Thursday, April 18, 2024

Bits: “Wild Thing” Singer Passes, Sting Brings “Fields of Gold,” Campion is Champion


Reg Presley, 71, the man who made “Wild Thing”–you make my heart sing–famous–has died in the U.K. Presley was leader of the Troggs. Their hit “Wild Thing” is one of the great treasures of international pop music. The group had a couple of other hits including “Love is All Around,” which was covered more recently by Wet Wet Wet. But “Wild Thing” remains their one off monster, sort of like “96 Tears,” “Louie Louie,” or “Build Me Up Buttercup.” In the UK, the Troggs were huge, and even played at Sting and Trudie Styler‘s wedding, where everyone joined in on “Wild Thing.” Reg Presley will be missed…

Sting performed a moving rendition of “Fields of Gold” last week in Los Angeles at the memorial service for A&M Records’ beloved Gil Friesen. Gil worked with Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss to make A&M Records an independent power house in the 1970s and 80s, launching The Police, Sting, as well as Carole King, Cat Stevens, Billy Preston, the Carpenters, and my favorite A&M Single of all time, “Do You Know What I Mean” by Lee Michaels. A&M star Bryan Adams sang “Heaven,” Suzanne Vega performed a song she wrote for Gil, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall did a duet on “I’ll Remember You.” Other guests included Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers of The Police, Sting’s manager and Gil’s friend Kathy Schenker, manager Derek Power, artist Ed Ruscha, Tom Freston, Peter Morton, and Jann Wenner…Speakers included Friesen’s two sons, aged 7 and 57. (That isn’t a typo.)

…Jane Campion is a champion filmmaker. She’ll also head up the Cinefondation and Short Films jury at Cannes this year, it was announced this morning. The award winning director of “The Piano” and “Portrait of a Lady” is a terrific choice, and just the beginning of the announcements from Cannes…



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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