Friday, November 17, 2006

Garage Rock Classics: Wild Thing

If Chip Taylor wrote only one song, his contribution to garageland would be profound. Taylor (nee Voight, the younger brother of Jon) penned such classics as "Angel Of The Morning" and "I Can't Let Go." But it was "Wild Thing," a three-cord masterpiece that sealed his fame. It's hard to imagine any band in the mid-60s that didn't perform this song. It was a monster hit for The Troggs, and it's been recorded by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to The Ventures to Animal (from Sesame Street). "Wild Thing," like "Louie Louie," is so simple that it's a sort of tabula rasa of rock songs. Each performer puts his (it's mostly guys) stamp on it. It's the singer, not the song.

This download includes The Troggs definitive version, a live (and very short) version by Hendrix, and one by The Kingsmen that subsitutes harmonica for the ocarina during the bridge. The version by Senator Everett McKinley was the B side to the more well known one by "Senator Bobby." Both were done by comedian Bill Minkin for an album of political parodies. The band is supposedly made up of Nelson Rockefeller (on ocarina), Ronald Reagan (then Gov of Cali), Barry Goldwater, and not-yet-president Richard Nixon. The cut includes a bonus radio ad for "Graveyard Tramps." Finally, there's what is probably the best version of the song I've ever heard, done by 7 year old Connor Wartelle. This kid nails it. Thanks to Rob Hampton's "Guitar Teacher's Lesson Notebook" blog for this cut and photo.

Wild Thing

Jimi Hendrix live in Paris (1967) on YouTube.


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