Chip Taylor

Chip Taylor (born James Wesley Voight; March 21, 1940) is an American songwriter, noted for writing "Angel of the Morning" and "Wild Thing." His songs have been covered, and often made into hits, by a wide range of artists, including P.P. Arnold, Janis Joplin, Juice Newton, Anne Murray, Ace Frehley, Jimi Hendrix, Chrissie Hynde, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris.

Chip Taylor
Background information
Birth nameJames Wesley Voight
Born (1940-03-21) March 21, 1940
OriginYonkers, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, songwriter, record producer
Years active1960s–present
Associated acts

Early life

He is the brother of actor Jon Voight and geologist Barry Voight and the uncle of actress Angelina Jolie and actor James Haven. Taylor attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York.[1] In 1961, Taylor attended the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut, for one year.

After an unsuccessful attempt to become a professional golfer, Taylor entered the music business, writing pop and rock songs, both alone and with other songwriters, including Al Gorgoni (as the duo Just Us), Billy Vera, Ted Daryll and Jerry Ragovoy.


As "tune tailor"

Taylor's first big hit was "Wild Thing," which, though originally recorded in 1965 by Jordan Christopher & the Wild Ones, became famous as both a 1966 hit single for the Troggs and a 1967 live performance by Jimi Hendrix, and was later covered by the Runaways and the Muppets. His second most recognizable song, "Angel of the Morning," was originally 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 compelling rendition from Chrissie Hynde was released.[2] 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, 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), "Lonely Is As Lonely Does" (the Fleetwoods), "Sweet Dream Woman" (Waylon Jennings), "A Little Bit Later On Down the Line" (Bobby Bare), "Rock Soldiers" (Ace Frehley), and "Son of a Rotten Gambler" (Emmylou Harris, the Hollies, Anne Murray).

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).

On his own

Taylor's first releases were on the King label and their subsidiary DeLuxe. In 1958 Wes Voight 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 Loving It", 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.[3]


Taylor restarted his performing and recording career in 1993. At a South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas in 2001, Chip 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.[4]

Taylor has performed with alt-country singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks, playing bass for Fulks's January 2004 date at Double Door in Chicago. Taylor has done a series of shows with guitarist John Platania and the young singer/fiddler Kendel Carson, and he produced both their 2007 albums.

Shaggy utilized "Angel of the Morning" as the basis for his hit "Angel" in 2001.

Chip 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.[5]

Train Wreck Records

In 2007, Taylor launched his own independent label, Train Wreck Records.[6]



Year Album US Country Label
1971 Gorgoni, Martin & Taylor   Buddah
1971 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   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 A Song I Can Live With   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 Loving It/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

Year Video
2008 "New Song Of Freedom"
2009 "Charcoal Sky"
2012 "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. Spectro Pop
  2. Dallas News
  3. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2017-05-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. NPR
  5. "Black Keys package takes Grammy over Chip Taylor". 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
  6. Train Wreck Records Press Release
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