song in the movie Major League was sung by Joan Jett, who first recorded it (in 1977) as part of the Runaways. I'm certainly not shure if this is the version they used in the movie (i'm almost certainly sure thats it is not) and that it is probably a new version by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
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