The Wombles (band)

The Wombles were a British novelty pop group, featuring musicians dressed as the characters from children's TV show The Wombles, which in turn was based on the children's book series by Elisabeth Beresford. Songwriter and record producer Mike Batt wrote the series' theme tune and went on to perform and write many successful albums and singles as 'The Wombles' with other collaborators. British Hit Singles & Albums jokingly referred to them as the "furriest (and possibly the tidiest) act... are natives of Wimbledon Common, London". In 2011, the band played at The Glastonbury Festival. The Wombles were finished in 2017 after Batt declared bankruptcy.

The Wombles
OriginWimbledon Common, London, England
GenresNovelty, bubblegum pop, pop rock
Years active1973–1976, 1998-2000, 2011-2017
LabelsCBS Records
MembersMike Batt
Chris Spedding
Les Hurdle
Clem Cattini
Simon Chandler-Honnor
Paul Peabody
Rex Morris
Past membersJack Rothstein (deceased)
Eddie Mordue (deceased)


Filmfair acquired the television rights to The Wombles and commissioned Batt to write the theme song. He waived the flat fee for writing a single song, and secured the character rights for musical production to write songs under the name 'The Wombles'.[1]

The band released several albums and singles. All four studio albums went gold[2], and four of the singles reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] The Wombles were the most successful act of 1974, with albums in the UK charts for more weeks than any other act.[4]

A song called "Wombling U.S.A.", written to break into the American market, was recorded in 1975 but was not released until 2000 when it was included on the cassette version of "I Wish It Could Be a Wombling Merry Christmas Every Day".[5]

Live performances

In January 1974, Mike Batt appeared on an edition of Cilla Black's television series as Orinoco, having been led onstage by guest Bernard Cribbins, to plug "The Wombling Song". Consequently, when the single charted, the "band" was invited to perform on Top of the Pops. Additional Womble suits were hastily made for the live performance.

When appearing as a band, the Wombles were always played by experienced musicians in full costume. Batt continued to perform as Orinoco, regularly accompanied by drummer Clem Cattini as Bungo and guitarist Chris Spedding as Wellington (complete with Spedding's trademark white Gibson Flying V)--both of whom had previously recorded with Batt. On one edition of Top of the Pops, the costumes were filled by members of Steeleye Span.

Tim and Andy Renton, who had worked with Batt in the latter incarnation of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat also donned the costumes, along with Robin LeMesurier,[6] who also had a Gibson Flying V, but was kicked out of the band following an arrest for possession of marijuana.[7]

The band was the interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest 1974.

The Wombles' split and Wellington's solo career

The Wombles 'split' in 1976 and, following a severe drought that summer, a single called "Rainmaker" (credited to Wellington Womble) was released.


Batt remains sensitive about the legacy of the band. In a 2008 interview, he said: "It is hard to be taken seriously with the Wombles hanging around my neck like a furry anvil."[1] More recently (in a programme with Aled Jones on the BBC in 2010) Batt pointed out that, in balance, the Wombles also served as a "furry balloon" as it gave him his first chart success.

Glastonbury Festival

In April 2011, Batt announced that The Wombles would play at The Glastonbury Festival in June.[8] Michael Eavis, the founder of the Glastonbury Festival, later said that booking the Wombles was "a bit of a mistake".[9] Batt quipped that Uncle Bulgaria had been offended by Eavis' comments and had withdrawn an offer to tidy up the site after the festival.[10]


The Wombles

Additional personnel


The Wombles discography
Studio albums4
Live albums1
Compilation albums10
Music videos47
Soundtrack albums1

Studio albums

Year Album details
1973 Wombling Songs
  • Released: November 1973
  • Label: CBS (65803)
  • Format: 12" vinyl/CD/Compact Cassette
  • Peak chart position: 19 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 17 (UK)
1974 Remember You're A Womble
  • Released: July 1974
  • Label: CBS (80191)
  • Format: 12" vinyl/CD
  • Peak chart position: 18 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 29 (UK)
Keep On Wombling
  • Released: December 1974
  • Label: CBS (80526)
  • Format: 12" vinyl/CD
  • Peak chart position: 17 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 6 (UK)
1975 Superwombling
  • Released: September 1975
  • Label: CBS (80997)
  • Format: 12" vinyl/CD


Compilation albums

Year Album details
1975 The Best of The Wombles – 20 Wombling Greats
  • Released: 1975
  • Label: CBS (5022)
  • Peak chart position: 29 (UK)
  • Format: 12" vinyl/cassette
1976 The Best of The Wombles – 20 Wombling Greats (reissue)
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Warwick/CBS
  • Format: 12" vinyl/cassette
1978 The Wombles Christmas Party
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: SHM (977)
  • Format: 12" vinyl/cassette
1983 The Wombles Christmas Album
  • Released: 1983
  • Label: CBS (25805)
  • Format: 12" vinyl
1989 Wombling Hits
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: CBS (466118 1)
  • Format: 12" vinyl/cassette
1997 Underground, Overground – The Ultimate Wombles Collection
  • Released: 1997
  • Label: RDCD (2181–2)
  • Format: CD/cassette
1998 'The Best Wombles Album So Far – Volume 1
  • Released: 16 March 1998
  • Label: Columbia (489562 2)
  • Peak chart position: 26 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 3 (UK)
  • Format: CD/cassette
2000 The Wombles Collection
  • Released: 20 November 2000
  • Label: Dramatico (DRAMCD0001)
  • Format: CD/cassette
2005 The Very Best Of The Wombles
  • Released: 3 October 2005
  • Label: Columbia (504418 2)
  • Format: CD
2011 The W Factor
  • Released: 28 November 2011
  • Label: Dramatico (B0062JIBLS)
  • Format: CD and MP3 Download



