Throwback Video of the Week!

Throwback Video of the Week!

Throwback Video of the Week!

Men at Work frontman Colin Hay performs at the Red, White & Boom Independence Day festival at Desert Breeze Park July 4, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Unless you have a personal connection to Australia, the first time you heard the word Vegemite was probably from Men at Work. The Australian rock band was founded by lead singer and guitarist Colin Hay in Melbourne in 1978. They enjoyed their greatest success between 1981 and 1985 with hits including “Who Can It Be Now?,” “Down Under,” “Be Good Johnny,” “Dr. Hekyll & Mr. Jive,” “Overkill,” and “It’s a Mistake.”

The band fell apart after the release of their 1985 album, Two Hearts. Eleven years later, Colin Hay and original member Greg Ham reformed Men at Work and toured until 2002. In 2019, Hay once again revived the Men at Work name and began touring with a backing band but none of the other original members.

  • Who Can It Be Now? (1981)

    This was the song that put Men at Work on the international map, but it didn’t happen overnight. “Who Can It Be Now” was released in Australia in 1981, prior to the recording of the rest of their 1981 debut album, Business as Usual. The song reached No. 2 on the Australian singles chart in August of that year. The track went to No. 8 in Canada in late July 1982. The single was well over a year old when it went on to top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in October 1982. Men at Work performed both this song and “Down Under” on Saturday Night Live that same month.

  • Down Under (1981)

    Released as the second single from Business as Usual, “Down Under” further cemented Men at Work’s status as New Wave superstars. The song went to No. 1 in their native Australia, as well as in neighboring New Zealand, the U.S., UK, Ireland, Canada, and Switzerland. The video plays out the events of the lyrics, which are full of Australian slang. For example, a “fried-out Kombi” is a Volkswagen van lowered on chopped suspension springs, “zombie” is a type of marijuana, and “chunder” means to vomit.

  • Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive (1982)

    “Dr Hekyll & Mr Jive” was released in October 1982 as the lead single from their second album, Cargo. The title is a parody of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The story is also similar to The Nutty Professor movies. In the video, Colin Hay plays a Sherlock Holmes-ish detective who investigates the case of mad scientist Dr. Heckyll, portrayed by Greg Ham. Heckyll drinks a potion he concocted and transforms into Mr. Jive, who’s much more suave and debonair. The other band members appear as boy scouts and party guests.

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