“Down Under“ is a song recorded by Australian rock band Men at Work….which was originally released in 1980 as the B-side to their first local single titled “Keypunch Operator”….as it was released before the band signed with Columbia Records….while both early songs were written by the group’s co-founders Colin Hay and Ron Strykert….for the early version of “Down Under” has a slightly different tempo and arrangement from the later Columbia release…..but the most well known version was then released on Columbia in 1981….as the third single from their debut album Business as Usual.
The hit song went to # 1 in their home country of Australia in December 1981….and followed by topping the New Zealand charts in February 1982…..plus, the song topped the Canadian charts in October 1982. In the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1982 at # 79….and then reached # 1 in January 1983….where it spent four non-consecutive weeks. It eventually sold over two million copies in the US alone….as Billboard ranked it at # 4 for 1983…..while in the UK, the song topped the charts in January and February 1983….as it is the only Men at Work song to make the UK 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….as it remains popular still today in 2020…. and is often played at sporting events. In January 2018, as part of Triple M’s “Ozzest 100”….which is the “most Australian” songs of all time….where it was ranked # 2.