Are The Wiggles The Most Prolific Touring Band Of All Time?
Forming in Sydney 1991, iconic children entertainers The Wiggles have this month wrapped up their final tour after this May’s announcement that three of its four original members announcing their departure.
Given the band’s incredible international reach and notoriety, it’s hard to imagine anyone else mashing the potato or waking up Jeff quite the way they have.
Yet after 21 years, the band’s endless touring schedule has evidently become too much for the middle-aged child heroes – their split influenced by them needing time to spend with their own families and children.
In an interview with Canadian Newspaper Ottawa Citizen, yellow Wiggle and founding member Greg Page relates his band’s schedule to that of music legends before him. “If you look at the last 21 years of the Wiggles, we’ve done over 7,000 shows. I think the Rolling Stones have done only – just on 1,000 shows in 21 years. People don’t necessarily realise the amount of time that is spent away from home for these guys.”
With more shows than The Rolling Stones under their belt, it becomes clear how the exhausting touring schedule took a toll on Page, even if it didn’t have the same glorious excesses you might find on a rock band’s typical rider.
The yellow Wiggle further described the intensity of being part of the world’s most popular children’s entertainers, “we’ve been touring for 21 years, it’s not like the Rolling Stones or U2, where they embark on a world tour for 12 months, then have three years off then go back to do another tour. The Wiggles have literally been touring 21 years straight – it’s quite phenomenal, really.”
By comparison, The Rolling Stones’ previous Australian visit was a part of their hugely successful A Bigger Bang tour, a global trot that became the second highest earning tour of all time, earning over $US 550 million (second only to U2′s 360 Tour).
Driving the 21-year touring stretch, the success of the Wiggles industry has certainly kept them busy, accumulating a staggering 30 million combined sales in CDs and DVDs since their formation in 1991. As well as scoring 17 gold, 12 platinum, three double-platinum and ten multi-platinum awards which according to the three departing members, “has meant we’ve had to spend a lot of time away from our own families and friends,” says Cook in their video statement about the band breaking up. “We miss them and Jeff, Greg and I have decided it’s time to spend some more time at home.”
Enjoying universal approval Sydney’s four original members Anthony Field, Murray Cook, Greg Page and Jeff Fatt continued to tour their prolific children’s show for a consistent 15 years before a lineup change was introduced in 2006 to address Page’s mental health. With his 2012 return also came the announcement of the final departure with Fatt, Cook, and Page all announcing their future absence, to be replaced by a new generation of Wiggles.
The bands iconic red, yellow and purple skivvies have already found new members to fill them, including what will be the group’s first female member in Emma Watkins, along with Lachlan Gillespie and Simon Pryce; and “all three new Wiggles have been working with the existing Wiggles for some time in various roles onstage and in productions,” says Page.
He also stressed that “I think it’s really important that it’s not seen to be that they’re replacing the Wiggles who are leaving. They’re new Wiggles with different personalities and different characters.”
The three original Wiggles now have endless tour dates behind them, and these particular child entertainers have experienced their creation to it’s fullest and will now no doubt be looking forward to spending some quality time with the family off the road.