Do you feel a bit on the wild side today? If you do, that feeling would be directly in line with a specific music happening on this day in 1966. The song was written by a songwriter named Chip Taylor, who has made tons of money from it because it has been recorded by many artists and is constantly being used in movies and TV shows. For today's trip down memory lane, we begin with...
1966 The Troggs started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Wild Thing'. Because of a distribution dispute, The Troggs' single was available on two competing labels: Atco and Fontana. 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 No.1 for two companies.
The style of music exemplified in this song became known as "Caveman Rock" due to The Troggs' grungy features and photos of them in caves, and also because of that unique sound of their first mega hit, 'Wild Thing'. That crazy whistling instrument in the break is an ocarina, which is an Eastern instrument that dates back thousands of years. This gave the song a very distinctive sound and was a great talking point for the band. As for their name, The Troggs is short for "troglodyte" (meaning "cave dweller"), which helped bolster this image. Reg Presley, the vocalist, sang with a lustiness and decadence that turned on millions.
A Bit of Wild Move (Gyrating) Trivia...
Continuing a bit on the wild side, let's backtrack to the year 1956. Yesterday, July 29, featured Blue Suede Shoes with the spotlight on Carl Perkins. Of course, Perkins was not the only musician to record the song. Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins faced off in the "Top 100". The point here is not the song, or any specific song for that matter but the moves...NOT Perkins this time, but Elvis!
Elvis backstage at Overton Park Shell - July 30, 1954
Photo © Bill E. Burk
1954 Slim Whitman ("Rose Marie"), Billy Walker ("(I'd Like to Be In) Charlie's Shoes"), Sugarfoot Collins, Sonny Harvelle, Tinker Fry, Curly Harris (stand-up country comic) and a young Elvis Presley, all appeared at the Hillbilly Hoedown, Overton Park Shell, in Memphis Tennessee. Elvis was so nervous he stood up on the balls of his feet and shook his leg in time with the music, when he came offstage he asked why people were yelling at him. Someone told him it was because he was shaking his leg, which with the baggy pleated pants created a wild gyrating effect in time with the music. This wild gyrating got the crowd so stirred up that it became his trademark in live performances from that point on.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...
Thomas Fuller (1608 - 16 August 1661)