The Troggs

Wild Thing: The Very Best Of

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The Troggs were the most gloriously primitive of the major British Invasion acts of the '60s -- "Wild Thing," their first and biggest hit, was a guttural howl straight from the id in which singer Reg Presley's low moans of "You move me!" could mean any number of things, most of which were not suitable for the radio, and his vocals were made all the more powerful by the blunt slash of Chris Britton's guitar. And their follow-up, "I Can't Control Myself," made "Wild Thing" seem almost polite by comparison; when Presley snarled "Your slacks are low and your hips are showing," more than a few authority figures feared for the morals of America's youth, and not without reason. While the Troggs were generally at their best when they were raw and leering, they had more than one trick up their sleeves; "Love Is all Around" was a string-laden pop tune that showed they could write a convincing love song, "A Girl Like You" fused their gutsy guitars with a romantic lyric, and "Hi Hi Hazel" found them doing a Music Hall pastiche with impressive results. Wild Thing: The Very Best of the Troggs is a 20-song collection that covers the Troggs' glory days from 1966 to 1975, including their biggest hits and a few choice obscurities, and given their status as one of the most indefatigable bands of their era (they cut an album in 1992 with members of R.E.M. sitting in, and were still touring when Reg Presley died in 2013), this is hardly a complete look at the band's best work. But it's a fine overview that includes all the band's major chart hits, and enough else to make a case for the Troggs as one of the most powerful U.K. bands of the '60s -- plenty of bands had more polish, but the Troggs' sneer, swagger, and punch pre-dated both metal and punk, and delivered as much raw, unfiltered fun as either.

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