In December of 2020, Rolling Stone Australia released a special edition issue which looks at the 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time, paying tribute to the best and most impactful artists in Australian music history. While it would have been easy for the editors and writers of the publication to profess their love of the listed artists, the decision was instead made for those who found themselves inspired by these world-renowned names to share their own testimonials of why these artists deserve to make the list.
In celebration of the issue’s release in December, we’re counting down the full 50 artists and their accompanying testimonials in this ongoing online feature. If you want to get your hands on an physical copy of the magazine, be sure to subscribe now to experience the double-length edition featuring some of Australia’s best and brightest discussing the finest names in local music.
50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time – #21: The Wiggles (by KLP)
The “W” word. A band so iconic you don’t even have to say the name. Just one mention of the letter and you’ll find yourself singing along to “Hot Potato” or “Wake Up Jeff”. What started off in Sydney in 1991 with a $4,000 music video and shows to only 12 kids in the room is now a multi-million-dollar enterprise that can sell out Madison Square Garden 12 times over.
The Wiggles have survived and thrived through old and new members, spin-off shows and series’, and even a dash of skivvy swapping controversy. They are everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. But the main place they really have cemented themselves is in the minds of every child under five, including my own daughter Siena.
Just press play and her face lights up, she throws her hands in the air and runs around the room in a crazy Wiggle trance that no other music can possibly match (my own included). She doesn’t have a favourite yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Soon a trip to the shops will be impossible unless she’s wearing blue like Anthony or a yellow bow like Emma.
“It’s been 30 years, but that Big Red Car doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.”
The music is simple: minimal production and instruments, and the words are even simpler – “hot potato, hot potato” repeated many times! Their colours are iconic, their merch range is out of this world and they’ve even managed to make having a gardening dinosaur in your backyard a completely normal phenomenon. This foursome is so memorable that late at night, long after the kids have gone to bed (and a glass of wine has been poured), my partner and I will find ourselves humming “Rock-A-Bye Your Bear” quietly under our breath. It’s been 30 years, but that Big Red Car doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.