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Hampshire rocker Reg dies

Reg Presley, lead singer of The Troggs

Reg Presley, lead singer of The Troggs

Hampshire rock star Reg Presley, lead singer of the Troggs, has died following a battle with lung cancer.

The 71-year-old, best known for the 1960s hit Wild Thing, died at his home in Andover, surrounded by his friends and family, close friend and music publicist Keith Altham said.

He announced the death of his “dear old pal” on his Facebook page, adding that the singer had recently suffered a number of strokes.

He said: “He was one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world. Our thoughts are with his wife, Brenda, and the family and those legion of fans who loved his music and his band. I will miss him hugely.”

Presley founded The Troggs in the 1960s and the band became famous with Wild Thing, and later With A Girl Like You and I Can’t Control Myself.

His career received a boost in the mid-1990s when first REM and then Wet Wet Wet covered their 1967 hit Love Is All Around.

Presley, who was born in Andover, only stopped touring in 2012 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

In his later years, the singer-songwriter was known for his interest in the paranormal, including crop circles and UFOs.

He used his royalties from the cover of Love Is All Around to fund research into crop circles and outlined his findings in the book Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us, published in October 2002.

Presley’s daughter, Karen, confirmed her father’s death to music website WENN.

She told the website: “He passed away peacefully at home and myself, my brother and our mother were with him. We’re absolutely heartbroken.”

Presley announced to fans that he was suffering from lung cancer in January last year after being taken ill at a gig in Germany.

He said: “As you all know, I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital, tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer. I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad.

“However I’ve had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years.”

Presley will be remembered as the singer on some of the most enduring hits of the 1960s and for one of rock’s most famous outtakes.

Born in Andover, he founded the band in the early 1960s and only stopped touring in 2012 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Their grungy take on Wild Thing was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic and was later covered by stars including Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and and countless bar bands over the years.

The band scored a handful of other hits including With A Girl Like You and I Can’t Control Myself before fading into obscurity in the 1970s.

For a while it looked like they were going to be mainly remembered for the Troggs Tapes, an expletive-ridden recording of the band arguing in the studio.

The much bootlegged recording is often reported as the inspiration for the mockumentary Spinal Tap.

But their proto-punk sound kept them gigging and their reputation rose again in the 1990s when first REM and then Wet Wet Wet covered their 1967 hit Love Is All Around.

The band recorded an album with three members of REM and the success of the Wet Wet Wet version, which featured on the soundtrack of the hit film Four Weddings and a Funeral and spent 15 weeks at number one, allowed Presley to pursue his interest in crop circles and UFOs.

He published a book, Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us, about the paranormal in 2002.

 

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