The Wiggles

The Wiggles
The Wiggles

The Wiggles in The Big Red Car, during a concert in Washington, D.C., 2007
Background information
Origin Sydney, Australia
Genres Children's music
Years active 1991–present
Labels ABC For Kids (Australia),
Razor & Tie and NCircle Entertainment (USA)
Website Official webpage
Murray Cook
Jeff Fatt
Anthony Field
Sam Moran
Past members
Greg Page
Phillip Wilcher

The Wiggles are a children's group formed in Sydney, Australia in 1991. Their original members were Anthony Field, Phillip Wilcher, Murray Cook, Greg Page, and Jeff Fatt.[1] Wilcher left the group after their first album. In 2006, Page was forced to retire from the group due to illness and was replaced by understudy Sam Moran.

Field and Fatt were members of the Australian pop band The Cockroaches in the 1980s, and Cook was a member of several bands before meeting Field and Page at Macquarie University, where they were studying to become pre-school teachers. A school project led to the recording of their first album and tour in 1991. As a result of their background, the group combines music and theories of child development in their videos, television programs, and live shows. Since their inception, other regular characters (Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, and Wags the Dog) and a troupe called "The Wiggly dancers" have toured with them and appeared in their CDs, DVDs, and television programs.

The group has franchised their concepts to other countries, developed Wiggles sections in amusement parks in Australia and the US, and won several recording industry awards. The Wiggles have been called "the world's biggest preschool band" and "your child's first rock band".[2] The group has achieved worldwide success with their children's albums, videos, television series, and concert appearances. The Wiggles were named Business Review Weekly's top-earning Australian entertainers for four years in a row and earned A$45 million in 2009.[3] They have earned 17 gold, 12 platinum, three double-platinum, and ten multi-platinum awards for sales of over 17 million DVDs and four million CDs.[4] By 2002, The Wiggles had become the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) most successful pre-school television program.



Anthony Field and Jeff Fatt were members of The Cockroaches, a Sydney pop band that toured Australia and recorded two albums of "60s inspired pop music"[5] during the 1980s.[6] In 1988, the infant daughter of Cockroaches band member Paul Field died of SIDS, and the group disbanded.[7] Anthony Field enrolled at Macquarie University in Sydney[6] to complete his degree in early childhood education, and later stated that his niece's death "ultimately led to the formation of [The] Wiggles".[7] Murray Cook was the guitarist in various pop bands, including Finger Guns[8] and Bang Shang a Lang, and had worked as a clerk at the Australian Taxation Office before enrolling at Macquarie.[9] Field, Cook, and Greg Page, who had been a roadie for The Cockroaches,[10] were among the half dozen men in a program with approximately 500 women.[6]

Cover art for The Wiggles' first album (1991), with original member Phillip Wilcher.

Motivated to utilise early educational concepts to create high-quality children's music, the classmates created a music project for their courses and produced their first album in 1991,[6] dedicated to Field's deceased niece.[7] Like a university assignment, they produced a folder of essays that explained the educational value of each song on the album.[11] They needed a keyboardist, so Field asked his old band mate, Fatt, for his assistance in what they thought would be a temporary project.[12] The group received songwriting help from John Field, Anthony's brother and former band mate, and from Phillip Wilcher, who was working with the early childhood music program at Macquarie.[1] After contributing to their first album, hosting the group's first recording sessions in his Sydney home, and appearing in a couple of the group's first videos,[1] Wilcher chose to leave the group to pursue a career in classical music.[13][note 1]

The group reworked a few Cockroaches tunes to better fit the genre of children's music; for example, according to Field, a Cockroaches song he wrote, "Mr. Wiggles Back in Town" became "Get Ready to Wiggle" and inspired the band's name because they thought that wiggling described the way children dance.[5][10] Field gave copies of their album to his young students to test out the effect of the group's music on children; one child's mother returned it the next day because her child would not stop listening to it.[14]

At first, The Wiggles filmed two music videos with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to promote their first album; they also decided to create a self-produced, forty-minute long video version of their album. Finances were limited, so there was no post-production editing of the video project. They used Field's nieces and nephews as additional cast, and hired the band's girlfriends to perform in character costumes. Cook's wife made their first costumes.[10] They used two cameras and visually checked the performance of each song; that way, according to Paul Field, it took them less time to complete a forty-minute video than it took other production companies to complete a three-minute music video.[11]

