Reg Presley; Troggs singer made ‘Wild Thing’ famous

Reg Presley (right) and the Troggs, Chris Britton, Peter Staples, and Ronnie Bond, in their Carnaby Street suits.

Harry Dempster/Getty Images/file 1966

Reg Presley (right) and the Troggs, Chris Britton, Peter Staples, and Ronnie Bond, in their Carnaby Street suits.

LONDON — The structure is simple, the riffs basic, the lyrics at best inane, but the Troggs’ “Wild Thing” remains a garage rock classic more than 45 years after its release made The Troggs and Reg Presley stars.

Mr. Presley, whose raunchy, suggestive voice powers this paean to teenage lust, died Monday after a yearlong struggle with lung cancer that forced him and the band into reluctant retirement. He was 71.


The singer had suffered strokes recently and died at his home in Andover.

The Troggs, part of the British invasion spurred by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, perfected a simple, hard-driving approach.

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“Wild Thing,” written by American songwriter Chip Taylor, was originally recorded by Jordan ­Christopher & The Wild Ones in 1965, and quickly forgotten. It took the Troggs to make it a classic a year later.

“Wild Thing” became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic and has been covered by hundreds of artists since its release, including Jimi Hendrix.

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