Music / Men at Work
Men At Work were a five piece Australian band from Melbourne who came to prominence in the Eighties. The lineup of the band during its years of fame featured Colin Hay (vocals, rhythm guitar), Ron Strykert (lead guitar, bass, vocals), Jerry Speiser (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Greg Ham (keyboards, vocals, saxophone, harmonica, flute) and John Rees (bass, backing vocals). All was well for the first few years.
However, from 1984 onwards, the band would suffer a number of lineup changes (mostly due to good old infighting brought by sudden rise to fame) - 16 other musicians were members of the band, with Hay and Ham the only constants. After Greg Ham's untimely death in 2012, the band was done for good. On a somewhat more optimistic note, Colin Hay managed to start a fairly successful solo career which is still going well.
Released 4 albums:
- Business as Usual in 1981 (recently got an Updated Re-release)
- Cargo in 1983 (same as above)
- Two Hearts in 1985
- Live in Brazil in 1997 (with two new tracks!)
They are best known for their hit "Down Under", which is better known overseas than the Australian national anthem.
Men At Work contains examples of the following tropes:
- Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock: Toward the end of the music video for "It's a Mistake", some military officer has an ashtray sitting on the control console right next to a Big Red Button, which he unwittingly presses while fumbling around.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: "Overkill"
- The Four Chords of Pop: Make up the majority of Down Under.
- Large Ham: Colin Hay. Just watch the clips for "Who Can It Be Now?" or "Overkill". Or his appearances on Scrubs.
- Line-of-Sight Name: The band managed to book their first gig without even having a name yet. When they were pressed for one, they took inspiration from a sign out the front of the pub - which was being renovated at the time.
- Protest Song: "It's A Mistake", and "Down Under" (see under Misaimed Fandom).
- Revolving Door Band: Between 1979 and 2012 (including ten years of being entirely broken up), the band had a total of 22 different members. Only Hay and Ham (until Ham's death in 2012) featured in all of them.
- Stock Rhymes: averted by "Down Under". No one else has ever rhymed "chunder" with either plunder or thunder. (Note for non-Aussies: to chunder means to vomit.)