Early career

Using their connections with The Cockroaches, Field and Fatt's manager from their Cockroaches days arranged for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to distribute The Wiggles' album in Australia. The album cost approximately A$4,000 to produce and it sold 100,000 copies in 1991.[10] Field, Cook, and Page began their teaching careers,[15] but on their manager's advice, they toured in unusual settings throughout Sydney, New South Wales, and eastern Australia.[6][12] They could only perform during school holidays, so finding time to perform together was, as Field reported, "challenging".[10] Their debut performance was at a pre-school in Randwick. They busked at Circular Quay, performing for crowds disembarking from Manly Ferry, and toured in Westfield shopping centres. They performed at pre-schools, for audiences of 300 to 400 people,[10] and were promoted by local playgroups or nursing mothers' associations with whom they split their proceeds.[16] In 1993, Field, Cook, and Page, along with Fatt, decided to give up teaching for a year to focus on performing full-time to see if they could make a living out of it.[10][15]

The founding members of The Wiggles, 2004, during a visit to NASA; from left to right: Greg Page, Jeff Fatt, Murray Cook, and Anthony Field

As Fatt reported, "it was very much a cottage industry".[16] They served as their own roadies and travelled in Fatt's van, towing a trailer with borrowed equipment. Fatt did their bookkeeping on an old computer the first five to six years of the group's existence. They did their own merchandising, which consisted of selling albums, toys, and t-shirts out of a suitcase set up on the back of a trailer.[10] The group decided, based upon their previous experiences in the music industry, that they would finance everything themselves and keep the rights to every song, video, and album they produced.[11] John Field and Mike Conway, who later became The Wiggles' general manager, performed with them.[16] Their act was later augmented with supporting characters: the "friendly pirate" Captain Feathersword and the animal characters Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, and Wags the Dog. These characters were initially performed by the original members of The Wiggles: Field played Captain Feathersword and Wags; Cook played Dorothy; and Fatt played Henry.[17]

The Wiggles, called by their first names when they performed, adopted colour-coded shirts: Greg in yellow, Murray in red, Jeff in purple, and Anthony in blue. Anthony originally wore green but changed to avoid clashing with Dorothy the Dinosaur.[6] Additionally, each Wiggle developed a "schtick" based on their actual behaviours: Greg performed magic tricks; Murray played the guitar; Jeff fell asleep (as Sam Moran said, "Jeff really does fall asleep");[18] Anthony liked to eat. These behaviours evolved into caricatures, and served the same purpose as the uniforms in differentiating their characters and making them memorable to young children.[18]

Simple movements were developed by choreographer Leeanne Ashley to accompany each song.[6] One of these simple movements, their signature finger-wagging move, was created by Cook after seeing professional bowlers do it on television.[12] It became the group's policy to use this pose when being photographed with children. They insisted that touching children, no matter how innocently, was inappropriate. The use of the pose protected them from possible litigation; as Paul Paddick has explained, "There is no doubting where their hands are".[17] The group incorporated more dancing into their performances after the birth of Field's oldest daughter in 2004. "So [The] Wiggles have kind of become a bit more, dare I say, girly. Dorothy (the Dinosaur) does ballet now and we dance as well a lot more than we did", Field reported.[19] The group's performances were very energetic, and they intentionally made mistakes in their dance moves in order to identify more with their young audience.[2]

The Wiggles have always invited children with special needs and their families to pre-concert "meet and greet" sessions.[20] According to Fatt, many parents of these children have reported that The Wiggles' music has enhanced their lives, and that children with autism "respond to [The] Wiggles and nothing else".[21] Since 1995, The Wiggles have visited and performed for patients at the Sydney Children's Hospital every Christmas morning.[22] The group has always had a strict code of conduct based on zero tolerance of drug use, drinking, smoking, or bad language by any employee of their organisation.[16] They avoided any possibility of over-extending their brand by licensing products that correlated with their image, like endorsing healthy foods, and by remaining within the preschool and family markets.[10]

