ReWiggled

ReWiggled

For more than 30 years, Aussie group The Wiggles have been entertaining and educating kids with their fun music and live shows. The colourful band has been a mainstay of children’s entertainment, but now they’re entertaining an older audience, too. The group made their mark on a very different demographic when they they covered Tame Impala’s “Elephant” for Australian radio station triple j’s covers segment, Like a Version, in 2021—and it was so popular that it went on to win the station’s annual Hottest 100 countdown. And here, on ReWiggled, they’re taking their newfound status as indie heroes even further. “We had so much fun stepping into the triple j studio and even more fun in the year that’s followed,” Lachy Gillespie, the Purple Wiggle, tells Apple Music. “After we performed ‘Elephant’ for Like a Version, so many fans—young and old—were requesting an album of covers, and that’s what sparked the idea for ReWiggled.” The first half of this double covers album features Wiggles tracks reimagined by Australian artists including The Chats, Stella Donnelly, and even ’90s indie-rockers Custard, while the second half features Wiggles interpretations of tracks by everyone from Rihanna and AC/DC to Queen, alongside a few contemporary local favorites (including their Tame Impala hit). For the many artists whose own upbringings were soundtracked by the group, undertaking these covers was both an honor and a challenge. Read on for comments from some of those involved in ReWiggled, along with insight from the group itself about their own covers. DZ Deathrays, “Hot Potato” “Putting together our version of ‘Hot Potato’ was immensely fun and made us realize how much of a punk song it already was.” —Shane Parsons Melbourne Ska Orchestra, “We’re All Fruit Salad!” “We’re a multicultural mix-up and fruity to boot, so it was an easy fit in any language. It was important that we captured the big-band sound while keeping the whole thing chugging and chunky. We had a small team from the woodwind, brass, and rhythm sections to check mixes, and it only took three days to get a consensus. Essentially we sped up the tempo, changed the key, and gave it our classic treatment. There’s a fine line when recording a ska big band to keep a sense of space and not let it get too cluttered. What we love about the new version is that we’re introducing a whole younger age group to the joy of ska.” —Nicky Bomba The Chats, “Can You (Point Your Fingers and Do the Twist?)” “We chose ‘Can You’ because I remember it as being my favorite Wiggles song from when I was a kid. It was definitely something that didn’t sound very far removed from what a Chats song would be.” —Eamon Sandwith San Cisco, “H.O.L.I.D.A.Y” “We all thought the track was already very San Cisco-esque, so it felt very natural to cover it. We tried it in the studio and the vibe really came together pretty quickly. When the song was first sent to me, I played it on my phone, walked over to the piano, played a C chord, and was surprised to find it was the first chord of the song. I started playing with a new chorus melody which sounded like a ’70s disco song, so we leaned in on the disco vibe it ended up with.” —Jordi Davieson Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, “Say the Dance, Do the Dance” “Most of us in the band are parents and have heard plenty of Wiggles tunes over the years. We loved the funky vibe, and our keyboardist Simon Mavin went hell for leather on the Hammond to bring the beat up a notch. We hope you can all have a dance, no matter what your age, to our version of this uplifting and fun-filled track.” —Emma Donovan Polish Club, “Apples and Bananas” “‘Apples and Bananas’ isn’t a song I knew from being a kid but one that I discovered when digging through the Wiggles discography. I found it so genuinely funny and weird that I didn’t realize it was teaching me about vowels until halfway through recording it in Wade [Keighran, producer]’s basement. The Wiggles’ recording has a little lead guitar part that sounds a bit Mediterranean, and inspired us to arrange the song in a more Zorba the Greek way, ending with a stupid punk bit just for kicks.” —John-Henry Pajak The Wiggles, “Pub Feed” (by The Chats) “This song was suggested by my daughter Lucia and I think it’s so much fun. The Chats are absolutely brilliant and they really capture the Aussie spirit. Their music reminds me of growing up as a kid in Western Sydney. They speak like I do and they’ve quickly become a favorite band of mine. Jeff is a big fan of the band too—so much so that he cut his hair to look just like Eamon. We all had an absolute ball recording this song and the video for it together.” —Anthony Field, Blue Wiggle The Wiggles, “Thunderstruck” (by AC/DC) “‘Thunderstruck’ is a genuinely amazing song. AC/DC’s original is so perfect and iconic that we didn’t want to even try to replicate that. We wanted to keep those incredible melodies but try playing it in a radically different way. The legendary Vanda & Young actually wrote a lot of their tunes on the piano, so we decided to try leading with piano on this one too. I have to shout out Johnny Pearce and Paul Paddick—they’re in fine vocal form on this track.” —Field The Wiggles, “She’s a Rainbow” (by The Rolling Stones) “I’ve been listening to The Rolling Stones since I was a kid. I’ve seen them perform countless times on tour, and I couldn’t think about doing this album without including a Stones song. The Wiggles are all about colors, so I thought this was a perfect choice. Our version has a real folk feel throughout it, but we wanted to keep the beautifully melodic orchestral sound too.” —Field The Wiggles, “Elephant” (by Tame Impala) “Covering ‘Elephant’ has been a truly special experience for us. When we first heard the track, it immediately seemed like a great fit. As we started rehearsing, I quickly realized I’d underestimated how complex the song is. The timing, phrasing, all of it was a big leap from our usual songs, which are typically played in 4/4 time. To put it simply, Kevin Parker is a genius. ‘Elephant’ coming in at No. 1 in the Hottest 100 was such a surprise and an honor, something we’re all incredibly humbled by.” —Gillespie The Wiggles, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (by Queen) “I first heard ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ as a child while at a friend’s place. We were racing remote control cars and I literally stopped in my tracks and listened to the song. I was mesmerized by it. I’d found a love for opera at a young age, and this song was like nothing I’d ever heard before with its epic sound, harmonies, and crazy mix of rock and opera. I saved up my pocket money, bought the album, and listened to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ every day for months. We decided not to recreate Queen’s version, but to find our own way of doing it musically and vocally. We used different instrumentation and I tried to make the vocals playful, using my whole vocal range—which was a stretch. Freddie really was one of a kind. I feel like we managed to ‘ReWiggle’ it in a way that pays tribute to the original while giving it our own touch.” —Simon Pryce, Red Wiggle

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Disc 2

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