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The Wiggles Were Pressured to Disband a Decade Ago

When original members Murray Cook, Jeff Fatt, and Greg Page announced their retirement, there were fears it would mean the end for The Wiggles.

The Wiggles

The Wiggles are currently enjoying a huge career renaissance. They won triple j’s Hottest 100 last year; they’re making history with two Australian arena tours this year.

And they’re also, of course, the latest Rolling Stone AU/NZ cover stars, a belated mark of recognition for a group that’s been at the forefront of Australian music for decades.

It could all have been so different. A decade ago, original Wiggles Murray Cook, Jeff Fatt, and Greg Page announced their retirement from the lineup. Despite finding strong replacements in Lachlan Gillespie, Simon Pryce, and Emma Watkins, many feared it would be the end of The Wiggles, that the original magic couldn’t be recreated.

In their exclusive cover feature in the new Rolling Stone AU/NZ, which hit newsstands yesterday, Paul Field, who managed his brother Anthony’s group for more than two decades, discussed that intermediary period. “There was someone working with us who said, ‘Oh, it might be easier if you do go’,” he recalled, but he ultimately stood his ground.

“Even though the lineup evolves and changes, Anthony will eventually be the old guy with a cane in the theatre saying, ‘Okay, one more time’,” he said about his brother, also declaring Anthony as the secret sauce to The Wiggles’ success.

Elsewhere in the cover feature, it was revealed that triple j offered the group some incredible song choices for their iconic ‘Like A Version’ performance. While Anthony initially wanted to pick something “old school,” specifically mentioning artists like AC/DC and Jimmy Barnes, triple j wanted a more contemporary choice.

The Wiggles were given 12 modern song choices, including The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights”, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road”, and Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves”. Instead, they famously settled on mashing up their own “Fruit Salad” with Tame Impala’s “Elephant”, a masterstroke from Anthony.

If you want to read the full interview with The Wiggles, you can subscribe to Rolling Stone AU/NZ here. The September-November edition features unprecedented access to their recent Australia arena tour and to their Hot Potato Studios in Sydney, and also comes with a Wiggles-themed adult colouring book.