In 2021, triple j’s Hottest 100 had possibly its oddest but most popular winner ever when The Wiggles took out the coveted top spot.
They achieved the honour thanks to their incredible ‘Like A Version’ cover of Tame Impala’s ‘Elephant’, making it the first ‘Like A Version’ to reach number one on the Hottest 100 countdown.
The Wiggles covering Tame Impala was unexpected enough, but. it turns out triple j offered the beloved children’s music group a lot of other potential song choices that would undoubtedly have made for equally viral gold.
In their exclusive cover feature in the new issue of Rolling Stone AU/NZ, which hit newsstands today, the group recalled the fascinating process of putting together their Like A Version performance.
OG Blue Wiggle Anthony Field initially wanted to pick something “old school,” specifically mentioning AC/DC, Jimmy Barnes, and Mental As Anything, but triple j wanted a more contemporary choice.
It turns out The Wiggles were given 12 modern song choices. On the ‘could have been’ list were the following:
The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’
Sofi Tukker’s ‘Purple Hat’
Chemical Brothers’ ‘The Salmon Dance’
Amy Shark’s ‘I Said Hi’
Glass Animals’ ‘Heat Waves’
Rex Orange County’s ‘Loving Is Easy’
Flume and Vera Blue’s ‘Rushing Back’
Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’
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With Lil Nas X previously publicly stating his love of the group, The Wiggles covering the rapper’s ‘Old Town Road’ may have broken the internet.
“I went home to my daughter Lucia and showed her the list,” Field explained in the Rolling Stone AU/NZ interview. “And Lucia said, ‘Tame Impala’.” It was then Field himself that came up with the masterful idea of mixing ‘Fruit Salad’ and ‘Elephant’ (listen below).
“When I first listened to the song, I thought it sounded easy, but when you play it, it’s mad counts,” he added, referring to the time taken up by each beat. “We practised every day, from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon. And when I played it for Lucia she loved it, I was so relieved.”
The rest, as they say, is history, with The Wiggles’ novelty take on ‘Elephant’ catapulting them back into the zeitgeist. “You could never plan it, not in a million years,” was how Red Wiggle Simon Pryce viewed the surreal situation.
“Being asked to do ‘Like A Version’ was kind of weird for people at first, and maybe even us too. Which is probably the beauty of it.”
If you want to read the full interview with The Wiggles, you can subscribe to Rolling Stone AU/NZ here. The September-November edition features unprecedented access to their recent Australia arena tour and to their Hot Potato Studios in Sydney, and also comes with a Wiggles-themed adult colouring book.