In 1991, Anthony Field founded The Wiggles.
According to New Idea, Field dedicated The Wiggles’ first album to his niece Bernadette. She’d tragically died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1988. At the time, he was touring with his original band ‘The Cockroaches’.
The Wiggles formed
Field was studying Early Childhood Education in the late 1980’s when he met Murray Cook.
Field, Greg Page and Jeff Fatt met through music. Fatt played keyboard for the ‘Cockroaches’ and Greg Page was their roadie.
In 1991, initiated by Field, ‘The Wiggles’ released their first self – titled album. Field dedicated it to his niece Bernadette.
Field also came up with the band name, after a song he’d written.
Their first song was Get Ready to Wiggle.
The Wiggles sold 100,000 copies, despite scepticism. Cook, Fatt, Page and Field had to produce the album themselves. No one would agree to invest in them.
Due to The Wiggles’ success, things started to turn. The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), printed and distributed the album.
The Wiggles explode
By the late 1990’s, The Wiggles’ career exploded. Everyone wanted a piece of them!
In the mid/ late 1990’s (1996- 1997), the Wiggles started their own TV show. It was featured on the ABC. The 13 – part – series was eventually bought by Channel 7 and Disney Australia.
‘The Wiggles’ gained international attention. They performed in Disneyland in 1998.
Amazingly, The Wiggles’ songs also reached non – English speaking audiences. Their songs were performed in Cantonese and Spanish.
Unfortunately, by mid 2000’s the original Wiggles started to disband. In 2006, Greg Page left the band after being diagnosed with a chronic illness.
Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt left The Wiggles in 2012.
Cook has revealed to New Idea that he got very tired of touring:
We toured constantly for ten months of the year for 21 years! I think I was just tired of that part of it. Sometimes, in the middle of a tour, I’d wake up, not having slept much, thinking. ‘Do I have to get up?’. It was quite tiring. There’d be times when you’d be counting the days until the tour was over.
The original characters
If you know The Wiggles, you know about their beloved characters.
Since 1991, ‘The Wiggles’ have featured four main characters. They are: Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword.
Dorothy the Dinosaur
Dorothy is a beloved green, yellow spotted dinosaur. Opera singer, Carolyn Ferrie voiced the character. She started playing Dorothy when she started going out with Anthony.
According to Wiggles Fandom, Ferrie voiced Dorothy from 1996 – 2001, 2005 – 2009, and 2010 – 2018.
Corrine O’Rafferty has played Dorothy since 2017.
Henry the Octopus
Jeff Fatt came up with Henry the Octopus. He played Henry at first. Then, Paul Paddick took over the role.
Wags the Dog
Anthony Field originally played Wags the Dog. Paul Paddick ended up playing the lovable dog.
Captain Feathersword has been a Field family affair. He’s been played by both of Anthony’s brothers, John and Paul.
Captain Feathersword added humour by tickling The Wiggles cast with his feather sword.