The Troggs will be forever remembered for their primitive rock anthem“Wild Thing”, a No. 1 hit in the US in June 1966, selling many million copies.
Hailing from the town of Andover in southern England, The Troggs (short for Troglodytes) consisted of Reg Presley on vocals, Chris Britton, guitar, Pete Staples, bass guitar and Ronnie Bond on drums.
Larry Page was a budding record producer who had found success with the Kinks recording of “You Really Got Me”. Following this success, he got a call from someone who said they had a tape by a group who sang “You Really Got Me” better than the Kinks. He listened to the tape and told them to come back in a year’s time, which they did…to the day! And so the Troggs’ first recording session began. “Lost Girl” was released on CBS and according to the band, it got one play on Radio Luxembourg…at 3 a.m.
However in 1965, The Wild Ones, a house band for a posh discotheque run by Richard Burton’s ex-wife Sybil recorded a song called “Wild Thing”, written by Chip Taylor, brother of actor Jon Voigt and a performer in his own right. During a trip to New York, Larry Page heard the demo of Wild Thing but wanted the Troggs to record it as a B-side, reserving the A-side for The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind” instead. The band however thought differently – all those harmonies on the Spoonful song just wasn’t them. The Larry Page Orchestra had a session booked, and The Troggs were told to wait outside in the van in case there was any studio time left. They waited in their van until they got the signal. There was three quarters of an hour for them to get their equipment in, get a sound check, get the songs recorded and get out again. “Wild Thing” and “With A Girl Like You” were both recorded in two takes in ten minutes.
The Troggs continued to have many more hits in the UK: “With A Girl Like You”, “I Can’t Control Myself”, “Anyway That You Want Me”, “Give It To Me” and “Love Is All Around”, also composed by Reg Presley. They all followed in rapid succession, giving The Troggs worldwide acclaim.
Dubbed by many as the “first British punk band”, they have continued playing in their own uncompromising style of good basic rock music. Never strangers to controversy, many of their records were considered by the “powers that be” too suggestive for the masses, and they consequently banned them. How anybody could judge Reg Presley’s tongue in cheek delivery to be dangerous to the morals of the young is hard to believe.
In 2012, frontman Reg Presley retired and sadly, passed away from lung cancer in 2013. The remaining members, Chris Britton (guitar), Pete Lucas (bass) and Dave Maggs (drums) opted to continue the Troggs’s legacy. Chris Allen on lead vocals, who has been in the Denny Laine Band, the Commitments and part-time with the Animals, now performs lead vocal.
Their appeal hold no age barriers, fans ranging from the stalwarts who have supported them throughout the years to the many new fans from the younger generation.
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