"The Wiggles" are a famous children's band from Australia that formed in the year 1991, a time when founder, Anthony Field, "had the idea to make a children's album". The original line-up was Anthony Field, Murray Cook, Greg Page, Jeff Fatt and Phillip Wilcher, the last of whom left the group soon after the release of their first album. In 2006, Greg as forced to leave the group due to an illness called Orthostatic intolerance and as replaced by his long-time understudy Sam Moran, for about half a decade until Greg came back in 2012. A year later, Murray, Jeff, and Greg, were replaced by Simon Pryce, Emma Watkins and Lachy Gillespie respectively, with Anthony currently being the only original member still in the group.
Before The Wiggles
Originally, Field and Fatt were in the pop 80's band called The Cockroaches. One day, Anthony Field dropped off his sister to Macquarie University and decided it looked good, so he could sign up as well. He talked to Greg Page, who was currently a roadie for The Cockroaches and convinced him to come and have a look too. This is where they met Murray Cook and Phillip Wilcher. They studied Early Childhood Teaching.
Starting The Wiggles
One day, Anthony had the idea to record an album of children's music, so the four guys, and a man called Phillip Wilcher, recorded and released the album in 1991.
Phillip Wilcher was employed by Macquarie University as an assistant to the Early Childhood Music program in which Field had enrolled as a student. Wilcher had previously been employed as Assistant Editor for the Classical/Educational Division of the Sydney based music publishing house of J Albert and Sons Pty Ltd as well as having worked for the ABC. Field first approached Wilcher requesting he write for the debut abum. Wilcher also contributed the most financially to the project. The album as to afford the Wiggles a contract ith the ABC for to further recordings but Wilcher soon found himself dumped by Field after the debut album appeared.
Wilcher states he had a verbal agreement to write for subsequent albums and whilst a document was drawn up for Phillip Wilcher agreeing that he would just stay behind the scenes as a writer and not be classified as a performer it was never officially acted upon. Wilcher did however appear in the film clip for Dorothy the Dinsosaur at the request of Anthony Field some months after initially leaving the group as a performer. According to Greg Page's autobiogrpahy, it would seem none of the other members of the group knew he had been asked back to be in the clip. In May 1992 went to the US to perform at celebrations honouring the legendary showman/pianist Liberace, whose family and friends Wilcher knew well, and when he came back to Australia he could not get in any contact with Anthony Field or any other of The Wiggles. Eventually, he was told that the album was recorded without him and he was no longer needed. Wilcher was in the States no longer than three weeks. Greg Page states in his book "Now and Then" that they had a three week deadline by which to record the second album "Here Comes A Song" , a deadline Wilcher was apparently unaware of and one which coincides with the exact dates he was performing in the States.Although he had already written nearly the whole album by himself, he later released a children's album of sheet music independently involving those songs which has received favourbale critical acclaim from several early childhood music experts.
The Wiggles' first character was Mischief the Monkey which was based on one of Wilcher's songs on the debut album, but he soon got cancelled out of the show. They have involved other characters into their shows such as Captain Feathersword, Dorothy The Dinosaur, Henry The Octopus and Wags The Dog. There have been other minor characters such as Zardo Zap, Officer Beaples and Professor Singalotta Songa. The Wiggles have a group of backup dancers called The Wiggly Dancers which have changed throughout the past 10 years. They tour with them and appear on the CD's, DVDs and television programs.
Two interesing articles have appeared in recent years about Wilcher's involvement with the Wiggles : "A Life Less Wiggly" by Steve Dow and "Becoming A Top Pre School Band was No Child's Play For Wiggles" by journalist Nick March writing for Abu Dhabi's The National.
Touring Around The World
The Wiggles have released close to fifty albums and video's and toured relentlessly, not just in Australia, but in the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia and many other places. They have one numerous amounts of awards and have been named the most successful children's act of all time.
The Wiggles' Generations
The original five members of the group, before they wore colored skivvies.
1992 - 2006, 2012
The Wiggles once Phillip left. This is the era many people think about when The Wiggles are mentioned, as it lasted the longest (so far), and is when most of what we know about them today came about (outfits, logo, characters, etc.)
- Murray Cook (Red Wiggle)
- Jeff Fatt (Violet Wiggle)
- Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle)
- Greg Page (Yellow Wiggle)
2006 - 2012
The group as it was when Greg retired from the band so he could recover from Orthostatic Intolerance.
- Murray Cook (Red Wiggle)
- Jeff Fatt (Violet Wiggle)
- Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle)
- Sam Moran (New Yellow Wiggle)
2013 - present
This is the current Wiggles generation, after Murray, Jeff, and Greg all left.
- Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle)
- Lachy Gillespie (New Purple Wiggle)
- Simon Pryce (New Red Wiggle)
- Emma Watkins (New Yellow Wiggle)
- main article: The Wiggles Logo
The first Wiggles logo was just "The Wiggles" typed out in a specific font, and it was used from their first album until late 1996. By this time, the logo was redesigned with wiggly letters out of colours and with a yellow background (pictured), which is still used today.
The word 'The' is colored red, the 'i' 's tittle (dot above lowercase letter) is green, the 'L' is purple and leaving the other letters blue. However, in Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas the I is purple on the title screen.
