Saturday, July 30, 2016

Today in Music (1966): The Troggs “Wild Thing” hit #1

Wild Thing

The Troggs

Writer(s): Chip Taylor (see lyrics here)

Released: April 22, 1966

First Charted: May 5, 1966

Peak: 12 BB, 11 CB, 11 GR, 12 HR, 1 CL, 2 UK, 2 CN, 12 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 18.38 video, 96.27 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Wild Thing” is “the foundation stone, the Rosetta Stone and the Magna Carta of rock & roll.” TC It “set the benchmark for perfect raw rock & roll and has never been bettered.” TC Chip Taylor, the professional songwriter and record producer who penned the song, said, “It’s not like the chords don’t sound like a thousand other songs. But there’s something within the simple structure that’s magical. It’s still inspired, even in its dumbness.” TC

Taylor wrote it at the request of Gerry Granahan. He was producing Jordan Christopher & the Wild Ones and wasn’t happy with the songs they had. He asked Taylor if he “could give me something different, something unique.” SJ Taylor had a demo session for a country song scheduled at 5pm, but came up with a guitar riff about 4pm, hummed a song to it on the way to the studio, and let the tape roll with the plan “to do this nonsense thing and see what came out.” SJ

He came up with a six-minute song and carved it down to under four minutes. He said, “I was on the floor laughing when I was through. As soon as I did it I said ‘What is this monster?’ Because, basically, it was just a guttural expression, some kind of sexual thought.” TC

Taylor sent it to Granahan as promised and they recorded it, but very differently, “with horns, and changed the rhythm and stuff like that.” SJ Taylor was embarrassed by the song and glad when it wasn’t a hit. However, against Taylor’s wishes, the publisher sent “Wild Thing,” along with everything else they’d published, to Dick James Music in England. The Troggs went through about fifty songs before landing on “Wild Thing.” SJ

They wanted “something unusual to kick-start their career” TB and thought “Wild Thing” just might be it. t’s “an eccentric record replete with…pauses that defiantly fall out of step with the song’s rhythmic pulse.” TB It also uses a Ocarina, which is a musical toy generally used by children. TC


First posted 9/18/2023; last updated 9/28/2023.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Today in Music (1966): Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton released

Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton

John Mayall’s Blues Breakers

Released: July 22, 1966

Charted: July 30, 1966

Peak: -- US, 6 UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK

Genre: British blues rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks)

  1. All Your Love (Dixon/ Rush) [3:35]
  2. Hideaway (King/ Thompson) [3:14]
  3. Little Girl (Mayall) [2:33]
  4. Another Man (Mayall) [1:44]
  5. Double Crossing Time (Clapton/ Mayall) [3:00]
  6. What’d I Say (Charles) [4:26]
  7. Key to Love (Mayall) [2:05]
  8. Parchman Farm (Allison) [2:21] (single, 10/66)
  9. Have You Heard (Mayall) [5:54]
  10. Rambling on My Mind (Johnson/ traditional) [3:07]
  11. Steppin’ Out (Bracken) [2:27]
  12. It Ain’t Right (Little Walter) [2:40]

Total Running Time: 37:39

The Players:

  • John Mayall (vocals, piano, organ, harmonica)
  • Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals on “Ramblin’ on My Mind”)
  • John McVie (bass)
  • Highie Flint (drums)


3.736 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)


“Perhaps the best British blues album ever cut” – Bruce Eder, All Music Guide


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Rarely has any single record album induced such a shift in popular music.” LP This was the “best LP ever recorded by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers” BE and “perhaps the best British blues album ever cut.” BE This incarnation reinvented “the American blues for a fresh audience whose ultimate response would give rise to subgenres such as heavy metal and other roots-related rock.” LP Mayall sang and played guitar and keyboards while Bassist John McVie (later of Fleetwood Mac) and drummer Hughie Flint “provide a rock-hard rhythm section” BE giving “the tracks an extra level of steel-strung tension and power.” BE

“While their contributions prove immeasurable, they are likewise sadly eclipsed by that of Clapton.” LP “His guitar naturally dominates most of this record.” BE It was his “first fully realized album as a blues guitarist,” BE coming in between his stints with the Yardbirds and Cream, but he “needed precious little time to gestate the blues.” LP His “ability to express himself is uncanny, as if he were a man twice – if not three times – his age.” LP “One can hear the very direct influence of Buddy Guy and a handful of other American bluesmen in the playing.” BE

“The passionate inflections and unforgettable impressions Clapton makes upon these grooves swiftly catapulted him” LP “to the helm of the burgeoning British blues-rock scene” LP and “international exposure as well as legendary guitar rock idol status.” LP

“It became obvious for those involved that the best way to approach making a studio recording was to document the same material that was concurrently being performed by the band night after night in various London area clubs.” LP Credit goes “to producer Mike Vernon for the purity and simplicity of the record; most British producers of that era wouldn’t have been able to get it recorded this way, much less released.” BE

The album combined “originals such as Double Crossing Time and Key to Love with revered blues standards, including Freddie King’s Hideaway and Robert Johnson’s Ramblin' on My Mind – which features Clapton’s very first lead vocal.” LP

The collection “made significant noise on the other side of the Atlantic – where the blues had literally been born, bred, and buttered.” LP In short, “Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton is an invaluable touchtone into primordial pre-metal rock & roll.” LP


“In 1998, Polygram Records issued a remastered version of this album on CD, featuring both the stereo and mono mixes of the original tracks and new notes.” BE The album was re-released again in 2001 with two bonus cuts (“Lonely Years” and “Bernard Jenkins”) added to the original twelve.

