Andover in 1965 there were two main bands, 'The Ten Feet Five' and 'The
Troggs'. When the two bands started to break up, mostly through girlfriend
problems, it left Ronnie, Reg, Chris - all who were married - and me, who
didn't have a regular girl at the time, still wanting to carry on playing.
As Reg both sang and played the bass, it was decided that he'd go on singing
and I'd be the bass player. After months of rehearsal we started to do some
gigs and our two managers, Lance Barrett from The Ten Feet Five and Stan
Phillips from The Troggs, worked hard on our behalf to secure our first
release, 'Lost Girl' which made no impact.
Our next release, 'Wild Thing', which we recorded in 20 minutes, really changed our lives. From £15.00 a night we started to do gigs for £500 a night, though we were not as well off as one would imagine. With two road managers, a manager, an agent, solicitors and accountants we worked out that from the £500 fee we ended up with £30.00 each. For the first year we worked extremely hard and didn't have a break, let alone a holiday. We did tours of Europe, often doing 2 gigs in one night and journeys up and down the motorways were the norm, bringing to mind the stops for breakfast in the motorway cafes and bumping into other groups, bleary eyed and smelling of cigarette smoke, having puffed ourselves silly in the car.
We toured extensively in America and have good memories of gigging with The Who and we were there when Martin Luther King was killed - the gig that night was cancelled and we had the unique experience of the night time curfew. When Muhammad Ali came to fight Henry Cooper our publicist arranged for us to meet him - what an honour - he was charismatic and great fun and it's sad to see him so unwell. It certainly was an exciting time in the 60s and I was lucky enough to have played a part on all the hits. We were fortunate to have found a sound that has endured. Just being ourselves, playing because we loved it and never giving up, those are the ingredients that gave us a chance, but of course, you need some luck as well.
The Troggs originally formed in 1964 and were signed by Larry Page, manager of The Kinks, in 1965 to record on his Page One label. They were 'leased' to CBS for their debut single "Lost Girl". Their most famous hit was undoubtedly the iconic "Wild Thing", written by Chip Taylor, which reached No2 in the UK and No1 in the USA in July 1966. It was recorded in one complete take (take two) at Olympic Studios in London. A dispute over US distribution rights resulted in the song, and their first album of the same name, being released on two different labels, Fontana and Atco.
Other hits were to follow, including "With a Girl Like You" (No1 in the UK July 1966, US No29), "I Can't Control Myself" (No2 in the UK in September 1966, "Anyway That You Want Me" (No10 in the UK in December 1966), "Night of the Long Grass" (No17 in the UK in May 1967) and "Love Is All Around" (No5 in the UK in November 1967 and No7 in the USA in May 1968).
They split up in March 1969, reforming later that year with Tony Murray of Plastic Penny replacing Pete Staples on bass.
Pete Staples now has his own website Pete Staples - Musician and Songwriter and explains:
"The reason for setting up this site is twofold, Firstly, to tell you about the bands and artists I have played with over the years and secondly, to let people hear some of my songs. Another reason is quite poignant as just before Christmas 2011 I suffered TGA (Transient Global Amensia). My wife rushed me to hospital at 1.30am where it was decided I would stay for tests. On arriving home at 3.30am she wandered into my office/recording studio and thought, "What will I do with all his songs?" Hence, when I recovered, she insisted I should get them all online. I hope you enjoy my story, photos and songs and the tracks of Karen-Ana, who has one of the loveliest voices I have ever heard.
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