Chip Taylor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chip Taylor
Background information
Birth nameJames Wesley Voight
Born (1940-03-21) March 21, 1940 (age 83)
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s)Songwriter, singer
Years active1960s–present

Chip Taylor (born James Wesley Voight; March 21, 1940) is an American songwriter and singer noted for writing "Angel of the Morning" and "Wild Thing".[1]

Early life[edit]

Taylor was born on March 21, 1940, in Yonkers, New York. He is the brother of actor Jon Voight and geologist Barry Voight and the uncle of actress Angelina Jolie and actor James Haven.[2] Taylor and his brothers attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York.[3] In 1961, Taylor attended the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut, for one year.[citation needed]

After an unsuccessful attempt to become a professional golfer like his father, Elmer Voight, Taylor entered the music business.[4]


As "tune tailor"[edit]

Taylor wrote many pop and rock songs, both alone and with other songwriters, including Al Gorgoni (with whom he also performed, as the duo Just Us),[2] Billy Vera, Ted Daryll, and Jerry Ragovoy,[citation needed] first freelancing and then as an employee of a New York City music publisher.[2]

Taylor's first big hit was "Wild Thing", which, though first recorded in 1965 by Jordan Christopher and the Wild Ones, became famous as both a hit single by the Troggs in 1966 and a live performance by Jimi Hendrix in 1967, and was later covered by the Runaways, the Muppets, and X.[citation needed] His second most recognizable song, "Angel of the Morning", was first recorded by Evie Sands in 1967, before becoming a hit for Merrilee Rush and also P. P. Arnold in 1968, then a million-selling single in 1981 for country-pop singer Juice Newton; later a rendition from Chrissie Hynde was released.

Other notable pop and country songs written by Taylor include "He Sits at Your Table" (Willie Nelson), "I Can't Let Go" (Evie Sands, the Hollies, Linda Ronstadt), "The Baby" (the Hollies), "Worry" (Johnny Tillotson), "Make Me Belong to You" (Barbara Lewis), "I Can Make It With You" (the Pozo Seco Singers, Jackie DeShannon), "Any Way That You Want Me" (the Troggs, Evie Sands, Melanie, American Breed, Juice Newton, Lita Ford, Liverpool Five) "Step Out of Your Mind" (American Breed), "Country Girl City Man" (Billy Vera and Judy Clay), "I'll Hold Out My Hand", "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" (Lorraine Ellison, Janis Joplin), "Julie" (Bobby Fuller Four, Marshall Crenshaw), and "Lonely Is As Lonely Does" (the Fleetwoods).[citation needed]

Shaggy used "Angel of the Morning" as the basis for his hit "Angel" in 2001.[5]

In 2009, Ace Records released a compilation CD of some of Taylor's compositions as recorded by other artists (Wild Thing: The Songs of Chip Taylor).[citation needed]

His own recordings[edit]

Chip Taylor, 1973

Taylor's first releases were on the King label and their subsidiary DeLuxe. In 1958, he and the Town Three released two 45s on DeLuxe, numbers 6176 "Midnight Blues" and 6180 "I Want a Lover". In 1959, he recorded for King as Wes Voight on 5211 "I'm Movin' In", and his final recording as Wes Voight on King 5231 "I'm Ready to Go Steady" and "The Wind and the Cold Black Night". The two King 45s were released in both mono and stereo, making them some of the first stereo singles available. Taylor has released recordings on Warner Bros., Columbia, and Capitol. His first chart single was his recording (as Chip Taylor) of "Here I Am" in 1962 on Warner Bros. Records.[6] He also had a top 40 hit in Australia in 1963 with "Sandy Sandy" with the Town and Country Brothers, a later iteration of Wes Voight and the Town Three, with Ted Daryll (who wrote the song) and Greg Richards, writers of "She Cried" by Jay and the Americans.[7][8]

Performing and recording in the 1990s and the 21st century[edit]

Taylor restarted his performing and recording career in 1993.

At the 2001 South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas, Taylor met singer and violinist Carrie Rodriguez, with whom he performed and recorded Americana music for several years. The duo recorded Let's Leave This Town in 2002. They released The Trouble With Humans the following year and the critically acclaimed Red Dog Tracks in 2005. Each has since released successful solo albums. Taylor's double-CD Unglorious Hallelujah/Red Red Rose, his first solo album in five years, was quickly hailed as "a future classic" by Sonic Magazine, whose reviewer declared: "This is the best we've heard from Chip Taylor so far." Rodriguez's solo album, Seven Angels on a Bicycle, was released in August 2006. In late 2006 and early 2007, Rodriguez toured on her own but continued to perform with Taylor from time to time.[9] Taylor has done a series of shows[when?] with guitarist John Platania and the young singer/fiddler Kendel Carson, and he produced both their 2007 albums.

