The Troggs were a British Invasion band of the 60's and they left us with some memorable songs, including a #1 hit in the USA and another #1 in the UK.
Reg Ball and Ronnie Bond were bricklayers who preferred to be rock-and-roll performers, with Ball a singer and Bond a drummer. They were in a band known as Ten Foot Five in their hometown of Andover, Hampshire in southern England with guitarist Tony Mansfield and bassist Dave Wright. Eventually some changes were made; Ball and Bond combined with lead guitarist Chris Britton and and bassist Pete Staples to form a group called the Troglodytes. A troglodyte is someone who lives alone, or someone who lives in a cave. The group came to the attention of Kinks' manager Larry Page who had liked the band's rendition of the Kinks' You Really Got Me. Page signed them to his label, Page One Records, and they began recording. He leased the group to CBS and their first single was Lost Girl in 1966, written by Reg Ball.
Lost Girl did not sell well so Larry Page made some changes. He signed the Troglodytes to the Fontana label, shortened their name to the Troggs, and had Ball change his name to Reg Presley. They recorded Chip Taylor's Wild Thing. Taylor would become well-known later in the decade as the brother of actor Jon Voight, and for writing another top ten song, Angel Of The Morning. Wild Thing had a simple guitar riff and catchy lyrics, making it quite popular with the numerous garage bands in existence at the time, and soared to #2 in the UK and to #1 in the USA in the summer of 1966. It was their first big hit. Wild Thing was later covered by the Jimmie Hendrix Experience.
Just weeks after Wild Thing was introduced to the record-buying public, the Troggs released With A Girl Like You, written by Reg Presley, and it went to #1 in the UK and #29 in the USA. Another record that did not make the top forty in the USA I Can't Control Myself went to #2 in the UK, this time on the Page One label. It might have sold even more without the controversial line in the lyrics "Your slacks are low and your hips are showing" which resulted in a number of radio stations refusing to play it. The Troggs continued recording, mostly coming up with hits in the UK such as Chip Taylor's Any Way That You Want Me, Night Of The Long Grass, and the less popular Hi Hi Hazel. Presley's Give It To Me was adopted by British sports fans as a football chant.
Music styles were changing, much of it moving toward psychedelia. The Troggs responded with Love Is All Around in 1967, written by Presley. It went top ten on both sides of the Atlantic. The band began to spiral downward as a record-selling entity as the inability to find good material set in; they performed in clubs and on the college circuit, and finally broke up early in 1969.
In the early 70's a bootleg of some of the group's studio sessions was issued as The Troggs Tapes. Some years went by and they reunited, with some personnel changes. Britton and Staples were gone, and in their place were lead guitar/vocalist Richard Moore and bassist Tony Murray. Colin Fletcher was added on rhythm guitar, and manager Larry Page was with the Troggs once again. They recorded an album in 1976, curiously titled The Troggs Tapes. The 1989 motion picure Major League assigns the nickname Wild Thing to pitcher Ricky Vaughn (played by actor Charlie Sheen), who is greeted by crowds chanting the title of the Troggs' most popular song when he enters the game.
Reg Presley continued performing for four decades before suffering from lung cancer and retiring in 2012; he died a year later, at age 71, in his hometown of Andover. By that time Dave Wright and Ronnie Bond had both passed away. Over the years the Troggs have gotten together at various times. In 2013 the band consists of Chris Britton, Dave Maggs, and Pete Lucas.
The Troggs are credited as a major influence on the garage bands of the 60's as well as the punk rock groups that came along later. Their most well-remembered singles in the USA are With A Girl Like You, Love Is All Around, and of course, Wild Thing.
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