Wild Thing (1966)
The Troggs, released as a single
Composed by Chip Taylor
Once upon a time, what the garage band did one year, the mainstream music-makers picked up on in the following years. Garage bands were like tech start-ups along the lines of those that yield something Microsoft or Apple. The garage band, the street expression of Rock-N-Roll, is like the primordial soup from which all life flows. That we are losing garage bands as a major source of innovation and inspiration is depriving the great American musical movement of its vitality.
A hit for The Troggs in 1966, “Wild Thing” is the child of (American – and British!) garage band music and the parent of an incredible guitar performance by Jimi Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.
Songwriter Chip Taylor is brother to movie actor Jon Voight and uncle to actress Angelina Jolie. He had a long, spotty career, but did write one other chart buster, “Angel Of The Morning,” a beautiful ballad first made popular by Merrilee Rush then turned into a million-seller by Juice Newton.
“Wild Thing” was the product of a little noodling around by Taylor with the most basic Rock chords. As you read various interviews with Taylor, you wonder if he was even half-serious when he composed it. Theoretically, it shouldn’t be a big hit, regardless of who plays it, but it was and is one of the most seminal songs ever.
As to the recording, The Troggs were a band seeking material after their first single flopped and accidentally stumbled on “Wild Thing.”
Lead singer Reg Presley tells it this way: “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