Success at home and abroad

Through the rest of the 1990s, The Wiggles maintained a busy recording and touring schedule, releasing multiple albums and home videos, and performing to increasingly large audiences in Australia and New Zealand as they re-introduced themselves to a new audience of children every three years.[23] At first, their popularity grew through, as Fatt reported, "word of mouth".[10] They produced a new album and video each year and toured to promote it. By 1995, they had set records for video and music sales. In 1997, Twentieth Century Fox produced a feature-length film, The Wiggles Movie, which became the fifth-highest grossing Australian film of 1998.[24]

In spite of their early success, Paul Field reported that The Wiggles were unable to produce a television program on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, where they felt they would receive the most exposure to the pre-school market.[11] They filmed a television pilot for the ABC, but as The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported in 2002, "the project never got off the ground due to irreconcilable artistic differences".[14] Also according to the SMH, the ABC told them that they could not communicate with children, and that the members of the group should "not speak, just sing". The ABC insisted that instead of what the SMH called their "trademark colourful skivvies and black trousers",[14] they wear shorts and caps. The Wiggles responded to this criticism by creating thirteen episodes of a self-produced television series, The Wiggles, which they funded from their tours and video sales.[10][14] They sold the program to Australia's Channel Seven, and then moved it to the ABC in 1998 and to the Disney Channel in 1999.[10][11][note 2] They continued their practice of featuring toddlers as performers in these early programs.[14]

The Wiggles stage, Oakland, California

In 1998, Disney arranged for the group to perform at Disneyland, where they were discovered by Lyrick Studios, the producers of Barney & Friends. Lyrick was reluctant to sponsor The Wiggles at first, thinking that the band members' Australian accents might not be acceptable to American audiences, but changed their minds when they tested The Wiggles' videos with American children. Lyrick began to distribute Wiggles videos in the US, advertised them in their other videos,[11] and hired the group to perform during the intermission of Barney Live stage shows in the US.[6]

As they had done in Australia, The Wiggles depended upon grass-roots efforts to promote themselves in the US. Some of their first appearances were at Blockbuster Video parking lots to small audiences—as Fatt said, "a dozen people".[10] The videos were distributed in boutique stores such as FAO Schwartz and Zany Brainy, and on-line. They performed at small venues such as church halls and 500 seat theatres in Brooklyn and New Jersey. When tickets to their shows sold out, they moved to larger arenas such as the Beacon Theatre and Madison Square Garden.[11]

The Wiggles' "strong connection" with the US was "forged in the shell-shocked weeks after the terrorist attacks on New York City in 2001,"[25] when the group performed there, even when other acts cancelled their tours. Paul Field reported that "New York has really embraced them. It was a kind of watershed".[25] The decision earned them respect and loyalty in the US.[25] According to Cook, the press proclaimed that they were braver than many Australian sports teams that had cancelled their appearances.[10] They performed 12 sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in 2003, and have appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the first time in 2001. In 2003, 1 November was declared "Wiggles Day" in New York City.[25] Initially, The Wiggles performed 520 shows per year all over the world.[note 3][23]

Strong sales of The Wiggles videos eventually caught the attention of the Disney Channel, who was impressed by their "strong pro-social message".[25] In January 2002, Disney began showing a Wiggles video clip between programs of its morning Playhouse Disney block. By June of that year, the popularity of these interstitials prompted the Disney Channel to add both seasons of "The Wiggles" to the Playhouse Disney program schedule, showing full episodes multiple times per day.[16][26] In 2002, The Wiggles filmed four seasons worth of shows exclusively with the ABC: "Lights, Camera, Action, Wiggles" aired on Channel 7 in 2003, "The Wiggles Show" in 2004 and 2005, and "Wiggle and Learn" in 2008.[note 2] The network called them "the most successful property that the ABC has represented in the pre-school genre".[14] Paul Field reported that a meeting at a New York licensing fair with Grahame Grassby, the ABC's acting director of enterprises, led to the ABC's "enthusiastic" agreement to produce The Wiggles' TV shows.[14]

Their success in music and television has led to extensive merchandising of Wiggles-branded books, toys, clothing, and other products for children by the Toronto-based toy company Spin Master since 2003. In 2005, the group franchised its concept to other countries.[16] They started in Taiwan, because as Cook stated, they thought the country "was a small enough place, in case it didn't work out".[10] The Taiwanese group was successful, so they branched out to Latin America, casting Spanish-speaking Australians. The Wiggles ceased to pursue additional franchising when they learned that viewers in other countries preferred the original versions of their songs and programs because they helped children learn English.[10]

