The Troggs became one of Britain’s most salient and distinctive bands of the mid-to-late 1960s. Unlike much of its material, the group did not write its initial hit, “Wild Thing”, which has been covered many times by artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Tommy Roe, Jeff Beck, The Runaways, The Creatures, Sam Kinison, and Tone Loc. The song was written by New Yorker, Chip Taylor, a brother to actor, Jon Voight. The recording of “Wild Thing” by The Troggs, in 1966, made the song an instant classic.
The group arose from near the town of Winchester — famous for its cathedral — in southern England, and from 1966 until 1968 consisted of leading vocalist and the band’s principal songwriter, Reg Presley; guitarist, Chris Britton; bassist, Peter Staples and drummer, Ronnie Bond. “With A Girl Like You”, written by Reg, was the quartet’s follow-up to “Wild Thing”, and went to No.1 in Britain, as well as a number of European countries.
Reg Presley’s ability to write songs at either end of the musical spectrum is made no more stark than when one listens to the overtly sexual, “I Can’t Control Myself”, followed by the reflective poignancy of “Love Is All Around”. The latter has been revived by the likes of R.E.M. and the Scottish group, Wet Wet Wet. Unlike so many other artists in the retrospective 1990s, Wet Wet Wet’s cover was highly meritorious and spent fifteen weeks atop the British charts. What a pity so many other revivalists of that musically best-forgotten decade did not follow suit!
I have always thought that The Troggs’ “Little Girl” deserved to sell better than it did. Its controversial subject matter deals with having a child out of wedlock, and, in 1968, for this reason, was generally shunned by radio stations.
Reg Presley died in February of 2013, at the age of seventy-one.
The names of other tracks by The Troggs are available in the suggested playlists. A list of my favourite recordings can now be located in the suggested playlists.