The single that The Shadows disliked at the time, a superb example of artfully controlled ferocity (much more so than the ‘Witch Doctor’ alternative), has proved its worth over the years, up there among their revered classics and constantly revamped by tribute bands.
The Ventures’ version was not exactly high-profile, since it was issued as the flipside of the US single ‘The Chase’ – the excellent ‘Solar Race’ from the wondrous In Space album decked out with spluttering engine and tyre noise that sounds outrageously OTT long before the mayhem of the fade-out. As for ‘The Savage’, it is definitely a case of more noise, on the principle evidently of the more noise the better, offering as it does a concerted onslaught of guitars, organ, cymbals and percussion, with no improvising break (such a distinctive part of the original). As they said of The Sex Pistols, never mind the melody, it’s the energy …; still, to these ears it is just too unrelieved, a caricature.
Hear this Ventures single [together with 'The Chase'] on: