Down Under – Men At Work

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………..on January 15 of 1983 Australia’s Men At Work owned both number one spots on the US album and singles charts. “Down Under” was the second number 1 single from the “Business As Usual” LP, following “Who Can It Be Now”. The album was also at the top of the UK chart, a feat previously accomplished only by Rod Stewart, Simon And Garfunkel and The Beatles. The lyrics were written by lead singer Colin Hay as he explains “It’s ironic to me that so many people thought it was about a specific thing and that really wasn’t the intention behind the song. If you listen to ‘Born In The USA,’ it’s a similar song in that there’s a lot of nuance missed because people like drinking beer and throwing their arms up in the air and feeling nationalistic. It’s ultimately a song about celebration, but it’s a matter of what you choose to celebrate about a country or a place. White people haven’t been in Australia all that long, and it’s truly an awesome place, but one of the most interesting and exciting things about the country is what was there before. The true heritage of a country often gets lost in the name of progress and development. This became an unofficial national anthem when Australia won the America’s Cup in 1983, an event the United States had never lost. The then Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, was so delighted with Australia’s win, he gave the whole country the day off and announced on the news that any boss who fired an employee for taking the day off “is a bum! This was a huge worldwide hit. For two weeks, both the single and album were #1 in the US and UK. In their native Australia, the album stayed at #1 for nine weeks, and the single topped the chart for six. Men at Work hit big in the summer of 1982 and through the next year had five Top 40 singles: “Who Can It Be Now?,” “Down Under,” “Overkill,” “It’s A Mistake” and “Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive.” The first two, both from their debut album, vaulted all the way to #1 on the American charts and helped them win the Best New Artist Grammy Award.