Despite their relatively short run, Aussie 80s rockers Men At Work made a huge impact on the music scene of their day. They barely avoided one-hit wonder status in the U.S. by placing several hits on the Top 10, but their two Number 1 hits, “Who Can It Be Now” and “Down Under” (both from their 1981 album Business As Usual) are the two that most people remember from the band, and the latter (video featured below) was by far their highest charting success worldwide.
“Down Under” has not only become a cult favorite, but its numerous cultural references to the band’s homeland (most notably the references to “Vegemite” and “Kombi”) have made it something of a patriotic hit in Australia. The flute riff is also reminiscent of the Aussie children’s song “Kookaburra”, which actually provoked a copyright infringement lawsuit (the band maintained the similarity was unintentional).
Men At Work released two more albums after Business As Usual, but were never able to replicate the same level of success. Largely due to infighting, the band broke up in 1986; they reunited for a few years in the late 1990s but called it quits for good in 2002. Nevertheless, their short heyday has prompted over 30 million in record sales worldwide. They are also credited as the only Australian act to have had both a number one album and number one single at the same time in the U.S.
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