JOHNNY O'KEEFE & THE DEE JAYS
The Wild One
(Tony Withers - Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
Australia 1958
#20 Sydney

Original version

EP on Festival label, Shakin' At The Stadium. This version, with overdubbed applause, differs from the version released in the USA and UK (see below).

The original writers of The Wild One were Dave Owens and John Greenan, Deejays saxophonists who drafted the song over drinks after a particularly wild concert. Johnny O'Keefe later contributed to the development of the song, and Sydney disc jockey Tony Withers was credited to help get radio airplay for the song.

Writer credits on future versions often omit Withers, who later worked in Britain on pirate stations Radio Atlanta and, as Tony Windsor, Radio London. See the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame's Spotlight on Tony Windsor.

The song has often been renamed Real Wild Child or Real Wild Child (Wild One). Johnny O'Keefe's 1958 USA & UK singles used Real Wild Child.

Johnny O'Keefe (1935-1978), known in Australia as The Wild One, The King of Rock'n'Roll or just J.O'K., was a pioneer Australian rocker, a chart topping artist in his home country. A TV mini-series about his life was made in 1985, Shout! The Story of Johnny O'Keefe.

References: Damian Johnstone's definitive biography The Wild One (2001), pp.54ff. Roger Ford's 2004 post to rec.music.rock-pop-r+b.1950s.

Further reading/listening: Probe is Turning-on the People! has audio of four Wild One versions including JO'K's Brunswick release.

Later versions:

JOHNNY O'KEEFE & THE DEE JAYS
Real Wild Child
(Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
USA & UK 1958
Later version

Single on Brunswick (USA) and Coral (UK).

Tony Watson points out that this version of The Wild One differs from the version released on Festival in Australia with overdubbed applause (see above):

Festival liner notes have always put forward that the crowd overdub was the only difference... Ignoring the crowd overdub at the start, both versions have a different intro and JOK's vocal on the foreign versions is noticeably wilder than on the EP version issued here… As far as I know, the US/UK single version which, IMHO, is markedly superior to our version, was never issued in Australia... at the time, [but] it did finally appear on a local compilation LP in the 70's and is now commonly available on various JOK CDs here, including the 3CD JOK set, "The Birth of Australian Rock & Roll". (Email to PopArchives, January 2005)

These US & UK releases used the title Real Wild Child.

Listen: Audio of JO'K's Brunswick release at Probe is Turning-on the People!

IVAN
Real Wild Child
(Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
USA 1958
Later version

This is Jerry Ivan ("JI") Allison of The Crickets, Buddy Holly's backing band.

The Crickets heard this Johnny O'Keefe song while touring Australia. Jerry Lee Lewis was also on the bill (see below).

Alan LaFlamme writes:  Supposedly, the "Ivan" version of the song was done as a parody of then teenaged and very nasal Ricky Nelson. In fact, it sounds a little like Nelson's Stood Up. (Email) 

Listen: Audio at Probe is Turning-on the People!

JERRY LEE LEWIS
Wild One
(Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
USA 1958
Later version

Sun recording, not released until 1974 on the British LP Rockin' And Free.

Jerry Lee Lewis also appeared on the Australian Buddy Holly tour with Johnny O'Keefe (see above).

Further reading: Roger Ford's chronology of Wild One at rec.music.rock-pop-r+b.1950s. The full thread covers other details of interest.

Other versions include:
Johnny Devlin & the Devils (Australia, 1960)
Christopher Otcasek (Pretty Woman film soundtrack, 1990)
BR5-49 (USA 1998)
Josie & the Pussycats (cartoon soundtrack 2001)
Sabrejet (USA 2003)
Status Quo (UK 2003?)
Wakefield (USA 2004, Eurotrip movie soundtrack)

Thanks to Terry Stacey and to Porky for version alerts.

JET HARRIS
Real Wild Child
(Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
UK 1962
Later version

Ultra-cool version on EP Jet Harris on Decca.

Jet Harris: bassist who left The Shadows to work solo and with drummer Tony Meehan, also an ex-Shadow. Jet Harris & Tony Meehan had three instrumental hits in the UK in 1963: Diamonds (#1) Scarlett O'Hara (#2)Appplejack (#4), See Jet Harris's website.

Listen: Audio at Probe is Turning-on the People!

THE GUESS WHO
Wild One
(Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
Canada 1971
Later version

On 1971 album Guess Who Play The Guess Who, also on Wild One, 1972.

The Guess Who, originally from Winnipeg, were known as Chad Allan & the Expressions (previously The Reflections) until their label, Quality, released Shakin' All Over in a plain cover bearing the words "Guess Who?", apparently in the hope that it would encourage British Invasion fans to jump to conclusions about the identity of the band.

Two members became known for their post-Guess Who careers: Randy Bachman in Bachman-Turner Overdrive (You Ain't seen Nothing Yet) and lead singer Burton Cummings as a solo artist (Stand Tall).

Reference: The Guess Who (Nearly) Complete Discography at GuessWhoFans.com.
Version alert from Terry Stacey.

ALBERT LEE
Real Wild Child (Wild One)
(Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
USA 1982
Later version

On the 1982 album Albert Lee.

Albert Lee: British-born R&B guitarist (b. 1943) whose considerable CV includes work with Chris Farlowe's Thunderbirds, Heads Hands & Feet, The Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Joe Cocker and Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings.

Not to be confused with his unrelated contemporary Alvin Lee of Ten Years After, with whom he played on Jerry Lee Lewis's 1973 London Sessions album.

IGGY POP
Real Wild Child (Wild One)
(Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
USA 1986
Later version
#14 Sydney #7 Melbourne #5 Brisbane #1 Perth #1 NZ

Produced by David Bowie & David Richards. On the 1986 album Blah-Blah-Blah, on A&M label.

Well known in Australia as the theme to the all-night pop music program Rage on ABC TV.

Buy At Sanity.com.au

Listen: Audio at Probe is Turning-on the People!

JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS
Real Wild Child
(Dave Owens - John Greenan - Johnny O'Keefe)
USA 1993
Later version

On 1993 album Flashback.

GRANTLEY DEE
Wild One
(Bernie Lowe - Kal Mann - Dave Appell)
Australia 1966
Red herring

Same title but not the same song as 'Wild One' by Johnny O'Keefe.

Go here for history of this song, first recorded by Bobby Rydell.

MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS
Wild One
(Stevenson - Hunter)
USA 1965
Red herring
#34 USA

Same title but not the same song as "Wild One" by Johnny O'Keefe.
SUZI QUATRO
The Wild One
(Chapman - Chinn)
UK 1974
Red herring
#7 UK #3 Sydney #19 Melbourne #8 Brisbane #4 Perth

Similar title but not the same song as "Wild One? by Johnny O'Keefe.

Rocking singer-guitarist, originally from Detroit, whose career kicked off in Britain.

Corrections or comments? Contact the writer.