The Troggs

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The Troggs
The Troggs in 1966. L-R: Pete Staples, Ronnie Bond, Chris Britton and Reg Presley
The Troggs in 1966. L-R: Pete Staples, Ronnie Bond, Chris Britton and Reg Presley
Background information
Also known asThe Troglodytes
OriginAndover, Hampshire, England
Genres
Years active1964 (1964)–present
Labels
Members
  • Chris Britton
  • Chris Allen
  • John W Doyle
  • Martin Shorrock
Past members
  • Reg Presley
  • Ronnie Bond
  • Pete Staples
  • Tony Murray
  • Richard Moore
  • David Wright
  • Colin Fletcher
  • Jo Burt
  • Dave Maggs
  • Darren Bond
  • Pete Lucas
Websitethetroggs.co.uk

The Troggs (originally called the Troglodytes)[3][4] are an English beat music band formed in Andover, Hampshire in May 1964. Their most famous songs include the US chart-topper "Wild Thing", "With a Girl Like You" and "Love Is All Around", all of which sold over 1 million copies and were awarded gold discs.[5] "Wild Thing" is ranked No. 257 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was an influence on garage rock and punk rock.[6]

History[edit]

Reg Presley (lead vocals) and Ronnie Bond (drums) were childhood friends and in the early 1960s formed an R&B band in their home town of Andover.[7] In 1964 they were joined by Pete Staples (bass) and Chris Britton (guitar) and became the Troggs.[7] They were signed by Larry Page, manager of the Kinks, in February 1966.[8] They recorded on Page's Page One Records, and Page also leased them to CBS for the debut single "Lost Girl".[3] Their most famous hit was the single "Wild Thing" which, with the help of television exposure on Thank Your Lucky Stars, reached number 2 in the UK (Reg Presley's song "From Home" was the B-side) and number 1 in the United States in July 1966. Its combination of a simple heavy guitar riff and flirtatious lyrics helped it to quickly become a garage rock standard (the recording also contains an ocarina solo).[9] The band's success in the U.S. was also limited by the band not touring there until 1968.[2]

The Troggs posing at Cheddar Caves, Somerset in 1966

They also had a number of other hits, including "With a Girl Like You" (a UK number 1 in July 1966, US number 29), "I Can't Control Myself" (a UK number 2 in September 1966; their first UK single release on the Page One label, POF 001; this was also their second and final dual-label release in the US, with Fontana retaining the rights to all subsequent releases),[10] "Any Way That You Want Me" (UK number 8 in December 1966), all at Olympic Studios, "Give It to Me" (UK No.12 1967), "Night of the Long Grass" (UK number 17 in May 1967), "Love Is All Around" (UK number 5 in November 1967 and US number 7 in May 1968) plus "Hi Hi Hazel" (UK No.42, 1967). The band's popularity completely waned the following year. Former Plastic Penny bassist Tony Murray replaced Pete Staples in 1969. Richard Moore filled in for Britton on their 1972–1973 tour. In 1974, after a spell on Pye Records, in an attempt to re-create their 1960s successes, the Troggs re-united with Larry Page, now running Penny Farthing Records. The resulting cover version of the Beach Boys hit "Good Vibrations" failed to chart.[11] A reggae version of "Wild Thing" also failed. Richard Moore and Colin Fletcher substituted for Britton, who temporarily quit music to manage a night club in Spain, for the recording of The Troggs Tapes album released in 1976.[11] The band found a sympathetic ear at French label New Rose in the 1980s, releasing the Black Bottom LP (1982) and AU (1990).[11]

In 1991, they recorded Athens Andover, an 11-song collaboration between themselves and three members of R.E.M.[2] It was recorded in the American band's hometown of Athens, Georgia, and was released in March 1992.[3] The band attempted to capitalise on this new exposure with two collaborations on new versions of "Wild Thing". A 1992 recording with actor Oliver Reed and snooker player Alex Higgins failed to chart,[12] but another version the following year featuring Wolf from the TV show Gladiators reached number 69 in the UK Singles Chart.[3][13] In 1994, Wet Wet Wet's cover of "Love Is All Around" was No. 1 in the UK for 15 weeks, resulting in substantial royalties for Presley.[14]

Ronnie Bond, died on 13 November 1992. In January 2012, Reg Presley retired after being diagnosed with lung cancer. The band carried on with new lead singer Chris Allen. Presley died on 4 February 2013.[15]

Bass guitarist and backing vocalist Pete Lucas died on 16 December 2023, his 73rd birthday.[16]

The band is still active as of 2024, featuring only Chris Britton of the original lineup. As of 2017, Britton only plays selected gigs.[17]

Legacy and influence[edit]

Billboard advertisement, June 4, 1966

The Troggs are widely seen as a highly influential band whose sound was an inspiration for garage rock and punk rock.[6] Influential American critic Lester Bangs "called the band the progenitors of punk", according to NPR.[18] For example, the Troggs influenced artists such as Iggy Pop,[19] and the early version of British pop-punk pioneers Buzzcocks featured "I Can't Control Myself" in their live repertoire. The Ramones are also among the punk bands who cited the Troggs as an influence. "I Can't Control Myself" is perhaps the most enduring favourite of critics; it continues to be championed for its originality and lasting influence by radio hosts such as "Little" Steven Van Zandt.

A specially tailored version of "Give It to Me" featured in the "Sadie's Daydream" sequence of Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blowup. "I Can't Control Myself" appears at the climax of "The Little Chaos", the 1967 short film by German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder and in the "1967" episode of the 1996 British television serial Our Friends in the North.

