Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, October 30th

On this day in 1982: Australian band Men At Work went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Who Can It Be Now” the group’s first U.S. #1. It would spend one week in the top spot.

The song was first released as a single in Australia in June 1981, prior to the recording of their 1981 debut album ‘Business As Usual’, on which the track was later included.

Around 1979, lead vocalist Colin Hay wrote the music for “Who Can It Be Now” in a tree house he and his girlfriend made in Bermagui, New South Wales. The lyrics would not come until 1981, when Hay was living in an apartment complex in St Kilda, Victoria. He lived next to drug dealers, and people would often confuse Hay’s apartment for the dealers’. The number of people that would knock on his door unnerved him to the point where he was scared to open his door, regardless of who was there. At the time, Hay was also anxious about his music career, which had yet to take off. In a 2015 interview, Hay explained: “I was trying to get out of the situation I was in, which is that I didn’t really have any money…It seemed at that particular time everyone who knocked on my door wanted something from me that I either didn’t have or didn’t want to give them. That could be money, or it could simply be time that I didn’t want to give them.”

Here’s a look at the Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1982:

1 2 WHO CAN IT BE NOW –•– Men At Work (Columbia)-17 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 1 JACK & DIANE –•– John Cougar (Riva)-15 (1)
3 3 EYE IN THE SKY –•– The Alan Parsons Project (Arista)-18 (3)
4 4 I KEEP FORGETTIN’ (Every Time You’re Near) –•– Michael McDonald (Warner Brothers)-13 (4)
5 5 UP WHERE WE BELONG Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes (Island)-11 (5)
6 6 HEART ATTACK –•– Olivia Newton-John (MCA)-9 (6)
7 7 SOMEBODY’S BABY –•– Jackson Browne (Asylum)-14 (7)
8 8 YOU CAN DO MAGIC –•– America (Capitol)-14 (8)
9 9 I RAN (So Far Away) –•– A Flock Of Seagulls (Jive)-17 (9)
10 13 HEARTLIGHT –•– Neil Diamond (Columbia)-8 (10)

11 11 BREAK IT TO ME GENTLY –•– Juice Newton (Capitol)-11 (11)
12 12 GYPSY –•– Fleetwood Mac (Warner Brothers)-9 (12)
13 14 GLORIA –•– Laura Branigan (Atlantic)-17 (13)
14 36 TRULY –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-4 (14)
15 15 HOLD ON –•– Santana (Columbia)-12 (15)
16 20 THE ONE YOU LOVE –•– Glenn Frey (Asylum)-11 (16)
17 17 DON’T FIGHT IT –• Kenny Loggins with Steve Perry (Columbia)-10 (17)
18 29 MUSCLES –•– Diana Ross (RCA)-5 (18)
19 19 WHAT’S FOREVER FOR –•– Michael Martin Murphey (Liberty)-15 (19)
20 22 LOVE COME DOWN –•– Evelyn King (RCA)-10 (20)