Business as Usual (Men at Work album)

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Business as Usual

Original Australian vinyl cover art
Studio album by Men at Work
Released 9 November 1981 (AUS)
22 April 1982 (USA)
Recorded Spring-Autumn, 1981
Genre New Wave, pop rock
Length 38:11
Label CBS / Columbia
Producer Peter McIan
Men at Work chronology
Business as Usual
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[3]

Business as Usual is the debut album of Australian band Men at Work, released in November 1981 in Australia and April 1982 in the US. The Australian release of the album included a black and white cover design; overseas releases had the same design but in a yellow and black color scheme.

Business as Usual was one of the most successful albums internationally by an Australian group. It spent an unprecedented 15 weeks at No. 1 on the American album charts from late 1982 to early 1983 and five weeks at No. 1 in the UK in early 1983. It spent nine weeks at the top of the Australian album charts from December 1981 through March 1982.[citation needed] Business as Usual was one of the most commercially successful albums in the early 1980s, with 6 million copies sold in the US and 15 million sold worldwide.[citation needed]

The song, "Who Can It Be Now?" was first released as a single in Australia in June 1981, prior to the recording of the rest of the album. The single reached No. 1 on the Australian singles chart in August that year.

In February 2010 a Federal Court judge in Sydney found that the flute riff from "Down Under" had been plagiarised from the classic Australian song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree", written in 1934 by Marion Sinclair. The Federal Court determined that the copyright was still current (Sinclair died in 1988) and had been assigned to Larrikin Music. The judge found that "a substantial amount of the original song" had been reproduced in "Down Under". Larrikin Music had suggested 60% of the royalties would be appropriate compensation, but the court decreed they shall receive only 5%, and only on mechanical rights for the song since 2002, and on future profits.

In October 2010, Business as Usual was listed in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.[4]


Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1983 Men at Work (performer) Best New Artist[5] Won

Brit Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1984 Men at Work (performer) Best International Artist[6] Nominated

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Who Can It Be Now?"   Colin Hay 3:25
2. "I Can See It in Your Eyes"   Hay 3:32
3. "Down Under"   Hay, Ron Strykert 3:45
4. "Underground"   Hay 3:07
5. "Helpless Automaton"   Greg Ham 3:23
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "People Just Love to Play with Words"   Strykert 3:33
7. "Be Good Johnny"   Hay, Ham 3:39
8. "Touching the Untouchables"   Hay, Strykert 3:41
9. "Catch a Star"   Hay 3:31
10. "Down by the Sea"   Hay, Strykert, Ham, Jerry Speiser 6:53
2003 Remaster Bonus Tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
11. "Crazy" (B-side from "Down Under" single) Strykert 2:37
12. "Underground" (live) Hay 3:42
13. "Who Can It Be Now?" (live) Hay 4:06
14. "F-19" (B-side from "Be Good Johnny" Australian single) Hay, Speiser 3:52

Both live tracks on the 2003 Remastered edition are from the 1998 live album Brazil.



  • Producer: Peter McIan
  • Engineers: Jim Barbour, Peter McIan, Paul Ray
  • Cover Illustration: Jon "JD" Dickson


Decade-end charts[edit]

Chart (1980–89) Position
Australian Albums Chart[7] 9


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[25] 3× Platinum 150,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[26] 5× Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[27] Gold 10,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 266,000[12]
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[29] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Business as Usual (Men at Work album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: Men at Work: Business as Usual". Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review
  4. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  5. ^ "Past Winners Search". Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "The BRITs 1984". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  8. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 9 May 2012
  9. ^ " Men at Work – Business as Usual" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Retrieved 9 May 2012. Note: user must select 'MEN AT WORK' from drop-down
  11. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1983" (in Italian). Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  13. ^ " Men at Work – Business as Usual" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  14. ^ " Men at Work – Business as Usual" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  15. ^ " Men at Work – Business as Usual" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Chart Stats: Men at Work – Business as Usual" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  17. ^ "allmusic ((( Business as Usual > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "Album Search: Men at Work – Business as Usual" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "Top 100 Albums '82". RPM. 1982-12-25. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1983". RPM. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  21. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1983 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1983" [1983年アルバム年間ヒットチャート] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  23. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  24. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1983". 31 December 1983. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  25. ^ Billboard Vol. 94, No. 23: Majors Flight Economics with Quirky Rock Originals. Billboard. 1982-12-06. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  26. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Men at Work – Business as Usual". Music Canada. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  27. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1985". IFPI Hong Kong. 
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Men at Work – Business as Usual". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 May 2012.  Enter Business as Usual in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Men at Work – Business as Usual". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 9 May 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH