Overkill (Men at Work song)

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MAW - Overkill single.png
Single by Men at Work
from the album Cargo
B-side "Till the Money Runs Out"
Released 1983
Format 7"/12"
Genre Pop rock, new wave
Length 3:44
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) Colin Hay
Producer(s) Peter McIan
Men at Work singles chronology
"Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive"
"It's a Mistake"

"Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive"
"It's a Mistake"
Music video
"Overkill" on YouTube

"Overkill" is a song by Australian pop rock band Men at Work. It was released in 1983 as the second single from their second studio album, Cargo (see 1983 in music). It was written by lead singer Colin Hay. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100; No. 5 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart; and top 10 in Canada, Ireland, and Norway. The song was a departure from the group's style of reggae-influenced pop rock, featuring a melancholic feel musically and lyrically.


Men at Work's second studio album, Cargo, was released in Australia in April 1983, reaching No. 1 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart.[1] The album's lead single, "Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive," was issued in Australia ahead of the album in October 1982 and reached No. 6 on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart.[1] Despite recording having been completed in mid-1982, Cargo's release was held back due to the international commercial success of the band's 1981 debut album, Business as Usual.[2][3][4]

"Overkill" was released in April 1983 and debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 28 on 9 April. It peaked at No. 3 in early June.[5][6] The album's third single, "High Wire", followed in late 1983, peaking at only No. 89 in Australia,[1] and No. 23 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.[6] The band toured the world extensively in 1983 to promote the album and related singles.[2] The song was #55 in the year-end Top 100 chart in Canada. [7]

Music video[edit]

The video was mostly shot in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda.

Track listing[edit]

7" Australian and 7"/12" International Versions 1983[edit]

  1. "Overkill" (Colin Hay) – 3:44
  2. "Till the Money Runs Out" (Colin Hay, Ron Strykert, Greg Ham, John Rees, Jerry Speiser) – 3:05


Chart history[edit]

Chart (1983) Position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[1] 5
Canada (RPM Magazine)[8] 6
Germany (Media Control Charts)[9][10] 30
Ireland (IRMA) 9
Italy (FIMI) 10
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[9][11] 15
New Zealand (RIANZ)[9][12] 24
Norway (VG-lista)[9][13] 5
United Kingdom (OCC)[14] 21
United States Billboard Hot 100[6] 3
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[6] 6
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[6] 3

Lazlo Bane version[edit]

Lazlo Bane Overkill single cover 2.jpg
Single by Lazlo Bane
from the album 11 Transistor
Released 1997
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:13
Label Almo Sounds, BANG!
Songwriter(s) Colin Hay
Producer(s) Chad Fischer
Lazlo Bane singles chronology

Alternate cover
Overkill - Lazlo Bane.jpg
Music video
"Overkill" on YouTube

American alternative rock band Lazlo Bane covered the song and originally released it as a b-side of their debut single "Buttercup" on Fish of Death Records.

After signing with Almo Sounds the song was released as promo single and included on the EP Short Style,[15] and it was later released on the band's debut album 11 Transistor, which came out in January 1997. [16] As a commercial single "Overkill" was released in some territories in 1997 and 1998.

The song was recorded with participation of Colin Hay, who plays guitar on the track and sings the last verse solely and last chorus together with Chad Fischer.

Lazlo Bane's music video[edit]

Lazlo Bane's music video, directed by Mark Miremont[17] and also featuring Hay, was released 28 May 1997 and eventually entered MTV2's Top 10 of the 1997.[18][19]

The video shows Lazlo Bane playing the song in a large hall of the hotel during the night while disturbing other residents, who were played by the members of the band with Colin Hay playing the front desk clerk. During the first half of the song Hay receives several angry calls about the noise but does nothing about it. During the guitar solo the hotel starts to shake, finally forcing Hay to enter the hall where the band is playing, but only to sing the rest of the song together with the band.

Track listing[edit]

1996 Promo CD (Almo Sounds PRO-CD-8027)
  1. "Overkill" (Colin Hay) – 4:14
1997 CD (Festival Records D1648)
  1. "Overkill" (Colin Hay) – 4:14
  2. "Flea Market Girl" (Chad Fischer, Kevin Hunter) – 3:56
  3. "Buttercup" (Fischer, Lyle Workman) – 3:44
  4. "Mean Mr. Mustard" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 2:24
1998 CD (BANG! 20545)
  1. "Overkill" (Colin Hay) – 4:14
  2. "Novakane" (Chad Fischer) – 2:37
  3. "Prada Wallet" (Fischer / Josh Clayton-Felt / Kevin Hunter) – 1:11

Other cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  2. ^ a b McFarlane, 'Men at Work' entry. Archived from the original on 13 May 2003. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  3. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Men at Work". Howlspace – The Living History of Our Music (Ed Nimmervoll). White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Holmgren, Magnus; Warnqvist, Stefan. "Men at Work". Australian Rock Database. Passagen (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  5. ^ The Billboard Hot 100, at Billboard.com
  6. ^ a b c d e "Men at Work – Charts & Awards – Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/films-videos-sound-recordings/rpm/Pages/image.aspx?Image=nlc008388.6699&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fwww.collectionscanada.gc.ca%2fobj%2f028020%2ff4%2fnlc008388.6699.gif&Ecopy=nlc008388.6699
  8. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 38, No. 11" (PHP). RPM. 14 May 1983. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d Hung, Steffen. "Men at Work – 'Overkill'". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Men at Work – 'Overkill'" (ASP) (in German). Media Control Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Men at Work – 'Overkill'" (ASP) (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Men at Work – 'Overkill'" (ASP). New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Men at Work – 'Overkill'" (ASP) (in Norwegian). VG-lista. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Men at Work > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Man (Back) At Work". mtv.com. 22 September 1996. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  16. ^ "Debut album due soon". mtv.com. 20 January 1997. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  17. ^ Mark Miremont Archived 30 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine. official site
  18. ^ The History of Lazlo Bane on Myspace
  19. ^ "Colin Hay Biography". colinhay.com. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  20. ^ "Overkill" - Scrubs

External links[edit]