Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'66: Troggs, Four Tops, Stones

The Troggs, Wild Thing

The Troggs were 4 lads from Andover, England, who originally called themselves the Troglodytes, (as in cavemen) in 1965, with singer Reg Ball, who changed his name to Presley as a tribute to you-know-who when they signed with Fontana Records, which released "Wild Thing" at the same time an American label, Atco, put out the identical song on 45. With an unmistakable descending note at the start of the song, and an unusual ocarina solo on the middle 8 by Reg Presley, Wild Thing has a raw, intense vibe that still reverberates after over forty years. Chip Taylor wrote the song (he would also compose the gentle "Angel in the Morning" for Merrilee Rush a couple of years later. Taylor, whose real name is James Wesley Voight, is the brother of actor Jon Voight and uncle of actress Angelica Jolie. 

"Wild Thing" was originally recorded by Jordan Christopher and the Wild Ones. It would also be a comedy hit in 1967 by Bill "Senator Bobby" Minkin and in 1974 for British group Fancy. Kim Fowley produced a version by Cathy Rich, the daughter of drummer Buddy Rich  ("Wild thing, my name is Cathy and I'm wild!") And, it was memorably used for the "Major League" films with Charlie Sheen in the 1980s.

Trog was the name of Joan Crawford's final feature film, playing an anthropologist who discovers an apeman. I saw this in 1970 at the old Dyker Theatre on 86th Street in Bay Ridge on a double feature with a Christopher Lee Dracula Hammer film.

Four Tops -- Reach Out, I'll Be There 

This was the Four Tops' biggest hit, peaking at Number One for two weeks and spending 15 weeks on the chart in late 1966; Levi Stubbs, Renaldo Benson, Lawrence Payton, and Abdul Fakir had spent 10 years together by then, racking up hits after signing with Motown in 1963 and acquiring the Holland, Dozier, Holland team as writers and producers. The song also went to #1 in England.

The first line of the song is "Well if you feel that you can't go on" and some mixes cut out the word "feel," making the line hard to understand. The line "just look over your shoulder!" was repeated by Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5's 1970 smash, the similarly named "I'll Be There." The song has been covered in numerous charting versions, including discs by Merrilee Rush and Michael Bolton, but no one is really able to get a Four Tops song across the way the late Levi Stubbs did.

The Rolling Stones -- Paint It, Black

This was the Stones' 7th Top Ten and third Number One. Throughout 1965 and into 1966, they would record and release in a fevered pace, putting out ten singles and b-sides during that time, hardly slowing down at all until 1969, when "Honky Tonk Women" would be their lone missive.  

Though George Harrison introduced the sitar to rock music on the Beatles' Rubber Soul LP in late 1965 on "Norwegian Wood," leave it to the Stones to be the first to use it on a major single release, played by Brian Jones. Jones was the multi-instrumentalist in the Stones; he was proficent with guitar, sitar, tamboura, dulcimer, organ, mellotron, recorder, harmonica, marimba and xylophone (think of "Under My Thumb.")

The comma in the title was added by London Records and doesn't make any sense grammatically.  Eric Burdon and War hit with a cover version in Holland in 1970,and it has been recut by many other acts, as seen on this wikipedia entry.

1 comment:

wally creek said...

Michael Jackson's line is "Look over your shoulderS". Quite painful and possibly dangerous.