RIP Reg Presley, lead singer on “Wild Thing”
posted at 8:48 am on February 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
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.