"Wild One" or "Real Wild Child" is an Australian rock and roll song written by Johnny Greenan, Johnny O'Keefe, and Dave Owens. While most sources state that O'Keefe was directly involved in composing the song, this has been questioned by others. Sydney disc jockey Tony Withers was credited with helping to get radio airplay for the song but writer credits on subsequent versions often omit Withers, who later worked in the United Kingdom on pirate stations Radio Atlanta and, as Tony Windsor, on Radio London.
According to 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. In an article by Clinton Walker that tries to answer the question, What was Australia’s first rock’n’roll record? the writer quotes Dee Jays’ saxophonist – and the song’s co-writer – John Greenan corroborating Casch’s account and elaborating upon it.
The release date of the single, 5 July 1958, is considered the birth of Australian rock and roll. The band Jet and Iggy Pop recorded a cover version that was released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the original release. The Living End performed the song at the 2008 APRA Awards to mark the anniversary.
Wild One ~Johnny Greenan, Johnny O'Keefe, and Dave Owens