Before the wiggles… There was the Cockies!

Written by on 13 October 2020

Paul, John and Anthony Field formed The Cockroaches (aka The Cockies) in 1979 while the trio were at St. Joseph’s College in Sydney.

Rounding out the band was Tony Henry on Drums, Joseph Hallion on Saxophone, Paul Dunworth on Bass Guitar and the band was later joined by Bruce Hatfield who also played the bass guitar.

They recorded their first single in July 1980 titled “I Want a Leather Jacket” and it was a song written by Paul Field with recording carried out at St. Joseph’s and Studio B in Bondi.

“Bingo Bango” was their second single when it was released in June 1981, Bruce Hatfield and Paul Dunworth had both left the band by the end of 1981 and were replaced by Geoff O’Reagan but he was out by August that year to be replaced by Phil Robinson.

August 1981 was an important month in Australian music history as a man named Jeff Fatt joined as the band’s keyboardist, his joining led to a five decade partnership with the Field brothers but we’ll get to the importance of that partnership later on.

The first five singles from the band did not chart but the sixth one “See You in Spain” made it after its release in July 1984 as it peaked at No. 97 but their next two singles did not chart to give them a strike rate of one charting single from eight releases which would of killed the confidence of many artists and bands.

Saxophonist Joseph Hallion left the group in 1985 having joined the band back its founding year of 1979 and leaving the group with six members.

The band was then picked up by Regular Records with Festival Records covering distribution and their first single in this new partnership “Wait Up” hit No. 28 nationally and more success was to come.

“The Cockroaches” was the band’s debut album and it peaked at No. 9 with the single “She’s The One” peaking at No. 7 in April 1987 and follow up singles  “Some Kind of Girl” and “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)” both peaked at No. 32.

1988 saw their second album “Fingertips” released, Australia had two different charts so results were different as “Hey What Now!” had a peak of No. 32 on the Kent Music Report but ARIA gave it a peak of No. 28.

“You and Me” (No. 43/44), “Permanently Single” (No 87/99) and “Another Saturday Night” (No.90/83) all charted as their streak of charting singles continued.

Peter Mackie joined the group on bass guitar in 1988 but Anthony Field and Jeff Fatt left the group but though would return in 1991 and 1994.

The years 1986 to 1990 gave the band nine consecutive charting singles which is amazing considering that they only had one charting single from their first eight releases.

Their third album “Positive” was released in 1991 and the album did not chart though the single “Hope” (1990 release) did by reaching a peak of No. 126 but final singles “I Must Have Been Blind” and “Here Comes That Feeling”did not chart.

The Cockroaches released one more album “St. Patrick’s Day 10am” in March 1994 and that it was from the band aside from two compilation albums and reunions in January 2005 and June 2014 for a total of three shows as well as a performance on The Morning Show on October 25 2016.

But this isn’t the complete end of their story as Paul, John and Anthony Field as well as Jeff Fatt and the music of The Cockroaches all started to play a part in the story of The Wiggles but that’s another story that we will soon tell.

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