Year Single details
1973 "The Wombling Song" / "Wombles Everywhere"
  • Released: October 1973
  • Label: CBS (1794)
  • Peak chart position: 4 (UK), 5 (NZ)
  • Weeks in chart: 23 (UK), 19 (NZ)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
1974 "Remember You're A Womble" / "Bungo's Birthday"
  • Released: 29 March 1974
  • Label: CBS (2241)
  • Peak chart position: 3 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 16 (UK)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
"Banana Rock" / "The Womble Square Dance"
  • Released: June 1974
  • Label: CBS (2465)
  • Peak chart position: 9 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 13 (UK)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
"Wombling Summer Party" / "Wimbledon Sunset"
  • Released: September 1974
  • Label: CBS (2663)
  • Peak chart position: 55 (US)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
"Minuetto Allegretto" / "Womble Burrow Boogie"
  • Released: October 1974
  • Label: CBS (2710)
  • Peak chart position: 16 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 9 (UK)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
"Remember You're A Womble" / "Wellington Womble"
  • Released: 1974
  • Label: (US) Columbia (3-10013)
  • Peak chart position: 3 (UK)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
"Wombling Merry Christmas" / "Madame Cholet"
  • Released: November 1974
  • Label: CBS (2842)
  • Peak chart position: 2 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 8 (UK)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
1975 "Wombling White Tie And Tails" / "The Wombling Twist"
  • Released: April 1975
  • Label: CBS (3266)
  • Peak chart position: 22 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 7 (UK)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
"Superwomble" / "The Orinoco Kid"
  • Released: July 1975
  • Label: CBS (3480)
  • Peak chart position: 20 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 6 (UK)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
"Let's Womble To The Party Tonight" / "Down At The Barber Shop"
  • Released: November 1975
  • Label: CBS (3794)
  • Peak chart position: 34 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 5 (UK)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
1976 "The Womble Shuffle" / "To Wimbledon With Love"
  • Released: April 1976
  • Label: CBS (4049)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
Wellington Womble – "Rainmaker" / The Wombles – "Wombling in the Rain"
  • Released: September 1976
  • Label: CBS (4604)
  • Format: 7" vinyl
1998 "Remember You're A Womble" / "Remember You're A Womble (Dance Mix)"
  • Released: 9 March 1998
  • Label: CBS
  • Peak chart position: 13 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 5 (UK)
  • Format: CD single
"The Wombling Song" / "The Orinoco Kid"
  • Released: 1 June 1998
  • Label: CBS
  • Peak chart position: 27 (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: 3 (UK)
  • Format: CD single
2000 "I Wish It Could Be A Wombling Merry Christmas Every Day" (with Roy Wood)
  • Released: 18 December 2000
  • Label: CBS
  • Peak chart position: 22 (UK)
  • Format: CD single
2011 "Wombling Merry Christmas" / "The Wombles Warning" / "Miss Adelaide (She's Got A Lot Of Knowledge)" / "The Jungle Is Jumping"
  • Released: 12 December 2011
  • Label: CBS
  • Peak chart position: (UK)
  • Weeks in chart: (UK)
  • Format: CD single



Year Album details
1977 Wombling Free – Original Soundtrack
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: CBS (70155)
  • Format: 12" vinyl


The BBC Four comedy program Don't Watch That, Watch This showed a dubbed footage of The Wombles from TOTP2, of the Wombles purportedly performing "Anarchy in the U.K." live in June 1988. The scrolling caption during the song read "During the early eighties the Wombles reformed as a funk soul fusion. But the project soon failed and the group disbanded, only to come together again as the Dixie Minstrel Wombles. In 1988 the original line up were reunited for the third time to record their version of this Sex Pistols classic.... for a Pot Noodle commercial. Later released as a single it reached 57 on the charts".

The film The Rutles featured a Ringo Starr-inspired character named Barrington Womble who "shortened his name to save time...he simply became Barry Wom."


  1. McCormick, Neil (2008-04-10). "Mike Batt: he can't forget he's a Womble". The Telegraph.
  2. Neil Warwick; Jon Kutner; Tony Brown (2004). The Complete Book Of The British Charts: Singles and Albums. Omnibus Press. pp. 1203–1204. ISBN 1-84449-058-0.
  3. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 608. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. Phil Hardy & Dave Laing (1988). Encyclopedia of Rock. Schirmer Books. p. 38. ISBN 0-02-919562-4.
  5. Stanley, Bob (2004-02-27). "Bob Stanley on the man inside the Womble suit". The Times.
  6. The son of actors John Le Mesurier and Hattie Jacques
  7. Andrew Perry "The Wombles at Glastonbury 2011: interview",, 15 June 2011
  8. "Wombles of Glastonbury festival are we". Daily Mail. 22 April 2011.
  9. "Glastonbury boss Michael Eavis regrets Wombles booking". BBC News. 8 June 2011.
  10. "Wombles re-form to play Glastonbury". BBC News. 22 June 2011.
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