Reg Presley of the The Troggs died Monday at the age of 71 following a battle with lung cancer.Presley was the lead singer for the Troggs, the seminal 1960's garage-punk British band whose signature song "Wild Thing" remains one of rock'n'roll's finest moments.
The Troggs had a swagger and primitive guitar sound that made them the prototype for punk rock. Iggy Pop, The Ramones and many others cited Presley as a major influence. Jimi Hendrix famously lit his guitar on fire before smashing it to smithereens when he covered "Wild Thing" at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, that perhaps being the only way to top the Troggs' version.
But The Troggs had more than one gear, and Reg Presley's composition "Love Is All Around" was a beautiful pop masterpiece that was later covered by R.E.M.
R.E.M. were such big fans that Buck, Mills and Berry brought Presley to Athens Georgia to back him on a record released in 1992 entitled Athens Andover for their respective hometowns, with Presley taking all the lead vocals. The R.E.M. contingent and Peter Holsapple (The dBs) penned "Nowhere Road" for Presley on Athens Andover:
Presley and The Troggs continued to perform until 2011.
Presley also wrote a book about crop circles and similar phenomenon, Wild Things They Don't Tell Us (2004).
Return to WYMA this Friday as this week's Nuggets feature will also honor The Troggs.