Formed in 1979, Men at Work are an Australian rock band with Colin Hay on lead vocals, Ron Strykert on lead guitar, Jerry Speiser on drums, John Rees on bass and Greg Ham on flute, saxophone and keyboards. They were the first Australian band that had a number one album and a number one single in the US, Australian, New Zealand and UK Charts. Men at Work has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has won a Grammy award for being the Best New Artist in 1983.
Colin Hay is a Scotland native who moved to Australia at the age of 14 decided to form an acoustic band with Ron Strykert and named it Men at Work. After a few months, the duo became a band when John Rees, Jerry Speiser, and Greg Ham decided to join the duo. Men at Work had a regular gig at the Cricketer’s Arms Hotel and somehow they became the highest paid band in Australia that still wasn’t signed by a record label. Eventually, their hard work paid off and they landed a contract deal with Australian Columbia. They released their first single “Who Can It Be Now” and became a huge hit. Men at Work followed it up with their debut album Business as usual in 1982.
- Down Under
- Who Can It Be Now?
- It’s a Mistake
- Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive
- Be Good Johnny
- I Can See It In Your Eyes
- Down By The Sea
- Everything I Need
- Into My Life
- Hard Luck Story
- High Wire
Business as Usual
Business as Usual was Met at Work’s debut album that was released in November 1981. It became a huge success because it spent nine consecutive weeks at the number one spot of the Australian Albums Chart. This album also became an international hit that’s why it is considered to be one of the most successful album by an Australian group. Business as Usual spent fifteen weeks at the top spot in the US Billboard Hot 100 and five consecutive weeks at number one in the UK Albums chart. This album featured the songs “Who Can It Be Now”, “Down Under”, and “Be Good Johnny” which also became a success by reaching the top spots on the Australian Kent Music Singles Chart. This album was also included in the 100 Best Australian Albums in October 2010.
Released in April 1983, Cargo was Men at Work’s second studio album. it reached the top spot in the Australian Albums chart and grabbed the number three spot in the US Billboard 200. It featured the singles “High Wire”, “Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive”, “OverKill”, and “It’s a Mistake”. The release date of this album was pushed back because their debut album, Business as Usual, is still doing good in the international market. However, when Cargo was released it debuted at the number three spot in the Billboard 200 chart, and reached the eight spot in the UK Albums Chart. Men at Work embarked on a world tour in 1983 to promote this album.
Men at Work’s third and final album, Two Hearts, was released on April 23, 1985. Men at Work’s drummer Jerry Speiser and bassist John Ress left the band before this album’s production, while Ron Strykert, the band’s guitarist left Men at Work during the production of this album. Men at Work became a duo once again as Colin Hay and Greg Ham were the only members left to tour and promote their album. This album became a flop compared to their past two album. It didn’t even enter the top ten in the Australian and US charts.
Men at Work’s front man Colin Hay has maintained his solo career and got the chance to play with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr band. However, they reunited in 1998 to 2000 for a tour in Australia, Europe, US and South America. They also performed their hit song “Down Under” in the 2000 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in Sydney.
Men at Work has won several awards during their era. They won a Grammy for being the best new artist in 1983 and during that same year, they have received a Crystal Globe Award for selling almost one hundred million dollars worth of record. Men at Work were also inducted in the hall of fame at the ARIA Music Awards in 1994.