Anthony Field, Lachlan Gillespie, Simon Pryce, and Tsehay Hawkins make up the current lineup of The Wiggles, an Australian children’s music group founded in Sydney in 1991. Field, Murray Cook, Jeff Fatt, Greg Page, and Phillip Wilcher founded The Wiggles in 1991. In addition, find out about Australia’s popular tv shows of the1980s here.
After the release of their debut album, Wilcher left the group. Sam Moran took over when Page retired in 2006 due to health issues; however, Moran later replaced Page when Page came back in 2012. Cook, Fatt, and Page retired at the end of 2012 and were replaced by Gillespie, Pryce, and Emma Watkins. Cook and Fatt kept their shares in the company, and the three of them continued to contribute to its creative and production processes. In 2021, Watkins left the group, and Hawkins took her place.
Cook was a part of several bands before meeting Field and Page at Macquarie University, where they were both pursuing degrees in early childhood education. Field and Fatt were members of the Australian pop group The Cockroaches in the 1980s. Field enlisted Cook, Page, and Fatt to help him in 1991 when he was motivated to write an album of children’s music based on early childhood education principles. When they started touring to support the album, they were so successful that they left their teaching positions to pursue music full-time. Along with the human character Captain Feathersword, who has been played by Paul Paddick since 1993, the group also added the costumed characters, Dorothy, the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, and Wags the Dog to their act.
Later, Shirley Shawn, the Unicorn made her debut. They began their journey with a small troupe of dancers, which eventually grew to include more performers. Since the group’s inception, its DVDs, CDs, and television shows have all been independently produced. After they entered the American market in the early 2000s, they reached their zenith.
In 2005, the group underwent formal consolidation. They made A$45 million in 2009 and were listed as the highest-paid Australian entertainers by Business Review Weekly four years in a row. The Wiggles were affected by the global recession in 2011, just as it had been for many other Australian entertainers. Despite earning $28 million that year, they came in second on BRW’s list. Throughout their history, The Wiggles have received almost universal acclaim, and pre-schools all over the world have played their music. They have sold 23 million DVDs and 7 million CDs, as well as performing for an average of 1 million people annually. They have also earned numerous Gold, Platinum, and Double Platinum records.
The Wiggles’ Early Career
Jeremy Fabinyi, formerly of the Cockroaches, took over as the band’s first manager. He negotiated with the ABC to assist them in promoting their debut recording using their prior relationships. 100,000 copies of the album, which cost around $4000 to produce, were sold in 1991. They could only perform during school breaks because Anthony Field, Cook, and Page all got teaching jobs while Page finished his degree; finding time to do this, according to Field, was difficult. Fabinyi advised them to tour through Sydney and New South Wales in unusual locations.
At a friend’s daycare center in Randwick, New South Wales, The Wiggles gave their first performance for about a dozen kids. They busked at Circular Quay, performed for large crowds at shopping malls like Sydney’s Westfield, and smaller pre-school events and parties before moving on to regional tours and performances for playgroup associations, with an average audience size of about 300 people. Local playgroups or nursing mothers’ organizations, with whom they shared revenue, promoted them. With other ABC children’s performers, they performed at pre-schools; when 500 people showed up to these concerts just to see the Wiggles, they began performing their shows; according to Field, audiences began showing up in astounding numbers.
The Wiggles started wearing costumes on stage after Fabinyi suggested it and after the Cockroaches had done so after the recording of their second album. They also adopted color-coded shirts: Page in yellow, Cook in red, Fatt in purple, and Field in blue. Additionally, the color of their shirts made it simpler for their young audience to recognize them.
Success in Australia and Abroad for the Wiggles
The Wiggles kept up a rigorous schedule of touring and recording throughout the rest of the 1990s. They made a few albums and home videos, distributed them widely, and, thanks to word-of-mouth from their fans, performed in front of progressively larger crowds in Australia and New Zealand, even though they had to re-introduce themselves to a new generation of kids about every three years. Each year, they released a brand-new album and music video, and they promoted them on tour. They surpassed everyone’s expectations by the end of 1993 when hundreds of people attended their concerts; by 1995, they had broken sales records for both music and video. Additionally, find out about Australia’s most popular tv shows of the 1990s here.
The Wiggles chose to keep their concerts straightforward and adhere to the same principles that were successful in Australia. They also employed many of the same promotion strategies in the US that they had used in Australia. Even when other acts canceled their tours, The Wiggles’ popularity grew in the US when they played there; this decision won them loyalty and respect.
Because of the Wiggles videos’ successful sales and strong pro-social message, Disney Channel in the US eventually started airing Wiggles video clips in between their shows in January 2002. Due to the clips’ success, Disney Channel added both Wiggles’ television series to their lineup in June of that year and began airing full episodes several times a day.
The Wiggles Today
After Field expressed a desire to include more diversity in the band, The Wiggles celebrated their 30th anniversary in January 2021 with a song titled “We’re All Fruit Salad!” that had lyrics focused on acceptance and unity and featured guest performers from various cultural backgrounds. To embrace gender and cultural diversity and more accurately represent modern society, the Wiggles welcomed four new supporting members in August 2021. In September 2022, they will make their debut on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine’s Australian edition.