Who can forget "Wild Thing"? The Troggs have always been remembered for this 60s anthem, but it is just one of their many UK hits. "With A Girl Like You", "I Can't Control Myself", "Anyway That You Want Me", "Give It To Me" and "Love Is All Around". They all followed in rapid succession to give The Troggs world-wide acclaim. Dubbed by many as the "first British punk band" they have continued playing in their own uncompromising style of good basic rock music. Never strangers to controversy, many of their records were considered by the "powers that be" too suggestive for the masses, and they consequently banned them. How anybody could judge Reg Presley's tongue-in-cheek delivery to be dangerous to the morals of the young is hard to believe.
The Troggs still boast one of the original founder members - Chris Britton on lead guitar. They are now joined by Chris Allen (stepping in the shoes of Reg Presley) Pete Lucas on bass and Dave Maggs on drums. Their popularity has never waned and they are still in great demand both in the UK and the rest of Europe, where they regularly headline festivals attracting thousands of fans. Their appeal hold no age barriers, fans ranging from the stalwarts who have supported them throughout the years to the many new fans from the younger generation.
The Troggs and "Wild Thing" have been used in many advertising campaigns in recent years. For instance "The Rowntrees Lion Bar" in the UK, coffee in Scandinavia, Mexican relish in the USA and Canada and insurance in Europe. "Anyway That You Want Me" was re-recorded for a Yoplait Fruit Royale commercial, and in Germany there was a re-release of "With A Girl Like You" to coincide with a televised promotion for the milk and friut juice packaging company Tetrapak. A CD which also included "Wild Thing" and "I Can't Control Myself" was issued to publicise the product.
Now, at the new millenium, The Troggs are very much a "cult" band. Polygram in the USA and UK released a 52 track CD box set, and Castle Music Pictures and Polygram co-operated to produce a video spanning twenty six years of great Troggs music. Reg Presley was born at 17 Belle Vue Road, in Andover, Hampshire on 12th June 1941. Reginald Maurice Ball was the youngest son of Grace and Ernest Ball. He had 2 older brothers, Eric who was born in 1935 and Ronald who was born nearly three years later.
He first sang in public as half of a duo with a fellow schoolmate from Andover Secondary Modern school. This took place in 1955 as part of the Andover summer carnival week and they sung ‘Unchained Melody’. The applause they received gave him the taste for performing in public. He then purchased a saxophone and took some lessons, but as he only just about managed to get a tune out of it, he swapped it for a guitar, which he later admitted ‘was crazy as the sax was worth more than the little acoustic guitar’.
He then strummed a guitar for ‘The Incognitos’, a skiffle band, who only lasted as long as it took to rehearse and take part in a talent competition at a local cinema. It was a total disaster, they all wore masks as they were scared stiff.
In 1962 he married Brenda and they went on to have a long and very happy marriage. They have one son and one daughter.
By 1964 as well as having a ‘proper job’ by day working as a bricklayer Reg was the bass player in the first line up of The Troggs. When that formation disbanded Reg and the drummer Ronnie Bond joined forces with Chris Britton and Pete Staples the remaining members of a rival Andover band Ten Feet Five. Reg was persuaded to take on the lead singer and front man duties, which proved to be fantastically successful, as history has proved.
When The Troggs first hit single‘Wild Thing’ entered the charts in 1966 Reg was still working on a building site. But as soon as he heard on a workmate’s transistor radio that the record had shot up the UK charts he told his workmate ‘to share out his tools’ and left the site forever to be a fulltime professional musician.
More hits followed in quick succession between 1966 and 1968 for The Troggs with Reg penning the majority. Over the years Reg had been able to venture into acting and gained parts on the big and small screen. He had a cameo role in the Bob Dylan film 'Hearts Of Fire’ and was a supermarket manager in a Ruth Rendell Mystery on ITV.
But it was the writing of ‘Love Is All Around’, which he wrote in under twenty minutes one Sunday afternoon that was far reaching. Wet Wet Wet revived the track for the soundtrack of ‘Four Weddings And A Funeral’ in 1994. On 23rd May 1995 Reg was awarded 3 prestigious Ivor Novello Awards. Best Selling Song Of 1994. International Hit Of The Year. The PRS Most Performed Work. Following a series of strokes and a diagnoses of lung cancer at the end of 2011 he regretfully decided to retire from performing and gave the band his blessing to carry on with new vocalist, Chris Allen.
On 4th February 2013 Reg peacefully passed away at his home surrounded by his family.
Very much missed Reg, has left a huge legacy of memorable music. But he gave his blessing for the band to continue with this current line up.