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"Wild Thing" Singer, Reg Presley of The Troggs, Dies of Cancer at 71

Reg Presley, lead singer of the Troggs, died Monday night at age 71.

The Troggs, a band from Andover in southern England, were best known for their 1960s hits "Wild Thing," "Love Is All Around" (written by Presley) and "With a Girl Like You."

Presley's publicist, Keith Altham, announced Monday night via Facebook that Presley died after a lengthy bout with cancer. He died at his home in Andover, which is about 70 miles west of London. "My dear old pal Reg Presley of The Troggs died today," Altham said, calling Presley "one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world."

The Troggs scored a massive hit with "Wild Thing" (Check out the video below), which was written by New Yorker Chip Taylor, in 1966. Although its simple three-chord construction was often called "caveman rock," it struck a chord with listeners for several generations. Its popularity kept the Troggs from slipping into obscurity over the years, like several other one- or two-hit wonders from that era. The song was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and has been covered by hundreds of artists (including Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck) since it it originally hit the airwaves.

The band scored followup hits with "With a Girl Like You" and "Love is All Around," Presley's most famous composition, which went on to be covered by R.E.M. and Wet Wet Wet.

Presley founded the Troggs in the 1960s, and the band toured until his lung cancer was diagnosed just more than a year ago. He recently retired from performing because of cancer. In recent years, Presley expressed an interest in paranormal activity, crop circles and UFOs. His daughter Karen told WENN that she, her brother and mother were with Presley when he died.

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Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.