Phillip met ‘Blue Wiggle’ Anthony Field in 1990. He was working part-time as a music assistant at the Institute of Early Childhood in Sydney, where Anthony, Greg Page and Murray Cook were students. The pair started collaborating on a children’s album.
“I was the first person he asked,” he says, explaining that Jeff Fatt was later brought in to help with the sequencing of the recording.
When Phillip was let go the following year, the band relaunched themselves as a foursome in their colourful skivvies, going on to make millions of dollars in ticket sales and merchandise.
“I left well before any real touring began; before The Wiggles had really made any sort of name for themselves,” he confirms, explaining that he did two small pre-school concerts, before he started to feel “uncomfortable” performing with the group.
WATCH: The Wiggles reunite for over 18s pub gig
He was happy to take a step back from performing and touring, but understood he would remain as a creative force, composing songs for The Wiggles’ second album. He even returned at Anthony’s request to star in the ‘Dorothy the Dinosaur’ film clip. It wasn’t until he returned from that three-week break he discovered a second album had been recorded while he was away and his life as a Wiggle was over.
Phillip has no bitterness about what happened. But even now he seems confused at the way his contribution to the kids’ supergroup has faded, other than a passing mention on The Wiggles’ Wikipedia page, although he does say he is grateful to Greg for publicly acknowledging his contribution.
“After I read a chapter of Greg’s book [Now and Then] where he mentioned me, I wrote him and thanked him, that it meant a lot to me. He replied he was happy I liked what he had written, and my contributions to The Wiggles’ beginnings should not be forgotten. That was so nice!”
Today, Phillip admits he loves the air of mystery that has formed around him.
“Mysteries have longevity. I mean, once you have solved a mystery, it’s over, yes? I have actually been in company with people where the fifth Wiggle has come up in conversation and no-one knew it was me.”
Despite his dramatic departure, Phillip never looks back on what could have been if he stayed and shared in The Wiggles’ success and empire.
“I should say too, that all my dreams have come true,” he says. “I need for nothing, and I’m completely satisfied in that regard. Had I stayed with The Wiggles, I am not sure I would be able to say that.”
WATCH: Anthony Field's daughter joins the Wiggles on stage
It may be 31 years since he split with The Wiggles, but his contribution with songs like ‘Archie’s Theme’, ‘Mischief the Monkey’ and ‘Montezuma’, will never be forgotten to loyal fans, who reach out to Phillip on an almost daily basis on social media.
“They thank me for the part I played in their lives as children, and this touches my heart so deeply,” he says.
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