Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, January 15th

On this day in 1983: Men At Work started a four week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Down Under’ which was the Australian group’s second U.S. #1 hit.

‘Down Under’ was originally released in 1980 as the B-Side to their first local single titled “Keypunch Operator”, released before the band signed with Columbia Records. Both early songs were written by the group’s co-founders, Colin Hay and Ron Strykert. The early version of “Down Under” has a slightly different tempo and arrangement from the later Columbia release. The most well known version was then released on Columbia in 1981 as the third single from their debut album ‘Business As Usual’.

The song went to #1 in their home country of Australia in December 1981, and then topped the New Zealand charts in February 1982. The song topped the Canadian charts in October 1982. In the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 6, 1982 at #79, and reached #1 in January 1983 where it spent four non-consecutive weeks. It eventually sold over two million copies in the U.S. alone. Billboard ranked it the #4 song for the entire year of 1983.

In the U.K., the song topped the charts in January and February 1983, and is the only Men at Work song to make the U.K. top 20. The song also went to #1 in Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland, and was a top 10 hit in many other countries. “Down Under” is perceived as a patriotic song in Australia; it remains popular and is often played at sporting events.

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 from this day back in 1983:

1 4 DOWN UNDER –•– Men At Work (Columbia)-11 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 2 THE GIRL IS MINE –•– Michael Jackson / Paul McCartney (Epic)-11 (2)
3 3 DIRTY LAUNDRY –•– Don Henley (Asylum)-12 (3)
4 1 MANEATER –•– Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA)-14 (1)
5 5 SEXUAL HEALING –•– Marvin Gaye (Columbia)-12 (5)
6 6 MICKEY –•– Toni Basil (Chrysalis)-20 (1)
7 12 AFRICA –•– Toto (Columbia)-12 (7)
8 13 BABY, COME TO ME –•– Patti Austin with James Ingram (Qwest)-18 (8)
9 14 ROCK THE CASBAH –•– The Clash (Epic)-16 (9)
10 11 HEARTBREAKER –•– Dionne Warwick (Arista)-15 (10)

11 7 GLORIA –•– Laura Branigan (Atlantic)-28 (2)
12 15 YOU AND I –•– Eddie Rabbitt with Crystal Gayle (Elektra)-15 (12)
13 8 STEPPIN’ OUT –•– Joe Jackson (A&M)-22 (6)
14 16 THE OTHER GUY –•– Little River Band (Capitol)-9 (14)
15 17 YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE –•– Phil Collins (Atlantic)-11 (15)
16 21 SHAME ON THE MOON –•– Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (Capitol)-5 (16)
17 20 HEART TO HEART –•– Kenny Loggins (Columbia)-8 (17)
18 18 THE LOOK OF LOVE (Part 1) –•– ABC (Mercury)-19 (18)
19 22 GOODY TWO SHOES –•– Adam Ant (Epic)-10 (19)
20 23 HAND TO HOLD ON TO –•– John Cougar (Riva)-11 (20)

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