Wild Thing (as made famous by The Troggs)

“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.

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 is performed on an ocarina. [9]

Due 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 identical 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.