Business As Usual – Men At Work

The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).

Business At Usual, by Men At Work

  • Debut album released in 1982 by Men At Work.
  • New Wave band Men At Work was one of the more successful Australian bands of all time (OK – they were not as big as The Bee Gees, AC/DC or INXS). Their Business As Usual album spent 15 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 album chart – it was knocked out of the #1 spot by Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. While 15 weeks is not close to the record for the most weeks at #1 (the soundtrack to West Side Story holds the record at 54 weeks, and Thriller is second at 37 weeks), only 11 albums have been #1 for 20 weeks or more. The album ultimately was certified 6x platinum in the U.S.
  • The first two singles from the album both reached #1 on the Hot 100 chart – Who Can It Be Now? and Down Under. The videos for these songs had heavy airplay on MTV, which certainly contributed to their success. They performed both songs in October 1982 on their first of two appearances on Saturday Night Live.
  • The success of the album and the singles culminated in the band receiving the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1983.
  • Down Under has some notoriety. In 2009, an Australian TV-quiz show posed a question that suggested that the flute solo in the song was similar to a 1932 Australian nursery rhyme song called Kookaburra. The following year, the publishing company that owned the rights to Kookaburra sued Men At Work for copyright infringement. A judge agreed, and the judgement against the band was to pay 5% of profits from the song from 2002 onward.
  • For more on the band, see my post from May 22, 2019.
  • This album was an easy purchase for me, as well as their follow-up album Cargo. New Wave music had become my favorite since The Cars and The Knack hit the music scene in the late 70s. While Men At Work sounded nothing like these other New Wave bands, their use of flute and saxophone and their Australian accents gave them a unique sound. Here’s the video to Who Can It Be Now?. Signature sax here on this song! 80s New Wave – they don’t make them like this anymore!

 

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