Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Wild Thing" by The Troggs

It was fifty years ago today that "Wild Thing" by The Troggs hit no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Although The Troggs' version remains the best known, theirs was not the first recording of the song. That honour belonged to an American band called The Wild Ones. The Wild Ones' producer Gerry Granahan approached songwriter Chip Taylor about writing a song for the band. That song was "Wild Thing". Unfortunately "Wild Thing" did not prove to be the hit The Wild Ones wanted. Released in November 1965, it failed to chart.

It was not long afterwards that The Troggs' manager brought the band sheet music to two songs. One was "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind" by John Sebastian, a song that had been recorded by Mr. Sebastian's band The Lovin' Spoonful in the United States. The other was "Wild Thing". The Troggs' lead vocalist Reg Presley was not overly impressed with "Wild Thing". He looked at the song's primitive lyrics and thought, "Oh God, what are they doing to us?" Regardless, the band wound up recording "Wild Thing". Released on CBS in the United Kingdom, it proved to be their first major hit there, going all the way to no. 2.

Strangely enough, in the United States The Troggs' version of "Wild Thing" was released on two different labels. Atco and Fontana both claimed to have the rights to The Troggs' recordings in the United States. Even while the two labels were fighting over the band,  both released  "Wild Thing" as a single. When "Wild Thing" hit no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 30 1966, it became the only number one single to have been released simultaneously on two different labels in the United States. Of course, since then "Wild Thing" has been covered by several other artists, including The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fancy, X, and Cheap Trick.

In honour of the fiftieth anniversary of The Troggs' version of "Wild Thing" hitting no. 1,then, here is the original 1966 promo film.

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