POP: Back on the right track
Saturday 28 February 1998
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
Life & Style blogs
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
The secret to a great sex life revealed: Two cups of coffee a day
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Teenager tries to buy elderly homeless man breakfast at McDonald's but is told homeless people cannot be served under 'new policy'
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...