In 2007, The Wiggles opened their own recording and film studios in Sydney, called "Hot Potato Studios". They were the first pre-school production company in Australia to shoot their videos and TV programs in high-definition.[11] The Wiggles became formally consolidated in 2005. The group's board of directors consisted of the original three members, Paul Field, who has been general manager of operations since the group was formed and their manager since the mid-1990s, and Mike Conway, who had worked for Ernst & Young in England and become their general manager in 2001.[10][16][27]

Greg Page retirement

In December 2005, lead singer and founding member Page, at age 33, underwent a double hernia operation. He withdrew from The Wiggles' US tour in June 2006 after suffering fainting spells, lethargy, nausea, and loss of balance. He returned to Australia, where doctors diagnosed his condition as orthostatic intolerance, a chronic but not life-threatening condition.[28] Page's final performance with The Wiggles was in Kingston, Rhode Island.[29]

On 30 November 2006, the Wiggles announced Page's retirement from the group. "I’ll miss being a part of The Wiggles very much, but this is the right decision because it will allow me to focus on managing my health", Page said in a taped message posted on the group's webpage.[28] Page was replaced by Sam Moran, who had served as an understudy for The Wiggles for five years and had already stood in for Page for 150 shows. Initially, The Wiggles struggled over their decision to replace Page, but they decided to continue as a group because they thought that was what their young audience would want.[29] They decided to be "honest" with their audience about Page's illness because it provided a "teachable moment" and an opportunity to demonstrate to young children that it was "part of life", as Fatt said.[21]

Sam Moran era

Sam Moran and wife Lyn at Australia Day 2009 Celebrations in Wagga Wagga.

Although Moran's transition as The Wiggles' lead singer was "smooth" for the young children of their audience, it was more difficult for their parents.[21] Moran reported that "most children understood".[10] Field reported that by 2011, due to the ever-changing nature of their audience, most of their young fans did not know Page, just as their older fans were unaware of Moran.[23] Cook reported that Moran did well as a Wiggle, and that the addition of Moran changed their sound, forced the group to rethink things, and made the band stronger.[2] Although Moran struggled with the spontaneity of The Wiggles' stage performances, Cook said, "We’ve never felt like we had to carry him or anything. He’s a smart guy. But it is a bit different, just having a different person on stage".[2] Moran's background in musical theatre was different from that of his band mates, so The Wiggles had to change the way they recorded their music.[2] At sound checks, their practice was to improvise, but Moran often did not know the songs the other three used at those times.[2] Cook reported that it took some time for Moran, but a year after Page's retirement stated, "We’re slowly educating each other".[2] Moran was featured in his first DVD and CD as a member of the group in early 2008, and a sixth season of The Wiggles' television series featuring Moran was filmed and began airing in Australia.[30]

In September 2005, Australia's largest theme park, Dreamworld in Queensland, opened a "Wiggles World" section, which included a Big Red Car ride and a full set for production purposes. The band received licensing rights and sign-off rights for every aspect of the section's operation. Staff at Dreamworld had to take a "Wiggles boot camp", to ensure they followed The Wiggles' code of conduct when dealing with children and their families.[31] Driven by the Dreamworld success, Six Flags opened its first "Wiggles World" section at their largest theme park at Jackson, New Jersey in April 2007, and planned to open 20 more at its parks across the U.S. in the next decade. The sections emphasised family involvement; they offered joint rides on which parents and children could equally participate.[20] In 2008, Six Flags announced their intentions to open parks with Wiggles World sections in Dubai and across the Arab world.[32]

At the end of 2007, The Wiggles donated their complete back catalogue of 27 master tapes to Australia's National Film and Sound Archive.[33] Also in 2007, The Wiggles organisation built a digital recording and television studio in Sydney called "Hot Potato Studios", for the purpose of creating their own DVDs and CDs.[27] In 2008, they began to offer downloads of Wiggles ringtones and songs, and streaming video on an on-demand website.[2] By April 2009, however, The Wiggles began charging for access to many previously free services on their website, but after fan complaints, the free message board was reinstated.[34] Also in 2008, The Wiggles made a deal with Volkswagen (VW) to help the company promote its automobiles. Road safety brochures were made available at Wiggles concerts and VW dealerships.[35]

