Green Room

RIP Reg Presley, lead singer on “Wild Thing”

posted at 8:48 am on February 5, 2013 by

If you’ve ever been to a real party in the last 40 years, you’ve danced to his music — and probably sang along at the top of your lungs.  Reg Presley, who sang the lead vocals for the Trogg’s seemingly timeless hit “Wild Thing,” died yesterday of cancer at 71 years old:

The structure is simple, the guitar riffs basic, the lyrics at best inane, but the Troggs’ “Wild Thing” remains a garage rock classic more than 45 years after its release made The Troggs and lead singer Reg Presley international stars.

Presley, whose raunchy, suggestive voice powers this paean to teenage lust, died Monday after a year-long struggle with lung cancer that had forced him and the band into reluctant retirement, his agent Keith Altham announced on Facebook late Monday night. He was 71.

“My dear old pal Reg Presley of The Troggs died today,” he said, calling Presley “one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world.” He said the singer had suffered a number of strokes recently and died at his home in Andover (70 miles west of London) surrounded by his family and friends.

The Troggs, part of the British invasion spurred by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, perfected a simple, hard-driving approach to the three-minute rock song that was miles away from the lyrical art-rock of the Beatles or the poetic songs of Bob Dylan.

Presley and the Troggs entered rock immortality on “Wild Thing,” but they deserved it more for “Love Is All Around,” one of the most beautiful garage-rock ballads ever.  It’s been covered a few times, but the raw beauty of the original has never been equalled:

RIP, Reg, and I wish you an eternity of love being all around you.

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With A Girl like You” also a great pop song. RIP, Reg.

Karl on February 5, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Presley and the Troggs entered rock immortality on “Wild Thing,” but they deserved it more for “Love Is All Around,” one of the most beautiful garage-rock ballads ever. It’s been covered a few times, but the raw beauty of the original has never been equalled

Here! Here!

I’m glad I’m not the only one who appreciated the Troggs as more than just a one-note phenomenon. They were so much more than just “Wild Thing.” How one band can come out with “Wild Thing” on one hand, and then turn around and produce “Love is All Around” is a pleasant wonder.

Mitoch55 on February 5, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Not an easy thing to write a pop classic no matter how simple the song is . They had a few . Rock on, Reg .

DeweyWins on February 5, 2013 at 8:59 AM

You know you’re getting old when you no longer think of “The 60s” as something in the 20th century.

:(

Shy Guy on February 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM

All comments here are spot on. RIP Reg.

50sGuy on February 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM

http://youtu.be/5UziGi5jKL4

“you make everything…. groovy…”

i love the sort of 60s songs and bands- the garage-y one-s that have the aggression and abandon that later shows up widespread in punk rock.

mittens on February 5, 2013 at 9:25 AM

The Troggs actually covered the song which was originally recorded in a demo by The Wild Ones. They did not write it. A producer thought the song fit them better. The rest is history.

tommytom02 on February 5, 2013 at 9:33 AM

I agree with your assessment of “Love is All Around,” Ed, but the link to the song on YouTube is actually a re-recording of the tune.

I hate re-recordings…

Corky on February 5, 2013 at 9:44 AM

“From Home”, performed live in 1967.

This was the “B” Side to “Wild Thing”.

Del Dolemonte on February 5, 2013 at 9:53 AM

If you want to hear something funny, there’s a bootleg tape floating around the internet of the Troggs in the studio, trying to record a follow-up to “Wild Thing,” but without a producer. It’s right up there with Buddy Rich’s famous tirade.

CurtZHP on February 5, 2013 at 10:49 AM

The guitar riff in Wild Thing may be the most copied hook in all of rock. I can think of half a dozen songs that use it right off the top of my head and could probably think of a dozen more if I spent a bit more time on it.

tommyboy on February 5, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Unfortunately, a lot of these individuals will be passing on
in the coming years….I have long been devoted to the music
Era from 1965-1975….it IS the greatest Popular music, bar none.

We recently lost Joe South, and Levon Helm of The Band.

That being said, my favorite memory of the song Wild Thing
was a band playing in a local club years ago, who inserted
this chorus.

“Prune Juice, you make my bowels move”!

ToddPA on February 5, 2013 at 11:01 AM

RIP

You made my heart sing

Fallon on February 5, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Love is all around us…..

Great song.

portlandon on February 5, 2013 at 11:43 AM

My wife and i are in our fifties. We used to date in the 80′s and hang out at the oldies bars and drink plenty of beer and dance.

Love is all Around me….was one of my wifes favorites and a great slow dancing song.

Scoreboard44 on February 5, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Unfortunately, a lot of these individuals will be passing on
in the coming years….I have long been devoted to the music
Era from 1965-1975….it IS the greatest Popular music, bar none.

We recently lost Joe South, and Levon Helm of The Band.

That being said, my favorite memory of the song Wild Thing
was a band playing in a local club years ago, who inserted
this chorus.

“Prune Juice, you make my bowels move”! – ToddPA on February 5, 2013 at 11:01 AM

The passage of time spares no one from death.

SC.Charlie on February 5, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Unfortunately, a lot of these individuals will be passing on in the coming years….I have long been devoted to the music Era from 1965-1975….it IS the greatest Popular music, bar none.

We recently lost Joe South, and Levon Helm of The Band.

-snip-

– ToddPA on February 5, 2013 at 11:01 AM

So true. Rob Grill, of The Grass Roots, passed in 2011. I had just watched one of those “reunion” rock and roll videos put out by PBS, so it genuinely hit me hard.

Mitoch55 on February 5, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Unfortunately, a lot of these individuals will be passing on in the coming years….I have long been devoted to the music Era from 1965-1975….it IS the greatest Popular music, bar none.

We recently lost Joe South, and Levon Helm of The Band.

-snip-

– ToddPA on February 5, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Unfortunately, a lot of the Rock and Roll generation will be passing on in the coming years. It is the greatest music generation evah. (To rob from the quote above.)

HiJack on February 5, 2013 at 3:08 PM

I’ve always had a strong affinity for the garage rock of the ’60′s and enjoyed Wild Thing, but I only really discovered the Troggs after seeing the cover of “Love is All Around” on a 1991 MTV Unplugged show with REM. It is such a beautiful, sweet and innocent song. I dug in a little deeper and found “With a Girl Like You”, another tremendous piece of 1960′s pop. I was just a little kid in the ’60′s and I suppose that has something to do with my sentimental recollection of the music of that time, but it still makes me smile.

BTW, if you need an even heavier and in my opinion terrific version of Wild Thing, check out the cover by the band X from teh mid 1980′s, which was used in the movie Major League.

long dogs on February 6, 2013 at 10:16 AM