R.I.P. Reg Presley

Some people associate the song “Wild Thing” as the walk-out theme for Charlie Sheen’s character in the 1989 baseball comedy Major League. Others recognize it as the simple, raw pop song Jimi Hendrix morphed into a seven-minute onslaught of guitar. And then there are those of us who think of “Wild Thing” as the mid-60s sex anthem that put The Troggs on the map and enabled them to have a healthy, 40+ year career.

And when you think of The Troggs, you think Reg Presley, the erratic, lustful frontman of the combo. Sadly, Presley lost a long battle with lung cancer Monday and died at the age of 71.

The Troggs had a very similar approach to rock ‘n’ roll as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones from a music standpoint, but Presley’s snarling tone, “punk” charm and oddball lyrics kept the band away from being classified as teen idol rock stars. It was this strong stance that made to be Presley to be a major influence to punk icons like Iggy Pop and Joey Ramone.

The production may have cleaned up a bit during the band’s progression through the years, but the attitude stayed the same — originals and cover versions of old songs held the Troggs’ distinctive tone. And on that note, here’s the band’s version of an old country/rockabilly song by Ricky Nelson called “Just A Little Too Much.”

Rest in peace, Reg!

-Chris Coyle, KZOK

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