In 2009, in order to, as Cook put it, "to try something else and to freshen up our brand a bit",[10] The Wiggles ended their long relationship with the Disney Channel when they entered into a five-year long partnership with the digital cable channel Sprout. They also aired previous episodes of their show on the channel, created and hosted a three-hour block of programming that aired in the mornings, and created online and on-demand content. Sprout called the partnership "Our biggest acquisition ...that Sprout has ever done".[36] Cook stated that the move was not "acrimonious", and although the group owed much of their early success to Disney, that it "was just business".[10] The first decade of the 21st century ended with The Wiggles expanding their brand by creating new shows, including The Dorothy the Dinosaur Show in countries where The Wiggles did not appear. They also produced Baby Antonio Circus in 2009, a three-minute show starring Field's oldest son.[10]

In December 2010, Cinemalive beamed a Wiggles concert live from Acer Arena into movie theatres all over Australia, for children and their families unable to attend their shows. The Wiggles celebrated their 20th anniversary with circus-themed shows and performances throughout the Australian outback in an actual circus tent.[23]


Aside from the four Wiggles, four secondary characters usually appear in their television series, videos, and live concerts. These characters were developed in the 1990s and were originally played by group members and by Anthony Field's brother Paul, the band's manager. They are now played by hired actors, occasionally touring without The Wiggles as "Dorothy the Dinosaur and Friends".[17] In 1998, Moran hosted this show before becoming Page's understudy.[37]

Dorothy the Dinosaur

Dorothy is a "rososaurus", a "yellow-spotted herbivorous green dinosaur with surprisingly scary teeth".[38] She lives in a pink and purple house with her own Rosy Orchestra and a rose garden in her backyard. She loves to eat roses and dance the ballet.[38] She enjoys serving guests rose-derived treats such as "rosy tea".[39] Dorothy was part of the band's early stage shows, and was originally played by Cook; she has been played by Leeanne Ashley and Lyn Moran.[37][40] South Australian Carolyn Ferrie, a trained opera singer and dancer, has provided her voice since 1997, when she worked with Anthony Field on an Irish music Wiggles CD.[41] Ferrie described Dorothy as "a dinosaur superstar ... very open, friendly, and warm. She is like a mother figure even though she is only meant to be five, and kids really respond to her ... She is calm and mothering but friendly as well. She's young and still playful but has got a motherly feeling to her".[41] Ferrie insisted that Dorothy "is number one after the boys including Captain Feathersword, in terms of who kids say they love".[41] Dorothy has a distinctive, trill-like, descending laugh created by Ferrie.[39][41]

In 2007, Dorothy began to star in her own television show in Australia.[41] The show had a distinct look and sound. Whereas The Wiggles' TV shows were "hyper-real and cartoonish" and had a pop sound, Dorothy's show was "really rich and beautiful looking" and based its sound on orchestral music.[27] Dorothy was the focus of her own touring production, which performed in smaller cities The Wiggles could no longer perform. The production, based upon the TV show, was written by Field, and Moran was the host of this show before he joined the band. Lyn Stuckey, who later married Moran, played Dorothy.[42][43]

Captain Feathersword

Captain Feathersword, "the friendly pirate", wears a hat, patch, and puffy shirt and wields a "feathery saber".[17][44] The Captain was created because The Wiggles understood that young children, especially boys, like pirates; they gave him a "feathersword" because they wanted him to be nonviolent.[5] Field originated the role, and Paul Paddick, whom Field called "just as funny offstage as on",[5] began playing him in 1993.[45] At first, Paddick's role was minor, but it eventually evolved, and he has been called "the Fifth Wiggle".[44] For many parents, his vocal impersonations were "the high point of the Wiggles stage show" and included singers Mick Jagger, Cher, Placido Domingo and James Hetfield.[17]

Henry the Octopus

Introduced in 1992, Henry the Octopus, who directs an underwater band, likes to sing and to breakdance with his eight legs.[38] The character was developed by Fatt, who originally served as Henry's voice, although Paddick took over the role in the mid-2000s.[46][note 4]

