Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Down Under" by Men at Work

#1 Alert!
Platinum Record Alert!
Song#:  1238
Date:  11/06/1982
Debut:  79
Peak:  1 (4 weeks)
Weeks: 25
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The Australian group broke through in a big way with their #1 hit "Who Can It Be Now?" from their #1 debut album "Business as Usual." This second single continued the #1 streak and spent four weeks at the top spot. The accompanying video was an MTV favorite and the lyrics, which contained a lot of Australian references, fascinated folks in the US. It all helped them win the Grammy for Best New Artist.

ReduxReview:  Like a lot of other pop fans, I was all about this song when it came out. The video was fun, the sound of the song was great, and the cultural references were cool. It's a classic from the time, but despite it being the bigger hit, I do think "Who Can It Be Now" is a better song. This one almost butts up against novelty, but luckily Men at Work kept it from going over the top and created a fun tune.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Decades after this song was released, a question featured on an Australian game show prompted a lawsuit regarding this song. The question posed on the show "Spicks and Specks" was "what children's song is contained in the song 'Down Under'?" The answer was "Kookaburra," a song written by a teacher in 1932 about an Australian bird. This comparison was not lost on the company that owned the rights to "Kookaburra" and they sued the writers of "Down Under," Men at Work's Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, for copyright infringement. At issue was the repeated flute riff in the song. Large portions of it were said to be the same as the children's tune. The issue went to court and in the end, Hay and Strykert lost. Over the course of 28 years, no one seemed to notice or care about any similarities between the songs, including the original writer of "Kookaburra" who was alive for several years after the initial release of "Down Under." Had the game show not used that question, most likely none of this would have come up.


No comments:

Post a Comment