10 Great Versions of "Wild Thing"

"Wild Thing" may not be most-recorded song in history, but it's got to be up there. (It's not even in the Top 10, though, according to the UK's The Independent.) But when the version by the Troggs, whose singer Reg Presley died of cancer late Monday night, became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic in the summer of 1966, it became one of those songs. It has long been enshrined in the rock and roll pantheon, perhaps entering at the moment Jimi Hendrix used it as a launching pad to set his guitar aflame at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

Although it does not have the same kind of genre-shifting properties as some other standards, "Wild Thing" has the advantage of being fiendishly easy to learn and exhilaratingly fun to perform. In the some 46 years since the Troggs made it a hit, its salacious tone and ever-unkempt nature have kept it close at hand and given it a half-life of nearly forever.

With all due respect to Cheap Trick, Widespread Panic, Jeff Beck, Warren Zevon and just about every garage band that ever strapped on a guitar, here are the ten other versions of "Wild Thing" worth remembering.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray