Today is the sad day of the death of Greg Ham, the brilliant flautist and saxaphone player of one of my all time favorite groups Men at Work.
I grew up listening to Men at Work as a kid in Australia. The song “Down Under” was like a national anthem to us. To me as a kid it made me feel very cool to be Australian, and encapsulated the spirit that Australians have of being rebellious and free spirited.
As I grow up, more and more of the people who were part of my youth are dying. I will always feel a tinge of warmth and remembrance of lost youth when I listen to the classic “Down Under”
Down Under – Men At Work (HQ Audio) (by Luiscmck8Os2)
A 1983 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featuring Men at Work musician Greg Ham. (AAP) Men at Work flautist Greg Ham has been found dead in his Melbourne home. Men at Work flautist Greg Ham has been found dead in his Melbourne home. The musician behind the famous flute riff from the Australian band’s smash hit Down Under died on Thursday, aged 58. Two friends found Ham’s body when they went to his Carlton North home on Thursday morning after not hearing from him for the last week. Police are yet to say how he died or if the circumstances are suspicious, and homicide squad detectives are at the scene. “There are a number of unexplained aspects to it which has caused our attendance here today, and we’re assisting the local detectives to determine what has occurred,” homicide squad Detective Senior Sergeant Shane O’Connell told reporters. A post-mortem examination will be held to determine the cause of death. “At this point in time, because of the early stages of our investigation, we’re not prepared to go into the exact details of what has occurred,” Det Sen Sgt O’Connell said. A friend went to check on Ham on Thursday morning after not being able to get in contact with him for the past week, leaving when no one answered the door. He later returned with another friend and they found the body. Ham lived by himself at the home. Men at Work achieved international fame in the 1980s but Ham feared he’d end up being remembered mostly for the copyright dispute over the flute riff in their 80s hit Down Under. A court in 2010 found the riff was unmistakably the same as Kookaburra, penned by Toorak teacher Marion Sinclair more than 75 years ago for a Girl Guides competition. The decision left Ham shattered. “It has destroyed so much of my song,” he told Fairfax at the time. “It will be the way the song is remembered and I hate that. “I’m terribly disappointed that that’s the way I’m going to be remembered – for copying something.” Men at Work’s recording company, EMI Songs Australia, and Down Under songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert were ordered to pay five per cent of royalties earned from the song since 2002 and from its future earnings. Men at Work in October lost their final court bid to prove they did not steal the distinctive riff from the popular children’s tune. Neighbour John Nassar said he knew Ham for about 30 years and the pair would stop and say hello. “He was a lovely human being, never judgmental about anyone, ” Mr Nassar told reporters. “He was a very friendly human being.” Ham joined Men at Work in 1979 as a replacement for Greg Sneddon, playing flute, harmonica, saxophone and keyboards. Down Under and the album it was on, Business As Usual, reached No.1 on the Australian, American and British charts in early 1983. That year, Men at Work won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Men at Work disbanded in 1985.
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