Vocalist for iconic ’60s beat/garage group dies a year after being diagnosed with lung cancer
By Alex Baker
The singer was 71 years old and had been diagnosed with lung cancer last year. The Troggs were best known for their massive hits “Wild Thing” and “Love Is All Around.”
Presley, whose real name was Reginald Bell, fell ill during a concert in Germany last year. This eventually led to his cancer diagnosis and subsequent retirement from music.
At the time of his diagnosis, he released a statement saying, “I am receiving chemotherapy 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.”
Formed in Andover, England in 1964, The Troggs had a US and UK no. 1 hit in 1966 with “Wild Thing.” Presley was a gyrating beat era frontman, with a lusty growl of a voice he used to great aplomb on the band’s hits and on other “caveman rock” classics like “I Can’t Control Myself,” Night of the Long Grass,” and “With a Girl Like You.”
Never quite as musically accomplished as many of their peers, or as intellectually savvy as groups like The Who or The Kinks, The Troggs success was tempered by a legal dispute that saw “Wild Thing” released simultaneously on two different labels, and the bands failure to capitalize on their hit by not touring America until 1968.
By then the page had turned with British rock was moving into the prog-rock and heavy metal era, leaving The Troggs and their primitive garage rock behind to a large degree. But with the emergence of punk in the mid-70s, The Troggs enjoyed something of a resurgence. Today they are considered to have been enormously influential to bands like The Ramones, Iggy and the Stooges, and the MC5.
Here’s a classic clip of Presley and the Troggs in their prime, performing “With a Girl Like You” live in 1967.