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Archive for the ‘Men at Work’ Category

Back Tracks: Men at Work

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The sudden, recent news of the passing of Greg Ham, saxophonist/flautist and founding member of Australian rock band Men at Work, comes at a strange and sad time. Yesterday in fact marked the 30th anniversary of the release of the band’s breakthrough debut, Business As Usual, in America. More importantly, though, it’s the sad loss of a figure who contributed a lot to early ’80s rock music.

Ham, who was 58, was the spice that set Men at Work’s hard driving, New Wave-inspired sounds apart from their international contemporaries. Scottish-born, Australian-raised vocalist Colin Hay had a keening tenor that recalled Sting in places, and guitarist Ron Strykert’s textures could really turn heads on some songs. But that extra magic on the band’s first two chart-topping singles, “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Down Under,” was all Ham’s, who lent his talents to the saxophone riff of the former and the flute figure of the latter. In a statement, Hay praised the work of his bandmate and friend for 40 years. “The saxophone solo on “Who Can It Be Now” was the rehearsal take. We kept it, that was the one. He’s here forever.”

It’s interesting, then, that the band only had three studio albums to their credit, making for a pretty swift overview by way of reissues and compilations. Join us in paying tribute to Hay, Ham and the rest of Men at Work with this special Back Tracks trip down memory lane.

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 23, 2012 at 12:46

Posted in Compilations, Men at Work, News, Reissues

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News Roundup: Demos C’est Chic, Paying Up in a Land Down Under

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  • Funk legend Nile Rodgers, a frequent user of Twitter, has spent the past few weeks talking about his ongoing process to locate and catalogue the many demo tapes he’s found over the years. While a firm release plan has yet to be implemented, I’m getting the impression he’s going to release some of them for free. So if you do that whole Twitter thing, follow him so you can get the scoop when it happens. (Of course I’ll be posting when anything is released, too.)
  • This isn’t particularly release-related, but it was too odd not to share: ’80s hitmakers Men at Work have been found guilty in an Australian court of borrowing a “substantial part” of the children’s tune “Kookaburra” in their hit “Down Under.” While I can’t deny that the song is more or less there (listen closely to the flute line), the suit was only introduced in 2007. Had nobody in Australia noticed beforehand?

Written by Mike Duquette

February 4, 2010 at 09:58

Posted in CHIC, Men at Work, News