Liverpool Hope University has awarded the first masters degree in its Beatles studies program.
I turned my collar up against the wind as I crossed the quad on my way to my Senior Seminar in Troggs Studies, an independent project I was doing on Ronnie Bond and Dave Wright, the two deceased Troggs. I was having trouble getting a handle on all the data I’d amassed. After all, The Troggs released 37 singles!
Granted, six of those were versions of “Wild Thing,” their monster #1 hit that became a garage rock standard, according to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the only encyclopedia we have here at Andover Rock & Roll College, which is cool. I can barely lift the Aa to Az volume of the set me mum bought at the grocers, one book a week. I kinda lost interest halfway through the one that went from “cabal” to “czar,” and mum stopped saving for me education and went back to playing the nags.
Personally, I don’t think six different versions of “Wild Thing” are too many. After all, first you’ve got to have the original. Then you’ve got to have what the boys called the “new” version. You’ve got the reggae version, and in 1989, you had–oddly enough–the ’89 version. I’ve been told there’s a polka version, and I spent a week combing through used record stores in Krackow looking for it, but turned up nothing.
There’s a Gregorian chant version that is pretty creepy, but it doesn’t have the power of the one first heard on the British telly show “Thank Your Lucky Stars” in 1966. If I wasn’t writing on the internet, I’d plug in a footnote right here, but it would probably end up lost in cyberspace.
I’m feeling pretty good about my decision to get a masters degree in Troggs Studies. A lot of blokes I know jumped into the Beatles Studies Program at Liverpool Hope University with both feet when it first opened up, and look where they are now. They face a tight job market, competing against each other for maybe eight open Beatles Studies professorships–non-tenure track, I might add–across the whole U.K.
Sure, there’s the California state college system, and goofball New England “liberal arts” schools, but the Index to Academic Articles currently lists 6,327 masters theses on “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” alone! I’m telling ya, mate, the odds aren’t good.
With The Troggs, on the other hand, you’ve got pretty much an open field. One of my chums did a monograph comparing the “Fontana” versus the “Atco” releases of “Wild Thing” in the states. While the “A” sides were the same (duh!), the “B” sides were totally different! With a ground-breaking discovery like that to put on his resume, he ended up being hired at a nice salary, full benefits except dental (this is England, after all) by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. And he can barely make change for a five pound note if you give him four pounds, tuppence, and six ounces!
Me, I’m banking on my research into the origins of the band’s name. A lot of people don’t know that they were originally called ”The Troglodytes.” That means “cave dwellers”! Here, let me source that properly and academically, just so you won’t think I’ve been goofing off in Troggs Studies. Strong, Martin C. (2002), The Great Rock Discography, 6th ed., Canongate.
There–just like a proper Oxford don, I am!
Mum would be proud, God rest her soul.