I’ve just heard about the passing of Reg Presley, the lead singer of the Troggs, from lung cancer & other complications at the age of 71. At the time I was not the greatest fan of the band. Those striped suits, their music & attitude, seemed comparatively gauche alongside the art school R & B boys like Ray Davies & Pete Townshend. I was reading Lester Bangs, the American rock critic, he had a very high opinion of the band from Andover & I thought this was a little strange. I knew that the 1966 hit “Wild Thing” was exactly that but realised that hearing the Troggs’ singles on the radio in the USA the group must have sounded as wild as any of their contemporaries, the Yardbirds, the Who & the Pretty Things.
And so they were. This live clip of “Les Troggs” has guitarist Chris Britton & drummer Ronnie Bond knocking hell out of the tune (Pete Staples is in there somewhere) while Reg sells this direct song to the Parisian beau monde. The Troggs had plenty of hits in 1966 & 67. They toned it down for “Love Is All Around”, a hit that R.E.M. covered with such sincerity that I was forced to reconsider its merits. (A UK cover by Wet Wet Wet for “Four Weddings” paid Reg’s bills for sometime). Then Alex Chilton does his version of “With a Girl Like You”. Something is happening here the Troggs had influenced the garage bands & other musicians I liked, it was time I got the message.
As I sift through these Y-tube classic clips from the 1960s I kept bumping into Troggs songs that were the punchy 60s pop that was everywhere then but is to be cherished now. I had thought that well, there are 3 Troggs tracks that would sit nicely on this thing I do. It is a pity that my hand has been forced by the death of the singer. R.I.P. Reg Presley.
This fine track is from a 1992 LP “Athens Andover” a collaboration between the band & 3 of R.E.M. when Mills, Berry & Buck were in the biggest band in the world.