Down Under by Men At Work
Yeah, I know, its not the Australian National anthem but nearly everyone that hears it instantly thinks of Australia so.....mission accomplished. The song was released in Australia in October of 1981 where it went to #1 by the end of the year. In the US the song was released in November of 1982 and reached #1 by the next January. Overall the song reached #1 in 7 countries and within the top 10 in 7 other countries.
The songs popularity could have something to do with its catchiness.....but I assume its the silliness of the video that helped. There's something about living in Australia that just makes for general silliness. Could be the toilets flushing the other way or something.
We get to learn about several Australian slang phrases. "A fried out kombie" is a beat up VW combo van. "A head full of zombie" is, of course, a head full of pot. And where men "Chunder" is about vomiting after drinking too much. I won't explain vegemite because its gross. Try it at your own peril. You may just end up Chundering.
But I want to take a moment to highlight lead singer and co-songwriter (along with Ron Strykert) Colin Hay's vocals. Most memorable singers have a distinct voice that captures your ear and says, "that's _______" fill in the blank. Colin has two distinct voices. Notice how his voice sounds during the verses of the song. Low and measured. But during the chorus (and more pronounced near the end of the song) his voice has a more falsetto style with a characteristic growl or "flutter" (hard to describe but you'll hear what I mean).
Over the years, I've seen the band 3 times (minus half of the members) and I've seen Colin solo 3 times and his voice is still just as great as it is here on record. He plays this song every time (even with drunks yelling out for it from the start of the show). But its his story telling between the songs that make Colin worth seeing. He is hilarious and quite the story teller. Plus its obvious he loves all the songs he's recorded over the years.
But for now, please enjoy his biggest hit.