Quick, can you name five Men at Work songs? I didn’t think so. If you came up with two songs, I assume they were “Who Can It Be Now” and “Down Under”, the band’s two most well known tracks. Although Men at Work didn’t generate many mainstream hits, they did write good New Wave, Reggae/Rock songs. They released a total of three studio albums between 1981-1985 and then disbanding after the release of their unsuccessful album, Two Hearts (which by the way is out of print now). For your enjoyment, explore this list of five quality Men At Work songs, that you may not knew even existed.
It’s A Mistake
“It’s A Mistake” comes off the band’s sophomore album Cargo, and it was the third single released off that album. “It’s A Mistake” begins with Colin Hay (lead vocalist/guitarist) playing the guitar off beat of the rhythm, giving it that “reggae-ish” feel. Once the vocals enter the song, the similarity to the Police completely settles in. Men at Work certainly aren’t as technical and dynamic on their instruments as the power trio are, but they do have substance to their songs, and “It’s A Mistake” is a gem in the bands repertoire. “It’s A Mistake” didn’t chart as well as the first two singles off Cargo, but I believe it’s the strongest song on the album.
Touching The Untouchables
“Touching The Untouchables” was written by the band’s co-founders and principle writers, Colin Hay and lead guitarist Ron Strykert. “Touching The Untouchables” was never released as a single and it comes off the band’s debut album Business As Usual. It’s a downtempo track with an infectious guitar hook. If laid-back breezy tunes is your thing, then “Touching The Untouchables” would be a great addition to your Yacht Rock playlist.
If Hall and Oats and The Outfield were to have collaborated on a track, it might have sounded something like this. “Overkill” was the second single released from the band’s album Cargo. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the last highest charting single in the band’s career. “Overkill” is a terrific piece of music and ought to be in the same ranks with Men At Work’s most popular tracks, “Down Under” and “Who Can It Be Now.”
Up until the re-issue of Business Like Usual (2003), “F 19” was never included on any of the band’s studio albums. It first got released as a B-side on the 7” single “Be Good Johnny” (1982) and later as the B-side to “It’s A Mistake” (1983). “F 19” is the band’s only instrumental track, however, I can’t help but think how appealing a vocal arrangement would sound on it. Aside from having no lyrics, the likeable rhythm patterns, a saxophone solo and a few tempo changes makes the track engaging and enjoyable.
Everything I Need
“Everything I Need” is the lead single off Men At Work’s last studio album, Two Hearts (1985). If you’re listening to this track for the first time, you’ll distinctively know it’s the boys from down under. It contains all the ingredients that make up a Men At Work song, except for three original members playing on it. Before recording sessions started drummer Jerry Speiser and bassist John Rees quit the band, and unhappy with the rhythm sections departure; lead guitarist Ron Strykert exited during recording sessions. Drums were played by guitarist/lead singer, Colin Hay, Bass was played by session musician Paul Gadsby and the slide guitar was played by session musician Phil Colson. “Everything I Need” would also be the bands last single to make the charts.