Men At Work - Down Under

Down Under – Men At Work | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 4 weeks); 1983

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Unlike the British Invasion of the 1960’s there had been no corresponding surge of Aussie artists up the U.S. pop charts, although mega-stars the Bee Gees, AC/DC, and Olivia NewtonJohn certainly made a good showing in the 1970’s. As the 1980’s dawned, several other “down under” artists appeared: Rick Springfield, Air Supply, and Men At Work. After taking their native land by storm, the quintet’s Business As Usual long-player, originally rejected by Columbia Records as having no hits on it, was released in America in 1982. Before the year was out, both it and the debut single, Who Can It Be Now?, had hit #1. Singer Colin Hay and company were already an ever-present fixture on MTV when Down Under dropped in November. With its amusing take on an Aussie abroad, Under – its originally sparse arrangement beefed up by MOW’s producer – became a fast favorite, and helped Men At Work win a Grammy for Best New Artist.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Peter McIan

Lyrics Written by:

  • Colin Hay


  • Won Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1983
  • Men at Work’s “Down Under” has been elevated to APRA AMCOS’ The 1,000,000,000 List, for passing one billion streams across all platforms
  • Nominated for the Juno Award for International Album of the Year in 1983