Decades from now, when musicologists trace the origins of punk rock music, they’ll find a path leading directly to the British invasion band the Troggs. In fact, the Troggs have continued to embrace both hard rock and alternative music during their more than 50 years together.
The Troggs — an abbreviation of their original name, the Troglodytes (cavemen) — organized in 1964. Two years later, during the summer of 1966, they had the #1 song in the US, “Wild Thing,” which combined singer Reg Presley‘s growls with slightly suggestive lyrics and a basic I-IV-V rock chord progression. Originally, the middle eight bars featured whistling, but in the final release this was replaced by Presley playing an ocarina.
“Wild Thing,” which became an anthem of the British invasion era and one of rock music’s most copied songs, was written by a New Yorker, Chip Taylor (whose brother is actor John Voight). The Troggs’ version was a cover of the original recording by a group called the Wild Things in 1965. While he never recorded it, Jimi Hendrix performed perhaps the most famous cover of the Troggs version at the Monterey Festival in 1967, setting fire to his guitar.
While it was their most popular, “Wild Thing” was hardly the Troggs’ only hit song. “With a Girl Like You,” their follow-up single, topped the UK charts (#29 in the US) that same summer of 1966. “I Can’t Control Myself” reached #2 in Great Britain, just a month later. The Troggs also released “Anyway That You Want Me” (#10 in the UK), “Night of the Long Grass” and “Love Is All Around” (#7 in the US and #5 in the UK).
The Troggs broke up in 1969, reunited a few years later and are still going strong.
Where Are They Now?
Reg Presley died of lung cancer and a series of strokes in February 2013, at age 71. The band’s original drummer, Ronnie Bond, died in November 1992. Dave Wright, another founding member, died in 2008.
The surviving members, Chris Britton (guitar), Pete Lucas (bass) and Dave Maggs (drums), are still touring the UK and the continent.
“With A Girl Like You,” 1966
“Wild Thing” in concert 2005
The Troggs Discography
Lost Girl (1966)
Wild Thing (1966) (UK #2, US #1)
With A Girl Like You (1966) (UK #1, US #29)
I Can’t Control Myself (1966) (UK #2, US #43)
Any Way That You Want Me (1966) (UK #8)
Troggs Tops EP (1966)
Give It To Me (1967) (UK #12)
Night Of The Long Grass (1967)(UK #17)
Hi Hi Hazel (1967) (UK #42)
Love Is All Around (1967) (UK #5, US #7)
Troggs Topps Volume 2 EP (1967) Page One
Little Girl (1968) (UK #37)
Surprise Surprise (1968)
You Can Cry If You Want To (1968)
Surprise Surprise (1968)
Hip Hip Hooray (1968)
Evil Woman (1969)
Wild Thing/I Can’t Control Myself (1969)
Easy Lovin’ (1970)
The Raver (1970)
Lazy Weekend (1971)
Wild Thing (new version) (1972)
Everything’s Funny (1972)
Listen To The Man (1973)
Strange Movies (1973)
Good Vibrations (1974)
Wild Thing (Reggae version) (1975)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1975)
I’ll Buy You An Island (1976)
Feeling For Love (1977)
Just A Little Too Much (1978)
I Love You Baby (1982)
Black Bottom (1982)
Every Little Thing (1984)
Wild Thing ’89 (1989)
Don’t You Know (1992)