Monday, 24 January 2011
Biography of the Band/History of the Track
In 1978 a duo between Scottish-born Colin Hay and Roy Strykert then later the addition of the drummer Jerry Speiser and the keyboard player, notable for the style of progressive rock, Greg Sneddon. In 1979 Sneddon was replaced with Greg Ham who was also a saxophonist and flautist, and John Rees on bass.
The name of the band comes from Colin Hay's attraction to the yellow road signs saying "Men at Work" on construction sites in Sydney.
The band was signed by Columbia records in 1981. Their first album Business as Usual, released 9th November 1981, went to number one in Australia, New Zealand, USA and UK. The band toured the USA supporting Fleetwood Mac as they tried gaining recognition and promoting their album.
Business as Usual was at number one in the USA for 15 weeks, and in October 1982 their new single Who Can It Be Now? also went to number one.
In January 1983 both single Down Under and album Business as Usual were at number one in USA and UK, their single Be Good Johnny received good airplay and attention in USA.
They won a Grammy award in 1983 for Best New Artist, as well as a Canadian Juno Award.
Jerry Speiser and John Ree's left the band, the remaining members then released their 3rd album Two Hearts which had very much a different feel to the other records they had released, emphasised mostly drums and synthesisers. Strykert then left the band during the album production, so new band members were hired - Jeremy Alsop on bass, Mark Kennedy on drums and James Black on guitar. Colin Bayley was then added as a third guitarist and Chad Wackerman replaced Mark Kennedy on the drums.
The addition of these new members gave the band a more jazzy, progressive rock style and perhaps pushed them more towards the New Wave music genre, not as pop as their earlier more bohemian, reggae inspired style.
Colin Hay has since gone onto release single albums though occasionally still reunites with Greg Ham to play at certain events like the Sydney Olympics in 2000 or in 2009 for the Australia Unites - Victorian Bushfire Appeal Telethon.