Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
UK pop group formed by Reg Ball (b 12 June 1943; d 4 February 2013), bricklayer turned singer, with co-worker Ronnie Bond (b 4 May 1943; d 13 November 1992, Winchester, obit giving age as 51) on drums, bassist Pete Staples (b 3 May 1944), all from Andover, Hants, and guitarist Chris Britton (b 21 June 1945, Watford). Ball and Bond first played in Ten Foot Five with Tony Mansfield and Dave Wright on guitar and bass, re-formed as the Trogglodytes asnd were signed by Kinks manager Larry Page due to their basic rendition of Kinks' 'You Really Got Me'; when Ball's 'Lost Girl' failed to sell on CBS Page signed them to Fontana as the Troggs; with U.S. writer Chip Taylor's 'Wild Thing' they had a no. 1 hit USA, 2 UK '66. Basic in the extreme with an incongruous ocarina solo in the middle, it flew in the face of fashion, was later covered by Jimi Hendrix.
Ball had been renamed Reg Presley by Page in a flash of iconoclastic vision parallel to christening of Elvis Costello later. Presley wrote 'With A Girl Like You' ('Wild Thing' clone) for no. 1 UK, top 30 USA; with his 'I Can't Control Myself' they switched to Page's Page 1 label, reached no. 2 UK despite an airplay ban (because of the line 'Your slacks are low and your hips are showing'), but missed the top 40 in USA, where the last two singles were on both Fontana and Atco labels. Taylor's 'Any Way That You Want Me' ended '66 with top ten UK hit; Presley's 'Give It To Me' became a football chant as well as no. 12 hit '67; 'Night Of The Long Grass' slid to no. 17, 'Hi Hi Hazel' missed top 40; they went psychedelic with Presley's 'Love Is All Around', no. 5 UK '67 (7 USA '68 for fourth and last chart entry there); 'Little Girl' was top 40 UK and they faded to the cabaret and college circuit.
A legend was nurtured early '70s with Troggs Tapes, a bootleg of studio sessions including instrumental incompetence, mutual recrimination and much foul language. They reunited with Page '76 to for an album cheekily called The Troggs Tapes, with Britton and Staples replaced by Richard Moore and Tony Murray, rhythm guitarist Colin Fletcher added; they had a brief flash of fame late '70s when punk adopted them (X covered 'Wild Thing', Beirut City Rollers 'I Want You'); Presley was arguably the first of punk's non-vocalists, Wreckless Eric (whom Fletcher went on to record) a prime example (perhaps also an example of how novelties get out of hand and become genres). The EP Collection '96 on See for Miles compiled tracks from UK and French EPs, naïvely irresistible nostalgia for prototype punk. CDs included a two-disc Anthology on Mercury, Wild Things and Live At Max's on Griffin, best-ofs on Rhino, Fontana, Dominion, Griffin. Presley never moved away from Andover; he developed an interest in intergalactic travel and crop circles. He was always approachable, unpretentious, and a good interview, his death getting surprisingly wide coverage.