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Reg Presley, Troggs lead singer, dead at 71

February 04, 2013|By Reed Johnson
  • Reg Presley (right) of 60s rock band The Troggs in 1966 with bandmates Chris Britton, Peter Staples and Ronnie Bond wearing suits from John Stephen of Carnaby Street, London.
Reg Presley (right) of 60s rock band The Troggs in 1966 with bandmates Chris… (Harry Dempster / Express…)

Reg Presley, lead singer of the Troggs, who made our hearts sing with the primal-scream, proto-garage-rock anthem "Wild Thing," as well as more tender tunes including "With a Girl Like You" and "Love Is All Around," has died at age 71.

The BBC reports that, according to a spokesperson, the band's frontman succumbed after "a succession of recent strokes and a losing battle with cancer." Presley reportedly died at his home in Hampshire, U.K., surrounded by family members.

The Troggs were one of the more notable British Invasion bands that were popular on both sides of the Atlantic in the early and mid-1960s, riding the wave of Beatlemania. "Wild Thing," ranked No. 257 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, was a growling, slow-burning, guitar-fired come-on to a girl who made "everything groovy," and it inspired generations of punk rockers to come.

A memorable film clip shows the band -- decked out in pinstriped Carnaby Street Mod attire -- performing it in the London Undeground to a bemused crowd of onlookers. Pete Townshend has identified the song as one of the rock era's defining tracks, and Jimi Hendrix also did a killer version.

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