“Wild Thing” by the Troggs (1966)
There is just some sort of primitive appeal to this song's beat. It sounded pretty strange when it first came out. This song had such an influence on garage bands and probably eventually punk rock and harder rock. It is hard to believe it came out in 1966. Orginally written by Chip Taylor in the U.S. and put out by “The Wild Ones”, the version most people are familiar with is the U.K. Trogg’s version of it.
It must admit it that the guitar riff does sound a bit like Kingsmen’s 1963 "Louie Louie”, but it may have been more unconscious of the artists to replicate that sound – that sound had to have been drllled into the collective unconscious of the world by then.
What has mystified many guitar players about “Wild Thing”is not the chord progression but the slightly sharp tuning between A and Bb. They may have done this on purpose but it works. Supposedly this song is about a guy seeing ‘the’ girl across a room and then dancing with her. Some think there is a reference to a Buddy Holly song due to the “Shake It” line (like in Shake, Rattle and Roll”) although I always thought it was from “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles with it’s “Shake it up baby now...”.
The ‘B’ side of the single written by Reg Presley the lead singer (or non-singer as the case may be) , also did very well for the Troggs. The record itself was put out by two record companies simultaneously; ATCO and Fountana both had a number one hit – they were both from the original master recorded in mono. Billboard, a bit confused I’m sure, combined them together.
The Troggs would go top-ten again in 1968 with “Love is All Around”. They had a knack for strange songs and “I Can’t Control Myself” and “Give it to Me” were banned on British radio. If you ever come across a copy of “Live at Max’s Kansas City” grab it.
British artist Amanda Lear did a version in 1987 that I have, but it lacks that which is pure and raw about the song. A number of other covers are out there including: Jimi Hendrix, X, The Runaways, Cheap Trick, Prince and Liz Phair to name a few. It was also later featured in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.