Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’ copies a childrens’ song

A judge has ruled that the flute riff in Men at Work’s Australian anthem “Down Under” plagiarized a popular nursery rhyme, called “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree”, which was written in 1932. It was written by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition.

Sinclair died in 1988. In 1990, an Australian publishing group called Larrikin Publishing bought the copyright to the song. “Down Under” was composed and performed by Men at Work founding member Colin Hay in 1978. Greg Ham added the flute riff after he joined the band in mid-1979.

According to court documents, Ham added the riff to the song to inject some “Australian flavor.” He admitted he had heard the song while growing up in the country in the late 1950s and was “pretty sure” that Kookaburra was in his school’s song book.

Judge Jacobsen found that Ham deliberately included the bars from Kookaburra into the flute line, but accepted that Colin Hay didn’t realize it was from the nursery rhyme until early in the last decade.

The judge ordered both sides to enter mediation on royalty payments and reappear in court on February 25 to discuss whether Larrikin should receive compensation from Hay and Strykert.

‘Poltergeist’ star, Zelda Rubinstein dies

“This House is Clean”


Actress Zelda Rubinstein has died yesterday after complications from a heart attack suffered a couple of months ago. She is best known for playing Tangina Barrons, the psychic called in to exorcise the demons from the house in ‘Poltergeist’. She stood at only 4’3″, and had a child-like voice, but commanded a great screen presence. She also reprized her ‘Poltergeist’ character in all of it’s sequels.

According to the NY Daily News, Rubinstein was an AIDS and little people advocate. She contributed to TV awareness ads about AIDS and demanded better treatment of little people in the entertainment industry.

January 26, 1986: Super Bowl XX

Chicago Bears: 46
New England Patriots: 10

The Bears crushed the Patriots Cinderella dreams 24 years ago today. The Bears finished with an incredible 15-1 season, then shut out the New York Giants 21-0, and L.A. Rams 24-0 in the playoffs.
Other than the outcome of this Super Bowl, in my opinion, another unfortunate event was the “Super Bowl Shuffle“.
The Bears defense, led by Richard Dent, Mike Singletary, and William “The Refrigerator” Perry, was too much for the Patriots.

However, the Patriots did have an incredible run. The got into the playoffs as a wild card. They defeated the New York Jets 26-14 and the L.A. Raiders 27-20 – both on the road. Then they went on surprise the Miami Dolphins 31-14. The Patriots had lost 18 straight games at Miami’s Orange Bowl before that championship game. Patriots fans may remember the chant “Squish the Fish” leading up to that game. Ironically, the Dolphins were the team that handed the Bears their only loss of the season.

The “Berry the Bears” motto did not work as well as “Squish the Fish”. I even had a “Berry the Bears” t-shirt, with head coach Raymond Berry holding a shovel, and standing alongside a grave which contained a refrigerator with the number 72 on it (William “the Refrigerator” Perry’s number).

The Super Bowl started off great for the Patriots, as they recovered a Walter Payton fumble, and got a field goal 1:19 into the game.
But, it was all downhill for the Patriots from there. The Bears dominated the game, and William Perry even ran in a touchdown for the Bears.
It was a Super Bowl I’d like to forget. But, the Patriots did dominate the NFL this past decade, so we have had a lot to cheer about up here in New England.

Scorpions Calling it Quits

The Scorpions announced on their web site that they plan to break up after the release of their next album and tour.

Their next album, “Sting of the Tail” is set to be released on March 19, 2010. They are going to begin their next tour in their home country of Germany, and will travel to five different continents over the next few years.

The band formed in 1965, and released several albums throughout the 70’s. But they began their commercial success in the 80’s, with the album Love at First Sting. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” was a huge hit on MTV.
Their biggest hit was “Wind of Change“, which celebrated the end of communism in Eastern Europe.

January 20, 1981: Ronald Reagan sworn in as the 40th president

Ronald Reagan gave his first inaugural address on this day in 1981. He wrote the address himself. The economy was in horrible shape at that time. He addressed the crises by saying “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

He wanted to give the people the power instead of haveing the government control the people.

Up to this point, the U.S. was in very bad shape. We were in the still in the middle of the Cold War, we had just gotten over a great struggle in Vietnam, the Iran hostage crises had been going on for more than a year.

The day of this Inaugural Address, Iran had released the 52 U.S. hostages, after they were held for 444 days.

When Reagan became president, the country grew strong again.

To me, Reagan epitomized the 80’s, so there will be much more on him later.

Teddy Pendergrass: 1950-2010


R&B Singer Teddy Pendergrass passed away January 13, 2010.
Pendergrass was a very successful recording artist until he was slowed down by spinal cord injury, from a car accident in 1982, which left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Pendergrass was the lead singer of the group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes who, in 1972, released the song “If You Don’t Know Me By Now“. The song became a number 1 hit in 1989 by Simply Red.
Another great song he performed was “Hold Me“, which was a duet with Whitney Houston on her debut album.

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“Down Under” hits #1 this week

Men at Work’s “Down Under” hit number 1 on January 15, 1983 which came from their debut album Business as Usual.

“Down Under” was Men at Work’s biggest hit. It is the first song that comes to mind when you mention the group. The song is also synonymous with Men at Work’s native Australia. If it was not for this song, how many of us would have heard of Vegemite sandwiches?

The band had a great run in the early 80’s. Sure, they are most known for “Down Under”, but “Who Can It Be Now” was also a big hit. “Be Good Johnny” was also a fun song, and now I have an ear-worm!

“be good be good, be good be good, be good be good…”

Three other songs I love are “Overkill”, “It’s a Mistake”, and “Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive”

80's Pop Culture and News

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