"With a Girl Like You" is featured uncut in a school dance scene from the 1991 Nicole Kidman/Noah Taylor movie Flirting. It also is featured in Shine, The Good Night and The Boat That Rocked. "Wild Thing" is prominent in Jonathan Demme's 1986 film Something Wild. A modified version of "Love Is All Around" was featured in the film Love Actually (2003), performed by actor Bill Nighy. The Troggs was the name of the high school gang in the movie Bang Bang, You're Dead that persuade the main character to join them in attacking their high school. The point-and-click adventure game Hopkins FBI features "I Can't Control Myself" and "Lost Girl". Trogg is the name of one of Bane's three henchmen in Dennis O'Neil's Batman: Knightfall comic arc. The other henchmen are Bird and Zombie, named after two other popular 1960s rock bands: the Byrds and the Zombies.

The Troggs in 1971

The Jimi Hendrix Experience famously covered "Wild Thing" during their appearance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, introducing it as the British/American joint "national anthem", and climaxing with Hendrix burning his guitar.[2] MC5 covered "I Want You" at their live shows and recorded the song for the album Kick Out the Jams, although they renamed it "I Want You Right Now". In 1990, the first hit for (and first single by) the band Spiritualized was a cover of "Anyway That You Want Me". This cover later was used in the movie Me and You and Everyone We Know. In 1991, "Love Is All Around" was covered by R.E.M. during live performances and was released later that year as a B-side on their "Radio Song" single. They also performed an acoustic version of the song on MTV Unplugged. In 1994, Scottish band Wet Wet Wet's version of "Love Is All Around" spent 15 weeks at number one in the UK after its inclusion in Four Weddings and a Funeral. The authorship royalties enabled Reg Presley's 1990s research and publication on extraterrestrials and other paranormal phenomena. In 2012, Norwegian band Ulver covered the song "66-5-4-3-2-1" for their covers album Childhood's End. "Wild Thing" was covered by an ensemble featuring Queen guitarist Brian May to open the Wildlife Rocks' event at Guildford Cathedral in May 2014.

An in-studio tape of Reg Presley's running commentary on a recording session, filled with in-fighting and swearing (known as The Troggs Tapes), was widely circulated in the music underground, and was included in the Archaeology box set, as well as the compilation album, The Rhino Brothers Present the World's Worst Records. The group infighting is believed to be the inspiration for a scene in the comedy film This Is Spinal Tap, where the band members are arguing. Some of this dialogue was sampled by the California punk band the Dwarves on their recording of a cover version of the Troggs song "Strange Movies".

Band members[edit]

Founding members are in bold.

The Troggs in 2014

Current members[edit]

  • Chris Britton – guitar, backing vocals (1964–1972, 1979–present; selected gigs only since 2017)
  • Chris Allen – lead vocals/ bass (2012–present)
  • John W Doyle – guitar, backing vocals
  • Martin Shorrock - drums (2023–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Reg Presley – lead vocals (1964–2012; died 2013)
  • Ronnie Bond – drums (1964–1988; died 1992)
  • Pete Staples – bass, backing vocals (1964–1969)
  • Tony Murray – bass, backing vocals (1969–1977, 1979–1984)
  • Richard Moore – lead guitar (1972–1979), rhythm guitar (1976–1979)
  • David Wright – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1972–1974)
  • Colin Fletcher – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1974–1976)
  • Pete Lucas - bass, backing vocals (1974–2022; died 2023)
  • Jo Burt – bass (1977–1979)
  • Dave Maggs – drums (1988–2018)
  • Darren Bond – drums (2018–2023)

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Even After 40 years, Garage Rock is Still Roaring". Billboard. 30 December 2000. p. 90. ISSN 0006-2510.
  2. ^ a b c d Unterberger, Richie. "The Troggs biography". allmusic.com. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin C. (2002). The Great Rock Discography, 6th edn. Canongate. ISBN 1-84195-312-1.
  4. ^ Clayson, Alan; Jacqueline Ryan (2000). Rock's Wild Things: The Troggs File. Helter Skelter. ISBN 978-1900924191.
  5. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1979). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 213–214, 232. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  6. ^ a b Laing, Dave (1985). One chord wonders: power and meaning in punk rock. p.12, Open University Press
  7. ^ a b "Presley: Troggs Never Left Scene". Bluefield Daily Telegraph. West Virginia, Bluefield. 13 August 1975. p. 49. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2018. Open access icon
  8. ^ Christian, Harry (2016). "Convention and Constraint in Working Life: Popular music and the law – who owns the song?". In White, Avron Levine (ed.). Lost in Music: Culture, Style and the Musical Event. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-22779-3.
  9. ^ Moore, Tony (19 November 2015). "The Mystery Behind Wild Thing". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  10. ^ Billboard –. 3 December 1966. p. 3. Retrieved 26 March 2012 – via Internet Archive. troggs + atco + fontana.
  11. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1192. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  12. ^ "Oliver Reed / The Troggs With Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins* – Wild Thing". Discogs. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  13. ^ "The Troggs". Official Charts. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Reg Presley". The Telegraph. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Reg Presley of the Troggs dies aged 71". BBC News. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  16. ^ "Pete Lucas of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich fame dies aged 73". Salisbury Journal. 20 December 2023. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  17. ^ "The Troggs - The Band Present and Past". thetroggs. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  18. ^ Ulaby, Neda, "Reg Presley, The Voice Of 'Wild Thing,' Dies", NPR, 5 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  19. ^ [1][permanent dead link]

External links[edit]