Current Traffic

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Post 484 Men at work – Down Under (extended mix) – Sail To You (extended mix)

"Down Under" (also known as "Land Down Under") is a Platinum-certified single recorded by Men at Work. In 1980, it was originally released as the B side to their first local single titled "Keypunch Operator". It was released before the band signed with Columbia Records. Both early songs were written by the group’s co-founders, Colin Hay & Ron Strykert. The early version of "Down Under" has a slightly different tempo and arrangement than the later Columbia release. The most well-known version was then released on Columbia in October 1981 as the second single from their debut album Business as Usual (1981). The song went to number one in Australia in December 1981, and then topped the New Zealand charts in February 1982. It was released in North America in mid-1982 and the song topped the Canadian charts in October. In the United States the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on 6 November 1982 at No. 79 and reached No. 1 in January 1983.  It eventually sold over two million copies in the US alone. In the UK, the song topped the charts in January and February 1983, and is the only Men at Work song to make the UK top 20.  The song also went No. 1 in Ireland, Denmark and Switzerland, and was a top 10 hit in many other territories. There have been many cover versions of the song such as Yossi and Avi Piamenta’s recorded traditional Jewish wedding lyrics to the tune of the song in the 1980’s.  In 1983, Hong Kong pop singer Alan Tam made a cover of the song. The Cantonese version is called "一於少理" ("Just Don't Care" in English). In 1985, Lithuanian rock band Antis made a cover of the song, which became one of their most well-known hits. It was called "Zombiai" A Finnish cover version titled "Tervetuloa Länteen, Andrej" (Welcome to west, Andrej) of the song was released by Vilperin Perikunta in 1992. Sections of the flute part of the recording of the song were found to be based on the children's song "Kookaburra", written in 1932 by Marion Sinclair. Sinclair died in 1988. On 4 February 2010, Justice Jacobson ruled that Larrikin's copyright had been infringed because "Down Under" reproduced "a substantial part of Kookaburra". Since the verdict, Colin Hay has continued to insist that any plagiarism was wholly unintentional. He says that when the song was originally written in 1978, it did not have the musical passage in question, and that it was not until two years later, during a jam rehearsal session, that flautist Greg Ham improvised the riff, perhaps subconsciously recalling "Kookaburra".  Sadly Greg Ham was found dead in Melbourne on 19 April 2012. In the months before his death, Ham had been despondent over the verdict, and convinced that "the only thing people will remember me for" would be the plagiarism conviction. Here to download is the extended version of “Down Under” (extended mix) b/w “Sail To You” (extended mix) (BA-12229). Both songs were a promo-release in 1986 as a 12” single that came with the “Men At Work ’81-‘85” LP. Many thanks to Henry DeRooy who had this gem tucked away in his laundry cupboard and gave it to me to fix up for this Australia Day 2014. 


AussieRock said...

Awesome - many thanks for this Gary
Pity they got sued for this track - plenty of bands have borrowed licks from other bands and nothing happens - its only when the big bucks come into play that people start to get greedy
I wonder if they had to pay more compensation for this extended version LOL

sacdtodvda said...

"Well, you only get caught when you're successful. That's the game."

Robert Plant, interviewed in Misician magazine 1990.