Three Wiggles Members Quit Band

17 May 2012 | 5:03 pm | Dan Condon

Three members of The Wiggles have quit the band in a shock announcement this afternoon.

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In a shock announcement this afternoon, three members of hugely successful Australian children's music group The Wiggles have announced their retirement from the group, following a national farewell tour at the year's end.

Jeff Fatt, Murray Cook and Greg Page announced at 4pm today that they would be leaving the group, who for the past 21 years have kept children all across the planet entertained with their kooky, child-friendly music and television spinoffs. One of the group's members Anthony Field will continue on with the group, with three fresh young faces joining him on the frontline.

"The Wiggles are here to stay," Field says in a video released this afternoon. "I'm gonna be keeping my blue skivvy and we'll be singing and dancing just like before."

One of the group's back up dancers, Emma Watkins, will be the group's first female member with new members Lachlan Gillespie and Simon Pryce rounding out the new line up. Notable by his absence was Sam Moran, who has just recently left the group following the return of Page, the Wiggle he replaced back in 2006.

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At the height of their powers, The Wiggles were the highest earners in the Australian entertainment industry  -Business Review Weekly announcing them as such for four years running - and they've sold over 23 million DVDs and seven million CDs since beginning in 1991, resulting in 17 gold, 12 platinum, three double-platinum and ten multi-platinum awards. In a video issued this afternoon the group acknowledge that they have played over 4000 shows in their time together and it is estimated that the group play to roughly one million people per year.

"This has meant we've had to spend a lot of time away from our own families and friends," Cook says. "We miss them and Jeff, Greg and I have decided it's time to spend some more time at home."

It is believed the three departing members will continue to work with the group, however, taking on writing tasks behind the scenes.

"Greg, Murray and Jeff will still be here at Wiggles headquarters helping create new songs, new dances and new experiences for you to enjoy," Field says.

In an interview with Street Press Australia on the eve of their induction into the ARIA Hall Of Fame last year, Fatt told Michael Smith there was still a thrill in writing Wiggles material.

“It's also part of reinventing yourself and making it fresh and new for the public and interesting for ourselves, finding different themes and musical styles. With each album, it's great to have a theme so it's a case of deciding on a theme and then working the songs around that. I guess there's no end of subjects and the challenge is to make it fun and interesting for them. Luckily we're not stuck with any one style; we can choose any number of musical styles available, from classical to pop to rock to South American styles. We're sort of blessed in that sense.”

The band's final Australian shows will take place in November and December of this year, with dates to be announced in August.

See a video statement issued by the band below: