Men At Work
Men At Work
The band was formed in 1978 when Colin Hay and Ron Strykert formed a duo, which expanded with the addition Jerry Speiser as the band's drummer and Greg Sneddon on the keyboard. This group would later turn into Men At Work, and they started their career working on music for a stage musical performance known as Riff Raff, previously worked on by Sneddon. Sneddon left sometime after, and was replaced by Greg Ham in 1979.
Towards the end of the year the group had taken up residence in the Cricketer's Arms Pub. They adopted the "Men at Work" moniker from a nearby street sign denoting construction. After several performances at the Pub, they recruited bassist John Rees and the group was complete.
After frequent performances at Melbourne's Cricketer's Arms Hotel, the group financed the single "Keypunch Operator" in 1980, backed by an early version of "Down Under".
Men at Work was signed by Columbia Records in early 1981, and their single "Who Can it be Now?" reached No. 1 on the Australian charts, as well as their first album "Business as Usual".
When the album was finally accepted by Columbia Records Parent Company for release in the US (it was rejected twice), the band went on a tour of the US to promote their album.
"Who Can it be Now?" reached No. 1 on the US charts during 1982, followed by the album "Business as Usual", which remained in the No. 1 spot for 12 consecutive weeks. While "Who Can it Be Now?" was slowly losing it's spot in the top ten, "Down Under" was released. Straight away it entered the charts at No. 79, and within 10 weeks, made it to No. 1. By January of 1983, both their single "Down Under" and "Business as Usual" were No. 1 on not only the US charts, but the UK charts as well. This had never been done by an Australian band before. They then went on to win Grammy Award for best new artist, and later Canada awarded them the Juno Award for International LP of the Year.
Their second album, "Cargo", was later released. This album also went on to hold the No. 1 spot for some time, even while "Business as Usual" was still doing exceptionally well. The band began to tour the world extensively.
After management insisted that Rees and Speiser were no longer part of the band, they both left. The remaining members released the album "Two Hearts" which peaked at No. 50 on the US charts. Only one of the album's 4 singles made it to the US charts, and only at No. 47. This was where the band started to decline, as Strykert left during the album's production, and Ham left during touring for the album, after several filler members were put in temporarily. The band was officially defunct in 1986, with Hay leaving to work on his solo career.
The band reunited in 1996, and released the album "Brazil '96" in 1997. The album was released internationally in 1998 as "Brazil", with the bonus track "The Longest Night" appearing as the first studio track since "Two Hearts".
The band continued to tour, and then again they faded into obscurity. They performed at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics, and 9 years on they continued to tour and make guest appearances.
Today the band has officially split up once and for all, with each of the band members going their separate ways. Men at Work will forever be remembered for their reggae-type rock music, their energetic live performances and hits; and especially for putting Australia on the international music charts.
Cargo - 1983
Two Hearts - 1986
Down Under - 1981
Be Good Johnny -1982
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Jive - 1982
Overkill - 1983
It's a Mistake - 1983
High Wire - 1983
Everything I Need - 1985
Maria - 1985
Hard Luck Story - 1985
Man With Two Hearts - 1985
The Longest Night - 1998