A small hit in the UK (no 36) but a no 8 in Germany. The track has echoes of The Troggs and The Who of I’m a Boy and prefigures the Roy Wood era Electric Light Orchestra. The video features “guitarist” Eddie Phillips playing his instrument with a violin bow – reputedly the first to do so – a major contributor to the record’s sound. Another antecedent of Prog Rock?
Phillips had also used this technique on their previous single, Making Time.
The place The Troggs had for me in the 60s and Sweet in the early 70s was taken by Marillion in the early 80s.
Marillion have been forever tagged with the Prog Rock label and while their first songs – especially the 17 minute long Grendel and most of the debut album Script For a Jester’s Tear – fit that bill (which was why I got into them in the first place) by the time of Fugazi they had mainly moved on to a more guitar based rock sound.
Their initial success, though, shows that Prog wasn’t as moribund a genre as its detractors would have had it.
I think I first saw them on television on The Oxford Road Show (who remembers that!) when this was one of the songs they played. Despite it being from Fugazi there is still a hint of Prog and echoes of Genesis.
This clip, though, is from Top of the Pops. Check out Fish – with hair!
I’ve said before that for a while in the Sixties The Troggs were my favourite band so I was sad to hear of the death of lead singer and composer of a fair few of their hits, Reg Presley, earlier this week.
Thinking about it, it occurred to me that, with the sparseness of the arrangements in the raunchier part of their output, they were a kind of proto punk band.
If The Troggs were my musical vice of the 1960s the band which took that role in the 1970s was The Sweet.
Their early hits were mostly rubbish created by the songwriters Chinn and Chapman (who also were responsible for the band Mud and wrote for Suzi Quatro among others) but The Sweet began to hit their stride when they moved away from directly appealing to the young “teenybopper” market in 1973 with the harder edged Blockbuster which started off their biggest run of chart success.
Examination of their B-sides – which they wrote themselves, and leaned toward heavy rock - reveals more than a degree of casual sexism: a feature mostly absent in the bands they aspired to emulate.
Some sources have it that lead singer Brian Connolly was related to the actor who played Taggart, Mark McManus. As Wiki says that Connolly was fostered this would not quite be the case.
The Six Teens was the most lyrically interesting of their big 1973/4 hits, referencing the disturbances of 1968, but it was the start of their popular decline.
I’ve mentioned before that for a short while the Troggs were my favourite band. (We’re all young once.)
This song leans almost entirely to their raunchy side except for the breathiness of the, “Wild Thing, I think I love you/Come on, hold me tight/You move me,” lines and the ocarina solo.
The clip once more puts the lie to the story that until videos came along there were no promotional films for singles. Unfortunately the first few chords and words are missing but note the Troggs uniform, stripy jackets and trousers.
Reg Presley would also give David Gray a close run in the strange-movement-of-the-head stakes.
For a short while in the sixties The Troggs were my favourite band. (I was young, OK? My musical tastes were relatively unformed.) They have, however, left a lasting legacy – not least on REM, see Athens Andover and this video, which I have featured before – and are credited by some on You Tube as being punk ten years before it happened. To my mind that description’s a bit simplistic, though.
In retrospect they were quite a peculiar band. Their catalogue is actually a strange mixture of stripped down raunch (I Can’t Control Myself, Give It To Me) and the sentimental (Anyway That You Want Me, Love Is All Around, Little Girl.)
Usually these two strands were kept separate with different tracks falling into one category or the other but they could make the jump between them in the one song. Wild Thing has a crude, thumping but insistent beat and a more than suggestive breathiness in the “Come on. Hold Me Tight,” bits but then suddenly in the middle it breaks off into an almost delicate ocarina solo.
I remember a film of the single below from the time of its release with the group walking about in a forest or something in their trademark striped jackets but that doesn’t seem to be on You Tube any more. (I’m sure it was, the last time I looked.) Anyway, here’s the creeping menace that is Night of the Long Grass.