Like most people, my first introduction to The Troggs‘ music was the oldies radio staple, “Wild Thing.” I always felt it was a serviceable song, if not somewhat one dimensional. Since it was catchy I wouldn’t turn the station if it came on, yet I wasn’t enamored enough to delve into the rest of their catalog either.
That all changed when R.E.M. made their first appearance on MTV Unplugged in 1991. In one of his rare lead vocal performances, Mike Mills sang “Love Is All Around” and I was deeply intrigued. I can’t remember if he specified at the time who the original was by (probably did), but I fell in love with the tune and thus began my quest to hear more of The Troggs’ music.
It was announced this afternoon that Reg Presley, lead singer of The Troggs, had passed away after a year-long battle with cancer. Up until that point, he was still performing with the group, though the only other original member was lead guitarist Chris Britton. After taking ill, Presley retired, leaving Britton to carry on without him.
In memory of Reg Presley, I leave you with The Troggs’ version of “Love Is All Around,” followed by R.E.M.’s rendition, featured as a B-side on their “Radio Song” single.