Men at work (band) was formed in 1978 in Sydney, Australia and became an internationally recognized musician in the 1980s. The band was credited for opening the doors for Australian music into the international scene. Throughout their career, albums of the band sold more than 30 million copies in Australia and abroad. The colorful career of the band was marked with disbandment in 1986 and 2002.Formation and Success before the First Disbandment
The original founding members were Collin Hay (vocals), Greg Ham (flute/keyboards), Jerry Speiser (drums), Ron Strykert (lead guitar), and John Rees (bass guitar). In 1980, they first released their self-financed singles “Keypunch Operator” and “Down Under”.
After signing with Columbia Records’ local branch in Australia, the band released its debut album Business as Usual in Australia in October 1981. The album reached the top spot in the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart for nine weeks. The album contained the re-work of their first single “Down Under” and original tracks including “Who can it be now?” and “Be Good Johnny”.
After its Australian’s success, Business as Usual debuted in the UK and U.S. market in April 1982. Their single “Down Under” eventually reached the top spot in the US Billboard Charts. In 1983, the band became the first Australian musician to have the top album (Business as Usual) and the top single (“Down Under”) in the U.S. and UK music charts. The band released Cargo in 1983, its second album which also reached the top spot in the Australian charts. The album spawned the hit singles “Overkill” and “It’s a Mistake”.The First Disbandment
Beginning 1984, there were internal disputes between members of the band and these led to the removal of Rees and Speiser. The remaining members continued to record their third album entitled Two Hearts with the assistance of studio musicians to fill the void left by Rees and Speiser, although the album did not reach the same success as its predecessors. The band performed in several concerts including Oz for Africa in 1985. Ham left in the middle of a tour and in 1986, Hay officially disbanded Men at Work.The Second Disbandment
In 1996, Hay and Ham decided to revive the band with Stephen Hadley (bass), Simon Hosford (guitar) and John Watson (drums). The band embarked on live shows beginning in São Paulo and extended across Australia, South America and Europe from 1998 to 2000. The band also performed their hit single “Down Under” at the Summer Olympics in 2000 in Sydney. In 2002, the band disbanded again although the band continued to perform in certain occasions after the break up.
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