Wags the Dog

Wags is a tall, brown, furry dog with floppy ears and a happy face.[38] He "loves to sing and dance and kids bring 'bones' that the Wiggly dancers collect from the audience".[38] The last of the four characters to be introduced, Wags was originally played by Field.[17][note 5]

Minor characters

For their stage shows, The Wiggles used two 16-metre (52 ft) trucks, three tour buses, a cast of 13 dancers, and 10 permanent crew members.[16] The "Wiggly dancers" have always made up a major part of the Wiggles shows and TV programs and play many of the minor roles. Minor characters of note include The Cook (portrayed by Anthony Field's late father, John, and Crowded House late drummer Paul Hester),[47] Professor Singalottasonga, and Dapper Dave (both played by Moran),[48] and Officer Beaples and Fiona Fitbelly (both played by Leanne Halloran).[49]

Musical style

The Wiggles have written new music each year since their inception; they have tended to sequester themselves for a month each summer and write three albums' worth of original children's music based on simple concepts familiar to young children, and upon several genres of music and types of instruments. Most of their songs were short and started with the chorus because the group believed that it was necessary to provide young children with the topic of each song in its first few lines.[6] They wrote songs individually at first, but eventually wrote them as a group, often with John Field, trumpet player Dominic Lindsay, and Paddick.[50] John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, who appeared in a Wiggles video in 2002, was "very impressed" with their songwriting, especially with their drum sound.[6]

According to Field, the transition from writing music for an adult rock band to writing children's music was not a big one for The Wiggles. "The Wiggles music isn't all that far removed from what we did in The Cockroaches, just a different subject matter," Field stated. "The Cockroaches sing about girls and love and stuff like that; The Wiggles sing about hot potatoes and cold spaghetti."[51] For example, they approached a topic like eating as they would in a pre-school setting, including encouraging children to eat healthy foods.[11] Field also reported that because both The Wiggles and The Cockroaches were inspired by 60s pop music, the main difference between the groups was "just the lyrics".[5] The Wiggles' songs were influenced by nursery rhymes, folk music, and rock music that both children and their parents could enjoy.[18] Moran stated that The Wiggles wrote songs they liked and would listen to, and then made them "child-appropriate".[18]

Page reported, "First and foremost, we're entertainers".[51] The Wiggles captured the interest of children by first entertaining them, and then by presenting them with educational messages.[51] The group decided to write and perform children's music that was different than what had been done in the genre previously.[6] They were not tied to one style or genre of music and often experimented in the studio; while some of their recordings were orchestral, others had a more live feel. The group was aware that their songs were often children's first exposure to music.[2] Cook was conscious that he was probably the first guitarist children would see, and said, "I always think that if it inspires kids to play guitar later on that would be great. I think it would be really nice if in 15 years I read that somebody got into guitar playing because of [The] Wiggles".[50]

Educational theory

We have a license to be silly, and a lot of what we do is about joy.

—Murray Cook, 2010[10]

The concepts of early childhood development and how young children learn influenced The Wiggles' songwriting and simple choreography in their stage shows, videos, and television programs. They believed that young children were egocentric, so The Wiggles stared continually into the camera in their videos and TV shows. They explained every action because they believed that young children needed to be told what to expect in order to feel safe. Their stage shows were full of action and audience participation.[6] The group understood that challenging young children to engage in difficult tasks is more effective than simply telling them to do it.[11] From the group's inception, they decided to "operate from the premise that a young child has a short attention span, is curious about a limited number of objects and activities, loves having a job to do and is thrilled by mastering basic movements".[6]

The Wiggles have attempted to empower children from the group's inception. For example, before each performance, they greet their audience with "Hello everyone", instead of "Hello, boys and girls" because as Paul Field has explained, they feel the second greeting "unnecessarily separates children and has undertones of condescension".[11] Scholar Kathleen Warren, the group's former professor at Macquarie University, believed that the group empowered children by asking their audience to "Wake up Jeff" when Fatt pretended to fall asleep.[16][note 6] Warren stated that asking children to interrupt Fatt's slumber helped them build confidence and to feel more in control of their lives. Fatt was the only original member of The Wiggles without a background in early childhood education; he explained that was the reason falling asleep was chosen as his schtick, "because it was a way of getting me involved in the shows without actually having to do anything".[14] Paul Field reported that children in The Wiggles' audience felt "great excitement" and were disappointed if not given the opportunity to help Jeff in this way.[11]

