Billboard #1 Hits: #527: ‘Down Under’- Men At Work. January 15, 1983. #1 4 weeks in Billboard Hot 100.
- Single: ‘Down Under’- Men At Work
- Record Company- Columbia
- Genre: Pop Rock
- Written by Colin Hay and Ron Strykert
- Time: 3:42
- B-side:’ Crazy’
- Album-Business As Usual
- Grade: A
- Peaked at #1 4 weeks in Billboard Hot 100. #1 in UK Singles Chart, #1 in Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland and Switzerland.
The first new #1 hit in 1983- ‘Down Under’ replaced the holdover from 1982- “Maneater’ in mid- January. The second straight #1 hit from Men At Work- following ‘Who Can It Be Now.’ Men At Work were a little late arriving in the U.S.- ‘Down Under’ had been #1 in their native Australia in December 1981.
Slang and drug terms are featured in the lyrics. They open with the singer travelling in a fried-out Kombi, on a hippie trail, head full of zombie. In Australian slang “fried-out” means overheated, “Kombi” refers to the Volkswagen Type 2 combination van, and having “a head full of zombie” refers to the use of a type of marijuana. “Hippie trail” refers to a subcultural tourist route popular in 1960s and 70s which stretched from Western Europe to South-East Asia. The song also contains the refrain, where beer does flow and men chunder. To “chunder” means to vomit.
Colin Hay told songfacts about what the song was about-
The chorus is really about the selling of Australia in many ways, the overdevelopment of the country. It was a song about the loss of spirit in that country. It’s really about the plundering of the country by greedy people. It is ultimately about celebrating the country, but not in a nationalistic way and not in a flag-waving sense. It’s really more than that.
Has anyone ever had a vegamite sandwich?