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/31/2008; last updated 3/18/2024.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

50 years ago: Frank Sinatra “Strangers in the Night” hit #1

Strangers in the Night

Frank Sinatra

Writer(s): Bert Kaempfert (music), Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder (lyrics) (see lyrics here)

Released: April 1966

First Charted: May 7, 1966

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 11 HR, 13 UK, 12 AU, 4 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 6.0 radio, 48.9 video, 134.75 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The music for “Strangers in the Night” was written by German jazz composer Bert Kaempfert. His friend Avo Uvezian, Croatin singer Ivo Robić, and French composer Michel Philippe-Gérard all claimed they composed the song but all three lost their cases in court. WK Kaempfert wrote it as an instrumental for the score for the spy spoof movie A Man Could Get Killed, starring James Garner, Melina Mercouri, and Sandra Dee. Jimmy Bowen, Frank Sinatra’s producer, said Sinatra would record it if they came up with lyrics for it. KLBD Meanwhile the publisher had given the song to Jack Jones and Bobby Darin. KL There are also reports it was offered to Mercouri, from the movie, but she turned it down, thinking a man’s vocals would be better suited to the melody. WK

Sinatra was rushed into the studio to record the song – with Glen Campbell on guitar – and released it as a single within 24 hours. FB While Sinatra was fresh off back-to-back Grammys for Album of the Year for September of My Years and the compilation A Man and His Music, no one would have gambled on the 50-year-old singer landing a #1 song in the middle of America’s obsession with the Beatles and the British Invasion. In an interesting bit of chart trivia, Sinatra was the featured vocalist on Tommy Dorsey’s recording of “I’ll Never Smile Again,” which topped the first singles chart published by Billboard on July 20, 1940. FB

Sinatra reportedly hated the song, SG saying it sounded like it was about two gay guys at a bar, although his actual words were less PC. KL The song is supposed to be “a tale of two people who share a moment of fleeting but meaningful eye contact, a moment that leads them to fall in love before the end of the night.” SG Regardless of who the lovers are, the song is, according to Stereogum columnist Tom Breihan, “pure fluff. It’s the sort of drippy throwback orchestral cheese that should’ve been beneath Sinatra. And so Sinatra sings it with a cold kind of sneer.” SG Bob Dylan called it “the song of the lone wolf” in which “tramps and mavericks…[are] enraptured with each other.” BD

An interesting bit of trivia – Iwao Takamoto, who created the cartoon Scooby-Doo, said he got the name for the namesake dog from the “dooby dooby doo” lines Sinatra sang in “Strangers in the Night.” SG


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Frank Sinatra
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 202.
  • BD Bob Dylan (2022). The Philosophy of Modern Song. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Pages 300-304.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Pages 121-3.
  • SG Stereogum (9/11/2018). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

Related Links:

First posted 11/2/2022.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Today in Music (1966): The Beach Boys released “God Only Knows”

God Only Knows

The Beach Boys

Writer(s): Brian Wilson, Tony Asher (see lyrics here)

Released: July 18, 1966 (B-side of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”)

First Charted: July 28, 1966

Peak: 39 US, 38 CB, 32 GR, 38 HR, 1 CL, 2 UK, 6 CN, 17 AU, 4 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 39.65 video, 236.94 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Paul McCartney called “God Only Knows” “the greatest song ever written.” SF U2’s Bono said the string arrangement was “fact and proof of angels.” WK In American in the Sixties, John Robert Greene calls it “one of the most complex – and beautiful – songs in the annals of American popular music.” WK Brian Wilson “attributed the impetus for the song to [co-writer Tony] Asher’s affinity for standards.” WK Asher said it was the pair’s most effortless collaboration. WK

About twenty session musicians were enlisted to play drums, sleigh bells, clarinets, flutes, strings, French horn, accordion, guitars, upright bass, harpsichord, a tack piano, and even the bottoms of two plastic orange juice bottles. WK Initially Brian sang lead on the song, but decided his brother Carl was better suited to the track. He said, “I was looking for a tenderness and a sweetness which I knew Carl had in himself as well as in his voice.” SF According to Carl, Brian said, it fit his “beautiful spirit.” WK Carl had rarely sung lead on Beach Boys’ songs.

The song is sung by a “narrator who asserts that life without their lover could only be fathomed by God.” WK The lyrics have been interpreted as demonstrating a suicidal inclination on the part of the narrator citing lines such as “what good would living do me?” but Asher says that was not his or Wilson’s intention. WK However, the song does reveal how conflicted Wilson was an artist and in his relationships, suggesting his “apparent helplessness in dealing with the other forces in his life.” TC Wilson has simply said he was striving “to write a song that would last forever.” TC

Referencing God in song lyrics and titles was considered taboo at the time. Asher says he and Wilson had long discussions about it, concerned the song wouldn’t get airplay. He believes Wilson agreed to the title because it would be far out and generate controversy. WK Still, out of fear that American radio stations wouldn’t play it, the song was released as the B-side of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” It still managed to crack the top 40.


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First posted 4/29/2021; last updated 9/16/2023.