When The Monkees lead singer Davey Jones passed away recently , I was reminded that their 1966 debut album held the record for most weeks by a debut at #1 in the U.S. until 1982. That is when an unknown group from the Melbourne Australia pub scene called Men At Workmanaged to occupy the peak slot in America for 15 weeks . Now exactly how did that happen ?
Thirty years ago, the songs “Who Can It Be Now?” and“Down Under” followed the Business As Usual debut album from Men At Work to #1 sales for all three in the U.S. , something never before done by a rookie band , not even the Beatles . And the phenomenon repeated worldwide . The Men At Work numbers are staggering: two #1 singles ; an unprecedented 15 weeks at #1 for their first album ; the winners of the “Best New Artist” Grammy award in early 1983 ; and total international sales of over 15 million copies of Business As Usual, placing Men At Work on the same all-time debut album list with the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Crosby Stills Nash, Chicago, Boston, and Guns’n’Roses . But Men At Work have the dubious distinction of occupying the “one and done” list of top-selling debuts alongside Hootie and the Blowfish and Alannis Morissette , the rock equivalent to what deep-sea divers call “the bends” from coming up too fast . For the upcoming 30th anniversary , Men At Work’s lead singer/songwriter Colin Hay ‘fesses up here.-Redbeard
Update 4/22 – After this interview & program were recorded ,sadly Men At Work sax/flautist Greg Ham was found dead last Thursday in his Melbourne home . Authorities said foul play was not indicated .Our sincere condolences to his bandmates,friends,& family .