The global hit Land Down Under brought Men at Work great sorrow despite its enduring success, front man Colin Hay has revealed.
At 62 Colin is a solo artist looking back on the hits and misses of a remarkable rock and roll career that reached dizzying heights and then just as quickly fell apart.
For a brief and brilliant time in the early 80’s Men at Work sold out stadiums everywhere they toured, securing their place as Aussie rock icons.
"We felt that we were on a path of success, we just felt that right from the start and it's almost you know it's beyond human understanding."
"Playing lots of shows before we were famous, that was the most exciting time, when you're in that period of ascension."
After years working the pub circuit, Colin, Greg Ham, Ron Strykert, John Rees and Jerry Speiser had hit the big time, taking out a Grammy for their unique and upbeat sound.
They had the world at their feet.
"We conquered the world but … it's like a big storm that came with incredible power and incredible force and then just went away you know."
"Disappeared as quickly as it came."
The song that became a national anthem in 1981 later delivered a devastating blow when the Federal Court ruled that a riff from 'Land Down Under' was taken from the children's song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.
It was an obscure national scandal, but a deeply personal blow for the band.
Greg Ham, who came up with the melody, was devastated by the verdict and less than two years after losing the court case he was found dead in his apartment.
"I think about Greg a lot, you know every day I think about Greg,"
Colin's biggest challenge has been coping with the dizzying success and sudden collapse of Men at Work.
Conflicts over money and clashes with management led to Men at Work breaking up in 1986.
'I mean I suppose the regret that I have is that we didn’t have.. We didn't have the conversations that we could have had"
"I think that really more than anything, I think I just really wanted to be on my own."
Trouble with drinking eventually led Colin to the US in search of a new work environment
"There was addictive behaviour which I knew was going to shorten my life, so I had to figure out how to stop and it was difficult."
He began to make a name for himself as a solo artist, touring in the US, appearing on talk shows and even scoring a recurring gig on the TV show Scrubs.
Hay says he is satisfied that Men at Work's music has stood the test of time.
'The songs have remained. The music has remained still quite powerful.'
'I won a Grammy in 1982 but I still think my best days are ahead of me so sometimes I think, "Am I kidding myself?" but I don't think I am.'