Where Are They Now? 1982's Biggest Pop ActsCatch up with A Flock of Seagulls, Toni Basil, Tommy Tutone and more
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Men At Work
Then: My esteemed colleague Rob Sheffield has a theory about Men At Work. The Police didn't release any new music in 1982, and the public was so hungry for more that it was willing to tolerate an Australian group with a vaguely similar sound. He's probably right. Men At Work were huge in '82. "Down Under" was one of the biggest songs of the year, with a video that MTV played constantly. "Who Can It Be Now?" was also a giant hit – and by June 1983, Men At Work were on the cover of Rolling Stone. That year, they released their next LP, Cargo, which failed to generate the same level of heat. Of course it did – they released that LP the same month as the Police's Synchronicity. Why would anyone want the Australian knock-off when the real deal was back? The band split in 1986.
Now: Men At Work frontman Colin Hay managed to carve out a nice career on his own as a singer-songwriter. He caved to Eighties nostalgia in 1996, bringing back saxophonist Greg Ham and hitting the road as Men At Work. Sadly, Ham died earlier this year, but Hay continues to play Men At Work's hits at his solo shows and on tour with Ringo Starr's All Starr Band. The band recently got dragged into court when a publishing firm flagged them for lifting the "Down Under" flute riff from the 1934 Australian nursery rhyme "Kookaburra"; they were forced to hand over a portion of all royalties for the hit.