The Wiggles took the top spot on the Triple J Hottest 100 with their cover of Tame Impala’s 2012 song Elephant.
The children’s performers had a viral hit in March when they transformed the track from Triple J’s cover series, Like a Version, by infusing it with the chorus of their song, Fruit Salad.
The group posted their joy of the victory on Twitter.
While it might seem like an unlikely win, this isn’t the first time a Like a Version cover has ranked high on the Hottest 100. As Shaad D’Souza points out, covers with novelty value often resonate with listeners at No. 6 in 2016 and Alex Lahey’s cover of a track from My Chemical Romance rose to No. 83 in 2020.
The Wiggles, however, edged out the song which was widely tipped to win the annual poll. The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber were favorites to win with their collaboration Stay, which has now reached No. 1 on the song charts in more than 20 countries. Stay came in second place.
Had Stay topped the poll, it would have made 18-year-old rapper Kamilaroi Laroi, who grew up in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo, the first First Nations artist to reach No. 1 on the Hottest 100.
Perth quartet Spacey Jane hit No. 3 with their track Lots of Nothing, one of three songs they featured in the countdown.
Disney actor-turned-popstar Olivia Rodrigo was another big winner in this year’s poll. Her song Good 4 You ranked No. 4 on the countdown, with four other tracks from her debut album, Sour, also making the hottest 100. the station’s attitude towards mainstream pop music – in 2015, Taylor Swift’s track Shake It Off was banned from entering the Hottest 100.
Another pop favorite, Billie Eilish, who topped the poll two years ago and was the most played artist on Triple J in 2021, placed at No. 5 with Happier Than Ever.
Local artists such as Rüfüs Du Sol, Lime Cordiale and Ocean Alley also each had several tracks in this year’s poll. Further down the poll, Genesis Owusu, who won four Aria Awards at last year’s ceremony for her acclaimed debut album Smiling With No Teeth, ranked No. 75 with Gold Chains. Amyl and the Sniffers landed at No. 28 with their track Hertz.
The Hottest 100 wasn’t the only countdown underway on Saturday: on Twitter, the @OzKitsch account provided comic relief with its “Coldest 100”, which looks back on curious Australian musical moments. In a nod to the Wiggles who took part in this year’s Triple J poll, their countdown was topped with a 2014 video of the band performing a musical number on poppadoms.
The Hottest 100 comes after another tough year for the Australian music industry. The pandemic has forced the widespread cancellation of music festivals and live tours in 2021, costing thousands of industry professionals their livelihoods and prompting some artists to find work elsewhere. The collective I Lost My Gig estimated that since March 2020, the Australian live music industry has lost an average of $64 million in revenue each month.
Over 2.5 million votes were submitted in this year’s Hottest 100. Triple J aired the Hottest 200 on Friday, revealing the songs ranked 200-101 in this year’s poll, with Sydney pop artist May-a coming in at No. 101 with her single Time I Love to Waste.