Five things you might not know about 'Wild Thing' Reg Presley

Feb 5, 2013

The singer with The Troggs, one of the key British bands of the mid-1960s, has died of lung cancer at 71

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REG PRESLEY, the singer with Sixties group The Troggs, has died of lung cancer at the age of 71. Best known as the man who snarled the words to the band's highly energised 1966 hit Wild Thing, he died at his home in Andover, Hampshire, surrounded by family and friends. Here are five things you might not know about rock 'n' roll's other Presley.

He didn't write Wild Thing: The song was written by Chip Taylor, a New Yorker, and originally recorded by an American band called The Wild Ones. The Troggs recorded their definitive version in a studio in London's Baker Street and saw it go to No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in July 1966. Jimi Hendrix played the Troggs' arrangement of the song at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, setting light to his guitar at the climax.

The Troggs had the best band spat in rock history: An audio recording of The Troggs having an expletive-laden argument in a recording studio in the 1960s became a sensation years later. An exasperated Presley can be heard to say: "That is a number f---ing one and if that bastard don't go [to No. 1] then I f---ing retire." It is rumoured that the tape was the inspiration for the spoof rock movie This is Spinal Tap.

He had a second career thanks to Wet Wet Wet: The Troggs were long forgotten when the band Wet Wet Wet recorded a version of Presley's ballad Love is all Around in 1994. The new version was used on the soundtrack of the British movie Four Weddings and a Funeral and stayed at the top of the UK singles chart for 15 weeks. Love is all Around has also been recorded by REM.

He was fascinated by UFOs and crop circles: The massive success of Wet Wet Wet's Love is all Around "allowed Presley to pursue his interest in crop circles and UFOs" reports The BBC. In 2002 he published a book about the paranormal called Wild Things They Don't Tell Us. The 271-page book "is a fairly quick read, and is written like a pub conversation with an old friend" said The Green Man Review website.

He was a proto-punk: Although the Troggs were formed in the era of peace, love and harmony, Presley's "swaggering vocals" and the grinding, insistent riff at the heart of Wild Thing made them an inspiration to "generations of punk and garage musicians", says The Guardian. Iggy Pop and The Ramones are both said to have been inspired by Presley's band.

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