Sunday, December 03, 2006

Goodbye to Greg Wiggle

The big news in the kids' music world right now is that Greg Page, aka "the yellow Wiggle", is retiring from The Wiggles due to health reasons. Here is a video with him explaining why he's retiring and passing the yellow shirt off to his replacement, Sam. Apparently, Greg has a rare heart condition where blood doesn't flow enough when he is active, which would certainly make it impossible to continue as a Wiggle, what with all of the singing and touring and, of course... wiggling.

After we watched that video with our 4 year-old daughter, Becca (a lifelong Wiggle fan), she said she wanted to draw a picture on the Paint program of Greg Wiggle with a Band-Aid over his heart. We'll send that picture on to him, along with our best wishes for his health and our thanks for all he's done with the group.

I've posted here before about how I feel about The Wiggles, but I would like to add a couple of thoughts that weren't mentioned in that article...

First of all, I've been thinking that one reason why some people might be so quick to dismiss The Wiggles is if they have only glimpsed some of their Disney channel shows. Disney tends to repeat the same few shows over and over. I don't think those shows are the best representation of what The Wiggles do to begin with, and especially not if you only see the same songs and segments all the time. But if you check out some of their stand-alone video releases and CDs, there really are many great songs of a wide variety represented. I don't that think anybody else... anybody else... has offered anything comparable to the body of quality music for the younger range of kids (1-5) as The Wiggles have. And as Devon from the Head, Shoulders, Knees and all that blog points out in this post, it's nice that The Wiggles unabashedly make music with just kids in mind.

Also, as I keep reading various articles about the current wave of kids' music emerging in such a big way, with virtually every one of them making some reference to The Wiggles in the sense that the new music coming out is so much cooler and better than theirs and being such a great alternative to them, I can't help but wonder... would there even be any kind of "kids' music explosion" if it weren't for The Wiggles and their huge success? They got millions of parents around the world buying kids' music CDs and videos, which I think had waned quite a bit since Raffi sort of faded away for a while there. Once somebody opens the door to something in the public consciousness, then the public is more aware of that thing in general, and I think that's one of the reasons why there is more attention on kids' music in general right now. I suspect that many others who are having success in the kids' genre now wouldn't have the same visibility if The Wiggles hadn't made such a big splash for the general idea of "kids' music".

And The Wiggles put the idea of creating new and original kids' music with a variety of sounds and styles on the map in a huge way.
Like it was when The Beatles became so big, I imagine that other artists wanted to get in on that action and do the same kind of thing once they saw how huge The Wiggles had become. The Beatles made the idea of being a musician fun and exciting for a whole new wave of up-and-coming musicians in the 60's, and I think The Wiggles have done the same thing for kids' musicians. And as it was in the wake of The Beatles, when we had so much other great music coming out after them, so it is with The Wiggles with a lot of other great kids' music being produced now. But The Beatles were always still very well respected for their huge contribution to their musical genre, and so should The Wiggles be respected for what they've done.

But often they're not respected at all... and worse yet, they're somehow made to seem like the embodiment of everything that good kids' music shouldn't be. What a crock that is. When I hear people in the kids' music industry dismissing or pooh-poohing The Wiggles, it reminds me of the maples in the great Rush parable "The Trees". Why on Earth other people producing kids' music or writing about kids' music would denigrate The Wiggles is really beyond me. They are incredibly talented songwriters, performers and musicians and have produced a huge body of work that kids really love.

Anyway, I'm really glad that Greg will likely be alright, and I wish him and The Wiggles the very best as they continue on.

1 comment:

Idaho Dad said...

Very well said!

I tried something the other night after the kids were asleep... I called up all our Wiggles songs on iTunes and hit shuffle, then worked on the computer while their music played. I found it to be quite easy to listen to them in the background because of the cheery, polished sound. Beyond being good kids' music, many of their songs are simply quite easy on the ears. Especially their instrumentals.