Reg Presley, the gravelly voiced singer whose vocal on “Wild Thing” was an iconic hit in 1966, has died from lung cancer at age 71, the BBC reported Monday.
Veteran rock publicist Keith Altham wrote on Facebook, “My dear old pal Reg Presley of The Troggs died today at l.OO. surrounded by family and friends at his home in Andover following a succession of recent strokes and a losing battle with cancer. He was one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world. Our thoughts are with his wife Brenda and the the family and those legion of fans who loved his music and his band. I will miss him hugely.”
“Wild Thing” hit the top of the Billboard chart in the U.S. on July 9, 1966. The group had two other Top 40 Billboard hits: “With a Girl Like You,” which peaked at No. 29 on Sept. 3, 1966, and “Love Is All Around,” which topped out at No.7 on March 23, 1968.
“As you all know I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer. 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. A big thank you to Jackie for running the fan club and keeping you all up to speed, and a huge and special thank you to Chris, Pete and Dave. I shall miss you all. Lots of Love, Reg."
A decade after the Troggs hit it big with “Wild Thing,” rock critic Gene Sculatti wrote in Creem after a '70s TV appearance by the group, “Any half-assed aficionado knows the Troggs' 'Wild Thing' and 'I Can't Control Myself' virtually wrote the pamphlet on drooling leer-rock of the punk-swagger school. The surprise is that ten years later they're not only able, but more than casually committed to that musical outlook. It's a matter of perspective; neither age nor the changing colors of the pop landscape can deter Presley from his task. ”
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