POP: Back on the right track

Question. Who wrote "Wild Thing"? Was it? a) Jimi Hendrix? b) Graham Nash? c) The Troggs?

The answer is none of the above. That gloriously raucous tale of

testosterone - one of the best-known songs of all time - was written by a New Yorker called Chip Taylor. After some solo hits in the early Sixties, Taylor (born James Wesley Voight, the younger brother of actor Jon) penned a string of other chartbusters, including the gorgeous "Angel of the Morning", covered by both Merrilee Rush and Juice Newton, "Any Way That You Want Me" (the Troggs again), "I Can't Let Go" (the Hollies), plus many country standards, such as "Sweet Dream Woman" for Waylon Jennings.

If Taylor's a forgotten man then, by his own admission, it's his own fault, because for the past 40 years he's had "another job". "Since I was 17, I was really into the racetrack. I was shy in terms of going on tour and I stuck behind the scenes as a songwriter. My normal day was writing songs in the morning and then heading out to the track. I was very, very good at it. It was like a giant crossword puzzle that presented itself every day and that I knew I could master. I was also real good at blackjack and got banned from all the casinos in Atlantic City. Maybe it was an addiction but it was a fun thing and I did it well, but it certainly took me away from a lot of personal things and touring."

In the Seventies, Taylor recorded several albums, including the re-released country-rock gem Chip Taylor's Last Chance, but after a row with a major label he had had enough. From 1980 to 1995 his job was gambling: "I usually had a profitable season. I was pretty unstoppable."

"Then my mom got sick and I started to sing for her. I made a commitment to myself that this was what I was really cut out to do. I was just running away from it all these years." His recent album The Living Room Tapes, a beautiful acoustic song collection, arrived along with The Hit Man, that saw Taylor adding new interpretations to his most famous songs.

Now he's truly back. His blend of folk, country and southern rock has seen him make a dent in the American charts at the age of 57. Two more albums are already recorded, and he's set up his own Train Wreck label. "It's exciting to be into music again and playing with Lucinda Williams, Robbie Fulks and other great young writers," concludes the extremely jovial and approachable legend.

Taylor's latest UK tour offers an opportunity to see a real master back where he belongs. And, just in case you wondered, he might have been out of it but never down, as he's still got the publishing rights to all those hits.

Chip Taylor plays Waterman's Art Centre, Brentford (0181-568 1176) 4 Mar and The Borderline, W1 (0171-734 2095) 5 Mar

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

    Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

    £26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

    Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

    £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003