I prefer Trigger from Only Fools singing the Troggs

The Troggs
The Troggs

The Troggs play Preston on Friday, and lead guitarist and last remaining founding member of the band, Chris Britton, says the longest surviving 1960s rockers are still feeling it.

Most famously known for their smash-hit Wild Thing, Britton says he remained oblivious to how big the song was going to be 40-odd years later .

“When we heard the demo, we were really taken by it, but we were still very surprised at just how popular it was.

“It’s like Marmite. Some people loved it, some people hated it, some people cringed, while for some it was their favourite song. It’s not musically brilliant, but it’s simple, catchy and we loved to, and still love to, perform it.”

While some of their songs were deemed too risqué for the general public and subsequently barred from airing, some of their more popular songs have stood the test of time.

Wet Wet Wet’s cover of the well-known Love is All Around stood for 15 weeks at number 1 in 1994, and their songs have featured in major British films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually.

Yet one cover stood out for Britton more than the blockbusters, and that was from Only Fools and Horses’ star Trigger.

“He had the most amazing voice. You wouldn’t have thought it, but his performance is the one that has stuck with me out of all the covers.

“But it is nice to know our songs have been in films like Four Weddings and a Funeral, and have lasted into new generations,” he said.

Even after their countless performances, the 68-year-old rock star claims he still gets stage fright, regardless of the size of the crowd.

He says: “It’s a different kind of stage fright, for either an intimate crowd or a big one. Every gig is different. I used to dread that, if people recognized me in the local boozer, they’d ask me to perform, and I’d never know what to play.

“It’s more intense performing to a dozen people in a small place then performing to thousands at festivals.”

Even after a series of chart- toppers in the 1960s with I Can’t Control Myself, Anyway That You Want Me and Give it to Me, the lead guitarist never envisaged he’d still be performing after all these years.

He says: “We used to just play for fun and I never thought we’d still be doing this 60 years on. We really hit the lottery with songs like Wild Thing and With a Girl Like You, yet there’s not one single highlight of my career. It has been so full and long, it’s hard to choose one moment.”

The Troggs have performed in Preston before: “We used to perform in a 
bistro in Preston many years ago, and the staff used to perform first, then we got up and people used to be dancing on the tables.”

After 50 years in the limelight, and death of the lead singer Reg Presley this February, Britton doesn’t see any point in stopping quite just yet: “I don’t think about how old I am, as long as people are there and enjoying it I’ll keep going!”

The Troggs play The Continental on September 27. Tickets available now.