During the 21st century through 2020, Taylor has continued to perform with his band The New Ukrainians (John Platania on electric guitar, Björn Petterson on bass, and a revolving cast of other musicians). Each concert almost always includes both "Wild Thing" and "Angel in the Morning".[10][11][12]

Taylor's album Yonkers, NY was a 2011 nominee for a Grammy Award for best recording package, but lost to Brothers by the Black Keys.[13]

Train Wreck Records[edit]

In 2007, Taylor launched his own independent label, Train Wreck Records.[14]

Personal life[edit]

By Taylor's own accounts, from 1980 through 1995 he was very successful at, but unhappily addicted to, gambling professionally on blackjack in New Jersey casinos and on horse races. He then returned to music, starting by singing to his dying mother, Barbara Voight.[15][16] Taylor has said that the gambling addiction was hard on both himself and his family. He has written that, after having an epiphany, he changed his attitude and created the "Church of the Train Wreck" self-help program for himself and others.[17]

As of 2019, Taylor continues to live in New York City. He has been married to Joan Carole Frey since 1964, and they have children and grandchildren. (Joan and Chip were temporarily divorced for several years, starting in the 1990s.)[18][19]



Year Album US Country Label
1971 Gotta Get Back to Cisco [as Gorgoni, Martin & Taylor]  — Buddah
1972 Gorgoni, Martin & Taylor [as Gorgoni, Martin & Taylor]  — Buddah
1972 Gasoline  — Buddah
1973 Chip Taylor's Last Chance  — Warner Bros.
1974 Some of Us  —
1975 This Side of the Big River 36
1976 Somebody Shoot Out the Jukebox [with Ghost Train]  — CBS
1979 Saint Sebastian  — Capitol
1996 Hit Man  — Gadfly
1997 Living Room Tapes  — Gadfly
1999 Seven Days in May... A Love Story  —
2000 London Sessions Bootleg  —
2001 Black & Blue America  —
2002 Let's Leave This Town  — Lone Star
2003 The Trouble with Humans  — Lone Star
2005 Red Dog Tracks  — Back Porch Records
2006 Unglorious Hallelujah  — Back Porch Records
2007 Live from the Ruhr Triennale  — MRI
2008 New Songs of Freedom  — Megaforce
2008 Songs from a Dutch Tour  — Train Wreck
2009 Yonkers NY  — Train Wreck
2012 Fuck All the Perfect People  — Train Wreck
2013 Block Out the Sirens of This Lonely World  — Train Wreck
2014 The Little Prayers Trilogy  — Train Wreck
2016 Little Brothers  — Train Wreck
2017 Rock and Roll Joe  — Train Wreck
2018 Fix Your Words  — Train Wreck
2018 Time Waits for No Little Girls Uncovered  — Train Wreck
2019 Whiskey Salesman  — Train Wreck
2020 In Sympathy of a Heartbreak  — Train Wreck
2023 The Cradle of All Living Things  — Train Wreck


Year Album Label
2008 Angels & Gamblers: Best of 1971–1979 Raven Records
2010 James Wesley Days Best of 99–10 Rootsy / Train Wreck


Year Single Chart positions Album
U.S. Country CAN Country
1958 "Midnight Blues/Another Guy's Line" DeLuxe 6176
1958 "I Want a Lover/Little Joan" DeLuxe 6180
1959 "I'm Movin' In/Everything's the Same" King 5211
1959 "I'm Ready to Go Steady/The Wind and the Cold Black Night" King 5231
1962 "Here I Am/I Love You but I Know"
1967 "You Should Be from Monterey/I'll Never Be Alone" Rainy Day 45-8002
1973 "101 in Cashbox" Chip Taylor's Last Chance
1975 "Me As I Am" 80  — Some of Us
"Early Sunday Morning" 28 41
"Big River" 61  — This Side of the Big River
1976 "Circle of Tears" 92  —
1977 "Hello Atlanta" (with Ghost Train) 93  — Somebody Shoot Out the Jukebox

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
2008 "New Song Of Freedom"
2009 "Charcoal Sky"
2011 "Fuck All The Perfect People"
2014 "Little Prayers"
"Queen of the World"
2015 "Refugee Children"
2016 "Who's Gonna Build That Wall"
2017 "Whisper Amen"
"Senorita Falling Down"


  1. ^ "Jon Voight and his brother, composer Chip Taylor; Pamela Fiori; George W. and Laura Bush; Liz Carpenter". Dallas Morning News. March 24, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Druker, Norman; Patrick, Mick (2007). "Spectropop presents Chip Taylor". Spectropop. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  3. ^ Stern, Gary (April 26, 2007). "Stepnac inducts Voights into hall of fame". The Journal-News. White Plains, NY. p. 2B – via
  4. ^ "Chip Taylor: Live last night – Post Rock". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 29, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  5. ^ Udovitch, Mim (February 15, 2001). "Q&A: Shaggy". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 15, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Nuttall, Lyn (July 17, 2009). "The Blog: Only in Oz (14) The Town & Country Brothers – Sandy, Sandy". PopArchives. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  8. ^ Daryll, Ted (2009). "Letter to Lyn Nuttall" (PDF). PopArchives. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  9. ^ "Chip Taylor On Mountain Stage". Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  10. ^ Taylor, Chip. "Tour Dates". Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  11. ^ Taylor, Chip. "Chip Taylor's Road Journal". Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  12. ^ "Chip Taylor – Dad & The Monkey". Train Wreck Records. October 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  13. ^ "Black Keys package takes Grammy over Chip Taylor". October 23, 2007. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  14. ^ "Train Wreck Records Press Release".[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Speaking Freely: Chip Taylor". First Amendment Center. 2000. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  16. ^ "Chip Taylor On Sunday Morning Show". CBS News Sunday Morning. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  17. ^ Taylor, Chip. "Church of the Train Wreck Introduction" (PDF). Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  18. ^ Marsh, Steven P. (January 29, 2019). "'Wild Thing' returns: Yonkers-born Chip Taylor will perform an intimate show in Garrison". The Journal News. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  19. ^ Sharp, Ken (May 13, 2019). "Chip Taylor, 'Whiskey Salesman' and All-Time Great Songwriter With a Litany of Classic Hits (Q and A)". Rock Cellar Magazine. Retrieved February 6, 2021.

External links[edit]