This month on All About Lemon’s Music Passion the key word is ONE. “Wild One” or “Real Wild Child” is an Australian rock and roll song written by Johnny Greenan, Johnny O’Keefe, and Dave Owens. According to Johnny O’Keefe’s guitarist, Lou Casch, the song was inspired by an incident at a gig in Newtown, Sydney,in about 1957. According to Casch, as O’Keefe and the Dee Jays played at an upstairs venue, an “Italian wedding” reception was taking place downstairs. Some of the dance patrons came to blows with wedding guests in the men’s toilets, and within minutes the brawl had become a full-scale riot that spilled out into the street, with police eventually calling in the Navy Shore Patrol to help restore order. The release date of the single, 5 July 1958, is considered the birthday of Australian rock n’ roll music. In 1958 the song was released as a single by Jerry Ivan Allison, a member of The Crickets, using the name Ivan. Retitled “Real Wild Child,” the song became a moderate hit, peaking at #68 on the Billboard Hot 100. The version most widely known is performed by Detroit madman Iggy Pop. For the faint of heart I begin with the original studio version produced by David Bowie.
Iggy’s live performances are legendary. On 07/15/1972, Iggy and the Stooges played one (and ONLY one) show at King’s Cross Cinema in London. In the audience were virtually all the young Britons who would found the Punk Movement. My brother, William and I saw him in San Diego on the Soldier tour in 1980 at the peak of Punk in America. As we were first in line, we got to stand right next to the stage. When Iggy first came out, one of the Punks pegged him in the head with a Michelob bottle. It didn’t even phase him. As he cranked up the energy, our choice seats turned into chopped liver as we were constantly slam danced into the stage in a frenetic mosh pit of leather jackets, spikes and mohawks. Choosing a live version for this post was really tough. I settled on two… The American Idol “Clean edit”…
And for those of you who want know why there are bits of audio missing, enjoy the uncensored performance from the excellent DVD Live at Avenue B in Belgium. Iggy, who created audience diving in the late 60’s is still audience diving in His late 60’s! Go Iggy Go!
True artists are not static, they keep evolving with the times, and Iggy is a true artist. In 2008 he returned to the song’s Aussie roots by teaming up with Jet “down under”. The Jet and Iggy Pop cover was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the original release. Let’s all be Wild Ones in October!