Between 1999 and 2003, to test the group's appeal across cultures, Warren used one of The Wiggles' CDs as an educational tool in a village near Madang, on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. She found that the Madangese children were able to relate to the group's songs, and that they were able to sing along and to participate in their simple choreography.[16] Although The Wiggles' recorded and performed songs, dances, and musical styles from different cultures and languages,[11] The Wiggles did not find that adapting their music to non-Australian cultures was necessary to reach children in other countries.[25]


The Wiggles' songs are sung and played in pre-schools all around the world, which according to Paul Field, is the "equivalent of having the Stones cover one of your songs".[11] They were named Australia's richest entertainers by Business Review Weekly (BRW) for four years in a row (2004–2008), and earned A$45 million in 2009, when they were third on BRW's annual list.[3] By 2008, The Wiggles had earned seventeen gold, twelve platinum, three double-platinum, and ten multi-platinum awards for sales of over 17 million DVDs and four million CDs.[4] They performed for over 1.5 million children in the US between 2005 and 2008.[21] They have earned ADSDA's award for Highest Selling Children's Album four times.[4] In 2007, the group won two APRA awards: the International Achievement Award and the Most Performed Screen Composer - Overseas award.[52] They have been nominated for ARIA's Best Children's Album award fifteen times, and won the award nine times.[note 7] In 2003, they received ARIA's Outstanding Achievement Award "for their significant achievements in the industry from their early days as The Cockroaches to their current global success in children's entertainment".[53]

In 2003, when the group performed at Madison Square Garden, front-row tickets were sold for US$500,[25] in spite of The Wiggles' efforts to reduce scalping by limiting the number of seats sold per transaction.[54] In 2008, the group found themselves in the midst of what The Daily Telegraph called a "ticketing scandal";[54] scalpers tried to sell a A$19 ticket on eBay for almost A$2,000 and a set of three tickets for A$315 for concerts in Melbourne, and a group of three tickets to a Wiggles UNICEF charity concert in Sydney had a price tag of A$510. The tickets were taken off eBay and voided.[54]

In what Paul Field called "one of the highlights of their 15 years of being together",[55] The Wiggles were awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Australian Catholic University in 2006. Cook gave the commencement speech for the graduates.[55] They were awarded another honorary doctoral degree in 2009 from their alma mater, Macquarie University.[56]

The group was named UNICEF goodwill ambassadors in early 2008.[57] In 2010, the four original members of The Wiggles were appointed Members in the Order of Australia for their service to the arts in Australia, especially children's entertainment, and for their contributions and support of several charities. They called the honour their "biggest recognition yet".[58]

See also

External links


  1. ^ In 2003, Wilcher claimed that his involvement with The Wiggles had been "virtually erased"; in the late 90s, they re-recorded their first CD, renamed it, and removed all of Wilcher's compositions.
  2. ^ a b The Wiggles at Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  3. ^ By 2011, the group's 20th anniversary, they were performing 350—400 shows a year.
  4. ^ The physical Henry has been played by Reem Hanwell, Kristy Talbot, and Katherine Patrick, among others. Articles retrieved on 2008-05-24.
  5. ^ Wags has also been played by Edward Rooke, Andrew McCourt, Kristy Talbot, and Paddick. Articles retrieved on 2008-05-24.
  6. ^ Warren has been a consultant for The Wiggles since Field, Cook, and Page were her students at Macquarie University.
  7. ^ They won in 1995 for Big Red Car, in 1996 for Wake Up Jeff!, in 1998 for Toot Toot!, in 2005 for Live Hot Potatoes, in 2006 for Racing to the Rainbow, in 2007 for Pop Go The Wiggles, in 2008 for You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, in 2009 for Go Bananas!, in 2010 for Lets Eat![1]


  1. ^ a b c "A Life Less Wiggly". Sydney Morning Herald. 2003-02-24. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wright, Anders (2008-03-25). "Baby's First Rock Band". San Diego Citybeat. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
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