Men At Work Business As Usual Turns 40 -
Men At Work Business As Usual

Men At Work Business As Usual Turns 40

by Paul Cashmere on November 9, 2021

in News

One of Australia’s most iconic albums, Men At Work ‘Business As Usual’ has turned 40.

‘Business As Usual’ was released on 9 November 1981. The album was a number one record in the USA, UK and Australia and sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

The first hit from ‘Business as Usual’ was ‘Who Can It Be Now’.

However, it was the second single ‘Down Under’ that gave Men At Work their biggest hit globally.

‘Down Under’ was later the subject of some bullshit legal action that eventually drove the band’s Greg Ham to take his life. After Sydney publishing company Larrikin acquired the rights to the Australian classic ‘Kookaburra Sitting In An Old Gum Tree’, a quiz show question tying ‘Kookaburra’ and ‘Down Under’ together because of the flute solo started legal action against Men At Work. Larrikin claimed ‘Down Under’ breached its now copyright, despite being released decades before the Larrikin ownership. They sued Men At Work and won. Greg Ham, who played the flute solo, was so distraught over the case that in 2012 he took his life. The composer of ‘Kookaburra Sitting In An Old Gum True’, Marion Sinclair, died in 1988. She wrote her song in 1932.

Men At Work released three albums between 1981 and 1985. By the third album they were down to a three piece with only Greg Ham, Colin Hay and Ron Strykert left in the band.

‘Business As Usual’ earned Men At Work the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1983. It also won the Best New Album award at the Countdown Music Awards (pre-ARIA Awards) in 1981.

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