Kookaburra Sits And Laughs While Men Work

February 5, 2010 at 1:33 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , )

Once again, dear readers, we will take a few minutes to revisit the concept of the borrowed melody, or as I’ve called it, kleptomelodica.

Apparently, some cases of misappropriated tunes take some time to come to light and be resolved. I was surprised to see in today’s news, that a band I was quite fond of, back in the ’80s, have lost a lawsuit over their biggest hit.

The BBC reports that Men At Work, an Australian band whose big hit, Down Under, had borrowed a bit of its melody from the old song, Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. Let’s start by having a listen to Down Under

Now that’s a bunch of bonza blokes who seem to be having a good time. Oh, yes… I do remember this one from my misspent youth, lo so many years gone by. And I even used to buy Vegemite at the local health food store, where I also had a bit of a crush on the young lady who worked there. Fun little tune. And funny that I didn’t notice the similarity to Kookaburra. Hell, even I knew that melody from my childhood. Here’s the Aussie song about the bird, then…

Now that I think about it, and listen to Kookaburra alongside the flute riff from Down Under, I can see (or rather hear) the similarity.

But I wonder why, in this performance, the lyrics are changed from “gay your life must be” to “rich your life must be”.

Probably to keep the boys from sniggering uncontrollably.

Ah, well. Whatever. The bottom line is – the courts have decreed that Men At Work shall compensate the estate of Kookaburra composer Marion Sinclair.

Good on yer, mates.  And maybe an “I’m sorry” might not be out of place.

More soon.



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1 Comment

  1. FR Editor said,

    Great post! We did a legal analysis of this – the big issue is going to be damages – they wanted 40% !! http://fortnightlyreview.info/2010/03/25/economist-paul-jensen-gives-us-his-perspective-on-damages-in-the-men-at-work-case/

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