Gregory John Page, AM (born 16 January 1972) is an Australian musician and actor. He is best known as the original lead vocalist and a founding member of the children's band The Wiggles. Page has also recorded several solo albums.
While still a teenager, Page, whose nickname is "Pagey" was a roadie for and sang with the Australian band The Cockroaches during their final years. On bandmate Anthony Field's recommendation, he enrolled in Macquarie University to study Early Childhood Education. While students, Page, Field, and guitarist Murray Cook, along with former Cockroaches member and keyboardist Jeff Fatt, combined their music backgrounds and teaching skills to form The Wiggles. The youngest member of the group, Page was nineteen years old when he began touring with the group. Field described him as "the perfect straight man", with a "big friendly smile and easy stage manner" which made him engrossing for both children and adults. Also according to Field, Page "has an authoritative, though not overbearing, tone when he speaks to children and is a relaxed and clever emcee". When performing with The Wiggles, Page wore a yellow shirt. Like the other Wiggles, Page had a schtick, which was doing magic tricks.
His 2005 solo album, Taking Care of Country, reflects Page's interest in Elvis Presley's music. It was recorded with the TCB Band, Elvis' back-up band. In spring 2003, Page performed in Las Vegas with the TCB Band. In 2002, Page sang back-up with Australian Elvis impersonator Mick Gerace. His second album with the TCB Band, Let It Be Me, was released in 2012. Production of the album began in 2004, but was interrupted due to Page's medical issues.
Illness and retirement:
On 30 November 2006, The Wiggles announced that Greg Page would leave the group due to poor health.
Page had experienced health difficulties since December 2005, when he underwent a double hernia operation and withdrew from his group's U.S. tour after suffering repeated fainting spells, slurred speech, fatigue, and trembling. Although Page was missing for virtually all of the late 2006 U.S. tour, audiences were informed of Page's absence at concerts moments before the curtain went up. At first, Page was told that he had seven years to live, but he was diagnosed with a non-life-threatening and difficult to diagnose chronic illness called orthostatic intolerance or dysautonomia, which causes symptoms such as fatigue and loss of balance. Specialists believed that Page had mild episodes of the illness going back twelve years, and that his symptoms worsened after his hernias. It was decided that Page would retire from performing with The Wiggles to better manage his health. In the months following the announcement of Page's retirement, he received an "overwhelming outpouring of public support". He reported that it took his parents six months to respond to the "mountains of letters, emails and sympathy notes". As part owner of The Wiggles, Page received a payout of about $20 million for his share in the business. Page was succeeded by Sam Moran as a full member of the entertainment side of the group (although still an employee, rather than a partner, in its business side).
After their final tour of 2006 (their Christmas tour of USA, where Page mysteriously fell ill with OI), Page addressed the crowd:
For sometime now, I've been suffering from a condition, which I've recently found out is chronic. It's a condition called orthostatic intolerance, which basically means that when I stand up, my heart doesn't pump enough blood around my body. Now, it's not a life-threatening condition by any means, but it is one that'll live with me for the rest of my life, and it does mean that I will have to make some changes to my life, in order to manage it.
It means that I'll no longer be able to sing and dance the way that I want to, and as a result, I've decided to stop performing with the Wiggles.
Firstly, I want to thank everyone who gave me their messages of support in the times I've been unwell, and I also want to thank my family for standing by me through this very difficult time.
To everyone who's ever listened to or seen a Wiggles CD, DVD, or come to a Wiggles concert, a very big thank you.
It's provided me with some of my greatest memories, to see the children there dancing and singing along to the songs I love to sing so much, so a big thank you there.
I close in saying that I'll miss being part of the Wiggles very much, but this is the right decision because it will allow me to focus on managing my health. Thank you.
--Page, in his outgoing message to Wiggles fans, December 2006
By late 2009, Page had recovered enough from his illness to begin touring with another country rock band, but with a more limited schedule than The Wiggles. He had also started his own foundation, the Greg Page Fund, to raise funds and educate the public about orthostatic intolerance. In addition, he is a supporter of, and spokesperson for, the Dysautonomia Youth Network of America (DYNA).
Reunion with The Wiggles:
In January 2012, and amidst a great deal of controversy, The Wiggles announced that Page had regained his health and was returning to his role as the Yellow Wiggle. It was reported that he would return to full-time touring with the group in March of that year.
On 17 May 2012 it was announced that Page along with Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt, would again be retiring from The Wiggles at the end of the year. He was to be replaced by Wiggles cast member Emma Watkins, the first female member of The Wiggles. Page and the others expected to remain involved with the creative and production aspects of the group.
Shortly after leaving The Wiggles, Page joined the cast of the children's educational television program Butterscotch's Playground. Page helped develop the show with its creators.
Page was born in Sydney, New South Wales. He owned the fourth-largest collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia in the world. His collection included Elvis' personal and movie clothing, marriage certificate, guitar, piano, the last Cadillac owned by Elvis, and original TCB Band necklaces. In 2008 he decided to donate the collection, reportedly worth $1.5 million, to a new Elvis museum in Parkes, New South Wales. Some of the collection was lent for display at the 2008 Parkes Elvis Festival.
Page was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2010: "For service to the arts, particularly children's entertainment, and to the community as a benefactor and supporter of a range of charities". His nickname, according to Anthony Field, is "Pagey".
Greg Page (1998),
I Believe in Music (2002),
Greg Page Live in Concert (2003),
Throw Your Arms Around Me (2004),
Taking Care of Country (2005),
Let It Be Me (2012),
Page, Greg & Cadigan, Neil (2011). Now and then: the life-changing journey of the original Yellow Wiggle / Greg Page. Sydney: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0732289263 (paperback, 341pp.), ISBN 978-0730497295 (e-book, 352pp.)
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license