The Troggs were bit players in the '60s British Invasion who played a crude, simplistic garage Rock, long before the term came into being. Known for the savage "Wild Thing," with its ocarina solo and Reg Presley's raw vocals, the song's unbridled abandon was its attraction.
Originally known as Reg Ball, the Troggs' singer adopted the Presley moniker in '66 because he thought it sounded better - no kidding. Aside from Presley, the Troggs, who hailed from Andover, consisted of Chris Britton (guitar), Pete Staples (bass) and Ronnie Bond (drums). While the Troggs had several UK hits, "Wild Thing," which sounded like the 736th variation on the "Louie, Louie" chord progression, was by far their most memorable song. The Troggs also managed to influence, in some small way, contemporary musicians (Jimi Hendrix often performed "Wild Thing" in concert) and subsequent generations.
The Troggs major contribution, aside from "Wild Thing," was "The Troggs Tapes." Early in their career, under manager Larry Page's direction, the Troggs recorded quickly and successfully. Now, toward the end of the line, they were bogged down in the studio working on a song entitled "Tranquility." It was anything but. First, the producer didn't show up. Had he forgotten or simply blown off the session? The engineer asks whether they should continue. Figuring they might as well try to get something down, the Troggs press on. Big mistake. Attempts at recording "Tranquility" fail. Even getting the song's rhythm right ('it's dub-a, dub-a, dub-a, da not dub-a, dub-a da-da!") is an insurmountable challenge. Shouting matches ensue with the group's glory days remembered and reinterpreted. Also, abundant naming calling and swearing, including the colorful use of local slang, spew forth.
Instead of being uncomfortable or depressing, "The Troggs Tapes" are laugh out loud hilarious. What they yap about is in every group - from the petty disputes that everyone has forgotten except the injured party to the desperate attempts by each member to be the voice of reason while sounding totally unreasonable - it's all there. The fighting has passion usually associated with better, more accomplished groups. That's part of the humor - they are intensely fighting over nothing! Had George and Paul used the Troggs' example during their petty "Let It Be" dispute, it would have provided some needed life to that film. "The Troggs Tapes" are a riot.
The Troggs, short for Troglodyte, also had a surprising U.S. hit with the ballad "Love Is All Around," a song revived in '94 by something called Wet, Wet, Wet for the film "Four Weddings and a Funeral." It was a huge international hit.
The hits and "The Troggs Tapes" are on "Archeology." "Best of the Troggs" is the usual package but lacks "The Troggs Tapes." Anything else available is not really worth the trip including "Athens Andover," where the group gets help from members of R.E.M.