Here is a timeline of The Wiggles' history: 1991 - Present
- 1991 - The formation of The Wiggles; their first album is recorded and released. Dorothy the Dinosaur makes her debut.
- 1992 - The group's second album Here Comes A Song was released. The Wiggles adopt color-coded shirts (Anthony wears a green shirt at this point but also wears blue). Henry the Octopus makes his debut.
- 1993 - The very first Wiggles video Wiggle Time was released. Captain Feathersword makes his debut.
- 1994 - The album/video "Yummy Yummy" was released.
- 1995 - The album/video Big Red Car is released. Wags the Dog makes his debut. The pilot episode premieres on television.
- 1996 - The album/video Wake Up Jeff! was released.
- 1997 - The motion picture The Wiggles Movie is released. The Big Red Car evolves into a full-size electric golf-buggy type model; it was originally a cardboard cutout. The Wiggles got their trademark. The videos Wiggledance! and Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas were released. The Wiggles started filming for televison.
- 1998 - The album/video Toot Toot! is released. The Wiggles go to Disneyland to do a concert and have an adventure, so they did a special show of it on Disney Channel Australia. Mister Moose's Fun Time introduces The Wiggles to America. The Wiggles were introduced to the television for TV Series 1.
- 1999 - The second TV series was aired. The video The Wiggly Big Show was released. TV Series 2 premiered.
- 2000 - The album/video It's a Wiggly, Wiggly World was released.
- 2001 - The 10th anniversary of The Wiggles. The album/video' Yule Be Wiggling and Hoop-Dee-Doo: It's a Wiggly Party were released.
- 2002 - The album/video's Wiggly Safari and Wiggle Bay were released. The Wiggles appear on Playhouse Disney for the first time. TV Series 3 premiered
- 2003 - The album/video Space Dancing was released. TV Series 3 continued.
- 2004 - The album/video's Top of the Tots, Cold Spaghetti Western and Santa's Rockin'! were released. TV Series 4 premiered.
- 2005 - The album/video's Live Hot Potatoes! and Sailing Around the World were released. The first year where the US and AUS versions of DVDs were released in the same year.
- 2006 - The album/video Racing to the Rainbow was released. TV Series 5 premiered. Greg Page leaves the group due to poor health. He is replaced by his long-time understudy Sam Moran.
- 2007 - Sam's first video was released. The album/video's Getting Strong! and Pop Go The Wiggles were released.
- 2008 - The album/video's Sing a Song of Wiggles and You Make Me Feel Like Dancing were released. TV Series 6 premiered.
- 2009 - The album/video's The Wiggles' Big Big Show!, Hot Poppin' Popcorn and The Wiggles Go Bananas! were released. They also aired on PBS Kids Sprout for the first time.
- 2010 - The album/video's Let's Eat! and Dorothy's Rockin' Christmas were released.
- 2011 - The 20th anniversary of The Wiggles. The album/video's Ukulele Baby, The Wiggles' Big Birthday!, Dorothy the Dinosaur's Travelling Show and It's Always Christmas With You were released.
- 2012 - Greg Page is back as the yellow Wiggle. "Surfer Jeff" video/album was released.
- 2013 - Greg, Murray and Jeff retire, Anthony stays, Emma, Simon and Lachy join as the new Wiggles. TV Series 7 premiered. The video/albums "Taking Off!", "Furry Tales", "Pumpkin Face", and "Go Santa Go!" are released.
- 2014 - "Apples and Bananas", "Hot Potatoes!", and "Wiggle House" are released. TV Series 8 premieres.
- 2015 -
Phillip WilcherIn 1991, Wilcher worked with the early childhood music program at Macquarie University. Anton Field, a childhood development student, approached him about a music group Field was contemplating. Wilcher joined Greg Page, Jeff Fatt, Murray Cook, and Field from its earliest days through the production of the CD The Wiggles. Wilcher claims to have "contributed the most musically to the debut album."
In 1992, Wilcher travelled to the United States. When he returned he was informed that the group did not need him, and that a second album had been taped while he was overseas. Wilcher says he has no idea as to why he was kicked out of the group. The Wiggles, however, dispute this account. Dianna O'Neill, the group's spokeswoman, states that Wilcher wrote a letter of resignation. "There is no story. There was no fight, no fallout. Wilcher was just not so much into children's music, he was more into classical music."
Over the years, Wilcher's involvement with the group has been essentially deleted. The debut CD has been re-recorded, renamed Wiggle Time and re-released with all of Wilcher's contributions canceled. Wilcher indicates that he was too "reclusive" to be a Wiggle.
The Wiggles TV Series
main article: The Wiggles (TV Series)
The Wiggles started a TV series in 1998, and it has been going on ever since, with occasional long breaks inbetween each series.
Each TV Series has a name:
- TV Series 1 - "The Wiggles" (1998, commonly reffered to as "Let's Wiggle" among fans)
- TV Series 2 - "The Wiggles" (1999, commonly reffered to as "Wiggles' World" among fans)
- TV Series 3 - "Lights, Camera, Action Wiggles!" (2002, also known as "Network Wiggles")
- TV Series 4/5 - "The Wiggles Show" (2005-2006)
- TV Series 6 - "Wiggle and Learn" (2008)
- TV Series 7/8 - "Ready, Steady, Wiggle!" (2013-present)