Listen to the original, slower, better (!) version of Men at Work's "Down Under"

Originally published at:


Also: If you have the opportunity, go see Colin Hay in concert. He’s great acoustic and tells great stories. I usually dislike it when singers talk a lot at concerts but I’ve seen him 3 times.


Colin Hay’s voice is as good as it ever was. He’s currently touring with Ringo Starr’s All Star Band and they did several MaW songs. Holy hell. He’s got pipes.


This this another “Happy Birthday” situation where some asshole randomly claims they own a popular song just to soak royalties for decades while the court tries to decide if they are full of shit nor not?

This is a big problem with extending copyright to before the time when people kept good records.


In any case, seeking damages because an artist used a series of notes similar to those in another song is stupid on its face. They didn’t cover the song, they didn’t sample another recording of it, they didn’t even use the whole tune, just 11 notes of it. I guess it’s all what your lawyers, and the intellectually dishonest “music experts” they hire, can get a jury to believe. Ugh.

I also like the earlier version of “Down Under”. I can’t think of another example of a song that started as a B side and gained widespread popularity after being reworked.


6’4"? Seems about right. Fulla muscles? Mmmmm, I dunno man, I’ve seen beefier 6’4" Russells in my lifetime.

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In the meantime… Coldplay passed with a plagiarism on Kraftwerk

This is awesome. Had no idea there was an alternate Down Under track. I love this.

I remember getting Business as Usual as one of my “12 albums for a penny” scam from Columbia House Record Club. I wore out many needles playing that album over and over. Still have the original vinyl in storage somewhere.

Hay is still one of my all time favs. A song that I usually listen to on repeat:


Ninja Sex Party just did an excellent cover of “Down Under” and they went a bit more reggae than Men At Work’s single version.

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On the topic of interesting first passes of popular songs: (I personally like it a bit better than the release. Something about the plinky keyboard.)

And probably MaW’s best song, for those who haven’t heard it:


Disagree…This is:

And this an underrated classic - again with the heavy reggae influence


In my Middle School music class there was a small selection of “popular” songs in our song books that we were allowed to vote on singing at the end of class for fun. I only remember two of them, maybe cuz they were my favorites. One was “This Land is Your Land”, the other was “Down Under.”


That’s my #2 pick :smiley:

ETA since I got ninja’d:
Be Good Johnny.

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Oh great…I’m in a time suck going back at listening to all their songs now.

There goes my afternoon


I think this is a mis-heard lyric. They really sang ‘fulla mussels’. Everyone knows how famous aussies are for eating mussels until the puke.

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i still prefer the poppier version.


I have several of his solo albums. Singing or otherwise, he’s a great storyteller.

Me too. I like this live version:


No I don’t think its the same. The flute rif was referencing a popular, (by that time), traditional song. It should be acceptable to reference other works. It wasn’t even being played the same way.


First, I’m gonna say I think this original slower version is a superior song.
Second, the very first time I ever heard the released hit I thought, oh, that’s clever, they’re clearly ripping off Kookaburra. That was long before the copyright action was ever raised. That somebody had rights over the song I have no problem with. But I think the payout was excessive. Christ, the song was a tad past its prime (written in the '30s). Quite popular when I was at primary school.