'Down Under' (also known as 'Land Down Under') is a pop song recorded by Men at Work for their debut album Business as Usual. The song went to number 1 on American, British, Canadian and Australian charts.
It was reissued in 1982, and is the only Men at Work song to go to number 1 in the United Kingdom, and their only single to make the UK top 20. It has become a popular and patriotic song in Australia.
The lyrics are about an Australian traveller circling the globe, proud of his nationality, and about his interactions with people he meets on his travels who are interested in his home country.
One of the verses refers to Vegemite sandwiches, among other things; the particular lyric "He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich" has become a well-known phrase.
Colin Hay told Songfacts: "The chorus is really about the selling of Australia in many ways, the over-development 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."
Slang and drug terms are used in the lyrics:
Travelling in a fried-out Kombi, on a hippy trail, head full of zombie.
Here '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. Cultural slang is also used: after the second verse the refrain is "where the beer does flow and men chunder"; 'chunder' means vomit.
The music video was filmed in a number of places, including Lake Mackenzie on Fraser Island. The video also features several litre-size cans of what appear to be Foster's Lager (although the brand is removed), a beer drunk mainly outside Australia while being marketed as Australian.
The song is a perennial favourite on Australian radio and television, and topped the charts in the U.S. and UK simultaneously in early 1983. It was later used as a theme song by the crew of Australia II in their successful bid to win the America's Cup in 1983. Men at Work played this song in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, alongside other Australian artists. It was also often played after Australian athletes had received medals during competition, as they walked around the venue on a parade lap after the medal ceremony.
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