Dec 05

THE TROGGS – “With A Girl Like You”

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#221, 6th August 1966

In Incredible Hulk comics there’s often a scene where the ’emerald man-beast’, cast out from human society, finds something of fragile beauty – a flower, maybe, or a baby deer – which he then accidentally crushes with his mighty strength. Listening to the Troggs I find myself thinking “Hulk form beat group.” There’s a sluggish heft to the playing which sits oddly with the my-first-love-song rhymes, the ba-ba-bas, the way the chief cave-child picks his way so carefully through his lyrics. I’d call it pig-iron bubblegum, except that sounds kind of appealing.



  1. 1
    Anonymous on 2 Jan 2006 #

    Doctor Mod said:

    I thought I wanted to say something about this clumsily sincere song, but I can’t improve on “pig-iron bubblegum.” I’d say I was chewing on that thought, but …..

  2. 2
    Andy on 2 Jan 2006 #

    Having grown up with (literally) piles of 60s singles scattered around the house I’m genuinely surprised to come across a number one that I can’t even think how it goes. I guess I’d recognise it if I heard it but now I’m not so keen to do that!

    Nice to see popular fizzing back into life – I’ve been enjoying it up until now (I keep meaning to say thanks but never had – so consider this that).

  3. 3
    Frank Kogan on 4 Jan 2006 #

    Tom, Tom, Tom. Turn the record over! The flip side is one of the great punk classics. (But I’m not at home, and I don’t remember which great punk classic it is. Either “From Home” or “I Want You.” The MC5 recorded “I Want You” a few years later but were a lot clumsier. Lester Bangs’ essay “James Taylor Marked for Death” is something of a meditation on the fact that the MC5’s version of “I Want You” isn’t as good as the Troggs’; they could do yesterday what we cannot do today (how the age of something-or-other vanished in two years)(or something) I’m still in parens.) Anyhow, my affection for Bambi meets Godzilla is clearly stronger than yours. I found the A-side touching back in the day, and didn’t actually hear the B until six years later.

  4. 4
    Anonymous on 4 Jan 2006 #

    It was I Want You. From Home was the B-side of Wild Thing. And yes, boo hiss nasty Tom; the Troggs are ace, though Girl Like You is weaker than Wild Thing or the priaprismic I Can’t Control Myself…

    Tommy Mack

  5. 5
    Marcello on 4 Jan 2006 #

    This post has been removed by the author.

  6. 6
    Anonymous on 4 Jan 2006 #

    The Troggs are friends with General Khaki on myspace. True fact.

  7. 7
    Lena on 5 Jan 2006 #

    This wasn’t any influence on The Smithereens’s song “A Girl Like You,” was it?

  8. 8
    Frank Kogan on 7 Jan 2006 #

    Marcello – Isn’t “Louie Louie” a clear precedent for “Wild Thing”? (I have no idea, however, if “Louie Louie” ever charted in Britain, though it was a Kinks album track at some point.)

    We should bear in mind – not that my mind knows what to make of it – that “Wild Thing” was written by Chip Taylor, an ambitious country music songwriter square enough to work with Chet Atkins. Taylor’s other immortal Top 40 achievement was to write and produce first Evie Sands’ and then Merrilee Rush’s version of “Angel of the Morning.” His most recent album made No Depression magazine’s list of best albums of 2005, though it, like all of his albums, remains unheard by me.

  9. 9
    Joe Williams on 7 Jan 2006 #

    ‘Louie Louie’ got to number 26 in the UK in 1964.

  10. 10
    Anonymous on 10 Jan 2006 #

    Chip Taylor’s version of Wild Thing was awful though. I saw he and Reg Presley doing a horrible acoustic version on TOTP2 a couple of years back. Reg, Reg Reg…

    I’m torn between Wild Thing and Louie Louie as to which is best… Louie is more danceable and has Jack Ely’s deranged vocal, but Wild Thing is more audaciously primal, no wonder the Beeb banned it, despite there being nothing explicit in the lyrics – Reg doesn’t have to get dirty; Chris Britton’s guitar wants to rape you…

    I bloody love The Troggs, me…

  11. 11
    Anonymous on 10 Jan 2006 #

    Oh and the Troggs did a version of Louie Louie on the first album with Wild Thing on it. Which smacks of deperation, really, but there you go…


  12. 12
    Emily Robinson on 1 Feb 2006 #

    This wasn’t any influence on the Rutles’ “With A Girl like You”, was it?

  13. 13
    Doctor Casino on 16 Nov 2006 #

    This is really groovy! As usual: NEVER heard it before, or even heard of it, or even contemplated the idea of the Troggs having other songs besides “Wild Thing.” This is a fun track – I like the cleanly muffled rigidity of the drums especially – wonderfully drum machine-like. There’s sort of a dearth of hooks (the ba-ba-ba-ba thing being pretty much it), but at 2:05 you can get away with that. Thumbs up.

  14. 14
    wichita lineman on 14 May 2008 #

    Cute ‘n all, Andover Reg gettin’ a lil bit romantic (enough for Michelle Pfeiffer to pin him up on her teenage bedroom wall) but both Wild Thing and the bulging I Can’t Control Myself, singles either side, deserved top spot ahead of With A Girl Like You. I’d pair this with Spencer Davis’s Somebody Help Me as a non-entity sequel that would have done little without the initial smash.

