The Troggs’simple but powerful sound inspired the 60s garage rock movement and paved the way for the birth of punk rock later in the 70s.
Phil Capone unearths the style of The Troggs and plays like a Wild Thing!
We drove up to London with all the gear, set it up and in ten minutes recorded Wild Thing and With a Girl Like You.
The Troggs weren’T from the big city like their peers; they came from the quiet rural town of Andover in hampshire. But that didn’t stop them from singlehandedly pioneering an exciting new 'proto-punk' sound. Formed in 1964 the original line-up featured reg Presley (vocals), Chris Britton (guitar), Pete staples (bass), and ronnie Bond (drums). In 1965 they were signed to Page records (owned by Kinks manager Larry Page). Their first single Lost Girl flopped, but their second attempt wild Thing, a cover of a song penned by songwriter Chip Taylor, was a worldwide success (it was even covered by hendrix). with its simple, powerful three-chord riff the song was an instant success, reaching no2 in the UK and going no1 in the UsA. The band achieved their sound by keeping things simple, recording direct to a four-track tape recorder.
As Chris Britton recalled in a recent pre-tour interview, “we drove up to London with all the gear, set it up and in 10 minutes recorded wild Thing and with A girl Like You.” The hit was an inspiration to teenagers worldwide. The band were no strangers to controversy either, their fourth single I Can’t Control Myself was banned by the BBC because of the implied sexual content - and yes, you did read right, ‘implied’ sexual content! In 1967 their last big UK hit Love Is All Around heralded a change of direction; the band were focusing more on pop ballads than the primal sound of their earlier hits. They continued to release singles and albums, but by the early 70s their sound was out of step with the new sound of prog and heavy rock and chart success eluded them. In recent years The Troggs have enjoyed something of a renaissance, and continue to perform and release new material despite the death of vocalist reg Presley in 2012. guitarist Chris Britton is the only surviving original member in the current line-up of the band.
Like all the bands in this series, The Troggs were heavily influenced by American music of the 50s. This is not immediately apparent when listening to the sugar pop ballads that followed the success of their early singles, but dig a little deeper and their influences become much more apparent. Their first two albums From nowhere (1966) and Trogglodynamite (1967) not only contain covers of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs, but the more adventurous album tracks also demonstrate Chris Britton’s accomplished, bluesy soloing style. rather than merely mimicking his American idols, Britton delivers established rock'n’roll and r&B vocabulary with a contemporary 60s sound, using a fuzzbox to provide fat, creamy sustain.
Probably held back by the success of the band itself, Britton has never really received the recognition he deserved for being a player on the cutting edge of the 60s rhythm and blues scene. But he was a guitarist who not only defined the sound of the 60s, but also helped The Troggs take America by storm.
The Troggs: Reg Presley front and Chris Britton right