End Of An Era: Greg, Jeff And Murray Leave The Wiggles

the wiggles new membersIt’s the biggest break-up since the Beatles! The Wiggles as we know them are no more. Okay, so they’re not exactly The Beatles, but the children’s musical performers are among the world’s highest paid entertainers (we’re talking $25 million in earnings each year). And there is not a single family out there with preschool-aged children that hasn’t heard of The Wiggles (whether they like them or not is an entirely different story).

New broke today that three members of the Australian group are “retiring.” Jeff Fatt (the purple guy), Greg Page (yellow) and Murray Cook (red) are bidding farewell, while Anthony Field (blue) remains. He’ll be joined by a new lineup that includes the group’s first female member since it formed in 1991 20-year-old Emma Watkins, who ’til now was a backup dancer with the group (she’ll play yellow). Filling in the remaining two spots are “live team” members Lachlan Gillespie (purple) and Simon Pryce (red).

In a farewell video, Cook tells fans, “The touring and performing over the past 21 years has meant that we’ve spent a long time away from our own families and friends. We miss them and want to spend more time at home, which is a major reason why three of us decided it was time to hand our skivvies to a new generation.” Cook isn’t kidding: in 21 years, the group has sold 23 million DVDs and performed more than 4,000 live shows around the world. I don’t blame these guys for wanting a break.

Of course, there are countless preschoolers who will now mourn the break-up of what they consider to be the world’s greatest band (though kid are adaptable they’ll probably love the new troupe just as much). Parents, on the other hand, are rejoicing. Just kidding some adults truly are fans but I know that I personally would place The Wiggles smack dab between Barney and Yo Gabba Gabba on a scale of annoying children’s performers.

That said, my kids have grown up with The Wiggles, and we all know every word to every song as do my kids’ friends, teachers, swim instructors, t-ball coaches, camp counselors and pretty much any other human being that has every come into contact with a child under 5.

So, yeah, this is big news in the children’s entertainment industry. Those wishing to catch them live one last time can get tickets for the Celebration Tour, which takes place later this year in the UK, US, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand before its final round of dates in Australia.

(Photo: wiggles.wikia.com)

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