Tuesday 5 February 2013

Britain is sadly no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old Trogg called Reg Presley

Singer-songwriter Reg, best known as the lead singer with 'The Troggs' has died at the age of 71.

Things you possibly didn't know about Reg, that :

* he was born Reginald Ball in Andover, Hampshire who, left school at 15, played the guitar in a local skiffle group, by day worked as a bricklayer.

* helped form 'The Troglodytes' which won a 'Battle of the Bands' talent contest in Oxford in 1965 and sent a demo tape to the rock entrepreneur Larry Page, who signed them on and shortened their name to 'The Troggs' and had their debut single with 'Lost Girl'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_-oMvQkF-c

* left the building trade with his first and most famous hit, 'Wild Thing', written by James Wesley Voight, younger brother of actor Jon, under the name of Chip Taylor and recorded in one complete take at Olympic Studios in London.

* was still working on a building site when he heard on the radio that 'Wild Thing' had just risen from No 44 to No 8 in the hit parade and later said : "I thought, whew, and threw my trowel down. I put my head in the door and said, "clear out my tools, I'm off'." "

* saw the song reach number 2 in the Britain and number 1 in the USA in the Summer of 1966 and covered by 'The Jimi Hendrix Experience'  at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, introducing it as : the British/American joint 'national anthem'.

* followed up with 'With a Girl Like You' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6__s2-iytA0, which he wrote and which became the group's one and only number 1 in Britain and then 'I Can't Control Myself' , 'Anyway That You Want Me' and 'Love is All Around' in 1967 and became part of the pop elite and setting off on a tour with the Walker Brothers he said : "It was so great. It was like landing on the moon for the first time."

* with no further success, saw the band split up in 1969.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut5uC91FcbI and then reform and saw it regaled as the inspiration for a host of performers, including Iggy Pop and hailed by the American, Lester Bangs, in a  25,000 word eulogy as, the godfathers of punk, whose music was 'holy'.

* in 1987, was hailed by Bob Dylan on the set of Richard Marquand’s film, 'Hearts of Fire', in which he was appearing as an extra and said :“I had this guitar around my neck, Dylan recognised me. He came up and said: "How long have you been playing the guitar?" I said, "All bloody afternoon, mate." "

* saw his slow descent from celebrity dramatically interrupted in 1994, when his composition, 'Love is all Around', a Top 10 hit for 'The Troggs', 27 years earlier, covered by the Scottish group 'Wet Wet Wet' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQQ6SfPZggw  and used on the soundtrack of the film 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', reach No 1 and remain there for 15 weeks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrGxymFQie8

*  used substantial royalties from 'Love is All Around' to personal investigations of what he felt were neglected areas of science, notably : alien spacecraft, lost civilisations and alchemy and in his 2002 book, 'Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us', concentrated on alien abductions, crop circles and what he saw as the close relationship between UFO’s and ancient monuments.

* in 2003 saw  a modified version of 'Love Is All Around' featured in the film 'Love Actually', performed by actor Bill Nighy. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8261_christmas-is-all-around_music#.URQDRaU00z8


* had his friend, Keith Altham say of him : "I have always liked Reg, because he has an innocence about him, in a profession dominated by people who are self-important and unreceptive. Even when he is wrong, he is sincerely wrong. He is very likeable. His interests are harmless. He is not mad.”

* was in December last year, diagnosed with lung cancer after becoming ill during a tour in Germany and on 24 January  wrote to fans on the band's website: "I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad. However I've had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years … I shall miss you all. Lots of Love."

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