Reg Presley dies: 'Wild Thing' singer, Troggs frontman was 71 - 5 facts
Reg Presley, frontman of British rock band The Troggs, known for the 1966 hit song "Wild Thing," has died at age 71.
The singer passed away on Monday, February 4, at his home in England, his daughter Karen told BBC News. Presley had been battling lung cancer and had retired from music last year. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 50 years, Brenda, and a son, Jason.
"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," music publicist Keith Altham said on Facebook.
"He was one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world," he added. "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."
Check out 5 facts about Reg Presley and The Troggs:
1. That's not his real name ...
Altham was the one who gave Presley his stage name. The singer was born Reginald Maurice Ball in Andover in southern England on June 12, 1941.
2. He used to work as a bricklayer.
In the early 1960s, Presley, drummer Ronnie Bond and bassist Tony Murray formed The Troggs, an abbreviation of Troglodytes.
"Reg and I knew each other as kids," Bond told the UK newspaper The Telegraph in 1975. "And we got a band together to play R&B in and around Andover. Then Tony and our original guitar player joined us and we became The Troggs."
At the time, he had a day job as a bricklayer. He quit after the success of "Wild Thing," according to the UK newspaper The Telegraph.
3. "Wild Thing" was a cover.
"Wild Thing," which nowadays is played at sporting events across the United States, was originally recorded by a group called The Wild Ones in 1965, a year before The Troggs released their version, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.
"We found an old demo record called 'Wild Thing,' recorded it and immediately had a hit on our hands," Presley told The Telegraph. "Then we had a batch of hit singles in a row and we were off."
4. Here's your Angelina Jolie connection.
The rock anthem was written by Chip Taylor -- brother of actor Jon Voight and uncle of Angelina Jolie. The California-based group X.'s cover of the song was featured in the 1989 baseball film "Major League," which stars Charlie Sheen.
5. Presley was interested in aliens and UFOs.
The Troggs are also known for the songs "With a Girl Like You" and "Love Is All Around." A cover of the latter ballad by Scottish band Wet Wet Wet is featured in the 1994 movie "Four Weddings and a Funeral." Both songs were also commercially successful.
Two years after Wet Wet Wet's cover of "Love Is All Around" was released, Presley used the royalties he was paid for it to fund personal investigations he had conducted about reported UFOs and alien abductions, crop circles and other and supernatural mysteries.
He hosted a local cable TV series called "The Reg Presley UFO Show" in 1994 and also detailed his findings and theories in a 2002 book, "Wild Things They Don't Tell Us."
"I looked at my first crop formation in 1990 and after that I was hooked," Presley told the UK newspaper The Independent in 1994. "When I was young and studying to be a bricklayer, with all the arches and things that we had to draw at college, that gave me an insight to know that this was no ordinary wind damage. I knew there was something more technical there."
When asked what he would do if he encountered extra-terrestrials himself, Presley told the outlet: "'I hope I will have the bottle to go through with anything that happens. If they've travelled millions of miles, I'm sure I'm not going to put on my running shorts and trainers and run the other way."
Watch Reg Presley and The Troggs perform "Wild Thing" below.