  15. 15
    Laban on 6 Jan 2009 #

    Tom is right about the iron in the bubblegum – all Troggs stuff has a slightly clunky, sluggish/thuggish air somewhere – but this is a great record – and the slug/thuggishness is part of it. The ‘b-b-ba ba ba’ bits anticipate the backing of their magnum opus ‘I Can’t Control Myself’, whose opening ‘Oh No !’ is ten times better than Ozzy’s on ‘Black Sabbath’.

  16. 16
    dch on 5 Nov 2009 #

    I recall that the now discredited Jonathan King made a bet around this time that the Troggs would be dead within a year. As their 1967 singles continued to bomb, he looked like winning his bet until the Troggs pulled ‘Love is All Around’ out of the bag in Autumn 1967 and so won the day.
    That was their last hurrah, however, so King was a bit unlucky, though Reg Presley had the last laugh with the royalties he got from Wet,Wet, Wet’s massive hit with the same song almost 20 years later (just ahead of King’s subsequent prison stretch!).

  17. 17
    Billy Smart on 4 Dec 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: The Troggs performed With A Girl Like You on Top Of The Pops on 21 July 1966. Also in the studio that week were; Dave Berry, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Walker Brothers and Twice As Much. Jimmy Savile was the host. No copy survives.

  18. 18
    wichita lineman on 16 Dec 2011 #

    Reg Presley is in hospital and not very well after a suspected stroke. Lots of love to him.

  19. 19
    lonepilgrim on 5 Dec 2012 #

    Meanwhile, at the top of the US charts, things were hotting up – as noted here.

  20. 20
    lonepilgrim on 5 Feb 2013 #

    Reg Presley R.I.P.

    If only there were a way that Popular could mark the man and his musical legacy

  21. 21
    Jimmy the Swede on 5 Feb 2013 #

    Yes sad to hear that Reg has popped his Troggs. My own favourite story was when he first sang “Wild Thing” to his wife, introducing it as the next record for the group. “What do you think, my dear!” inquired Reg, in that unique Hampshire brogue.

    “Oh God, it’s dreadful!” she howled and burst into tears.

    Great fella. R.I.P.

  22. 22
    Erithian on 5 Feb 2013 #

    Just found to my delight that the Troggs Tapes are on YouTube – if you don’t know what they were, take a listen, you won’t regret it.

    Apparently one time Ron Wood was doing some studio work with Bob Dylan and over the course of the gig played Dylan the “Troggs Tapes”. Not unnaturally, Dylan thought they were very funny.

    It turned out that Reg Presley was working in an adjacent studio making a demo for a commercial.

    When Wood discovered this, he approached Dylan all excited, saying “Remember that guy on the tape I played you? Well, he’s next door right now!”

    Dylan says, “Really?! Wow, I gotta meet him. You gotta introduce me!”

    So Wood takes Dylan next door to find Reg disconsolately fumbling with a bass guitar.

    Dylan, by way of introduction, says “Hey, I didn’t know you played bass, man. How long you been playing bass?”

    Reg looks up and with a deep sigh says, “All f—in’ afternoon, mate, all f—in’ afternoon”.

    Thanks Reg for the Tapes and so much more. RIP.

  23. 23
    swanstep on 5 Mar 2013 #

    ‘With A Girl Like You’ is used quite wonderfully here in the Aussie movie Flirting (1991).

  24. 24
    Tommy Mack on 16 Dec 2013 #

    I’ve heard a lot of this of late (it seems to be Absolute Radio 60s’ favourite Troggs song)

    Surely sluggish heft is what this song’s narrator is all about? The music underscores the pathos of the situation: Reg spots the girl of his dreams a the village hall dance and tries to impress her by putting on a rock’n’roll swagger (think Garth channelling Hendrix in Wayne’s World) but this clangy yet strangely prissy garage rock lope is the best he can manage. It still seems utterly charming to me though, as others have noted, Wild Thing or I Can’t Control Myself would have made much better #1s.

  25. 25
    lonepilgrim on 6 Sep 2015 #

    there’s a cheerful lack of self-consciousness about this performance with every band member playing at the limits of their limited abilities. I hear traces of “Lets Dance” (the Chris Montez version) and “Do you wanna dance?” floating around in the songs DNA. Reg Presley sounds politely lustful.

  26. 26
    Tommy Mack on 8 Sep 2015 #

    RE: Troggs playing at the limits of their abilities: I dunno…you listen to some of their B-sides/less well known tracks and while no-one’s going to mistake them for Cream, there’s some nifty garage-band blues guitar etc. which makes me think they CHOSE to play in such a reductive fashion for effect on their biggest hits (or Larry Page chose for them), which is a pretty punk thing to do in an era when everyone else was reaching to expand their musical pallette.

    Not that I’m saying that makes The Troggs better than The Beatles, Beach Boys etc. I’m not Billy Childish but there’s something audacious about swimming against the tide before most people had even realised which way the tide was turning.

  27. 27
    Tommy Mack on 8 Jun 2016 #

    A live review I wrote of AC/DC in which I nick Tom’s pig-iron metaphor (in saying that AC/DC aren’t pig-iron but alchemy, transmuting something precious out of base elements) and also drop a poptimism reference hence paper-thin excuse for posting here… http://louderthanwar.com/acdc-london-olympic-stadium-live-review/

  28. 28
    Gareth Parker on 7 Jun 2021 #

    Love the Troggs. Not an obvious #1, but I will be very generous and go to a 7/10 here.

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