Happy 30th Birthday to The Wiggles!
This month we are celebrating a huge milestone for our favourite colour block characters… those darlings of children’s entertainment, The Wiggles! This year marks 30 years that the gang have been getting our kids up out of their seats to dance, sing, ‘Rock-a-bye Your Bear’ and ‘Do the Propellor’. Whether you prefer ‘Hot Potato’ or ‘Fruit Salad’ – you are bound to have at least a few of the staggering 1400+ songs on The Wiggles playlist in your repertoire or just in your brain 😊. The line-up may have evolved over the years, but what has never changed is the fun and joy that these Aussie made, worldwide favourites have used to engage generations of kids.
Originating in Sydney in 1991 – the initial Wiggly line-up was missing one very familiar face. Anthony Field! The first incarnation of the group was made up of Greg Page, Jeff Fatt, Murray Cook and Phillip Wilcher for their very first album. Never fear though, Anthony was still there… The Wiggles were, after all, his baby.
After the first album, Phillip left the group and the faces of the group become the one’s we remember to this day – Anthony (Blue Wiggle), Greg (Yellow Wiggle), Murray (Red Wiggle) and that sleepy old mate, Jeff (Purple Wiggle). They stayed this way from 1991-2006 while taking Australia by storm and eventually spreading their wings to take their wiggly fingers and catchy tunes to the rest of the world! The band performed in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the UK, and Ireland – but they really became super popular in the US and Canada with sell out shows, chart topping songs and regular gigs on TV and performances in huge national events.
In 2006, after years of gruelling touring and performing, Greg Page was forced to retire due to ill health and was replaced by the loveable Sam Moran. With his beautiful voice, Sam donned the Yellow skivvy for 6 years before Greg stepped back in, in January 2012. With the original band back together – Greg, Anthony, Murray and Jeff rocked on throughout 2012, touring, performing and filming before finishing the year with a celebratory ‘Farewell Tour’ that would see the stepping down of Greg, Murray and Jeff and the appointment of a new generation of Wiggles being handed their skivvy’s.
It was the news that made the front page of every major Australian newspaper – The Wiggles changing of the guard! With Anthony still at the helm, Simon Pryce looked great in red, Lachy Gillespie got comfy in purple and most notably, in a year that saw Australia with its first female Governor General, first female Prime Minister and the first female Governor of NSW – Emma Watkins made history to become the very first female Wiggles as the ‘bow-tiful’ Yellow Wiggle!
It has been said that the new line up of The Wiggles was perhaps harder for the parents to cope with than it was for the kids. As kids tend to do, they grow up and the band were very accustomed to reintroducing themselves to a new audience of pre-schoolers every 3 years. I have to admit – even I was a little unsure how I felt about the new line up at first. However, in true Wiggly fashion, they soon won over audiences young and old and have gone on to celebrate nearly a decade of going from strength to strength.
Over the years, they have not just been joined on stage by their friends Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Captain Feathersword and Henry the Octopus – they have had a plethora of celebrity guests on stage and screen, such as Steve Irwin, Leo Sayer, Kylie Minogue, Rolf Harris, Joey Fatone, Guy Sebastian, Bindi and Robert Irwin, David Campbell, Lou Diamond Phillips & Keith Urban.
During the last 30 Years – The Wiggles have spent 4 years running as the top earning Australian Entertainers in Business Review Weekly. They have performed for an average of 1 million people per year, sold over 23 million DVD’s and 7 million CD’s. Thanks to the digital age, the band has been streamed over 1 billion times and has over 2 billion views on You Tube, making it understandable why they are one of the most recognisable and most loved groups by kids and parents around the globe.