Colin Hay

As the singer, guitarist, and main songwriter of Australia's Men at Work, Colin Hay was responsible for penning several of the quirkiest pop hits of the early '80s. Although he and his former band will forever be associated with "the land down under," Hay originally hailed from Scotland, where he was born in the town of Kilwinning on June 29, 1953. Hay relocated to Australia in 1967, by which time he had begun playing guitar and singing. Although the country is probably best known for spawning hard rock bands (AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Radio Birdman, etc.), Hay sought to form a band that was more in line with the burgeoning new wave style, but one that also embraced pop. Shortly after joining up with guitarist Ron Strykert in 1978, Hay's master plan was realized, as Men at Work were formed. Rounding out the band was saxophonist/flutist Greg Ham, bassist John Rees, and drummer Jerry Speiser, who in 1982 issued their debut full-length, Business as Usual. Earning quite a few comparisons to then-reigning chart kings the Police, Men at Work quickly became MTV favorites (during the station's early days). Since he was the group's main singer and songwriter, Hay quickly became the focal point of the band, as such humorous videos for "Who Can It Be Now" and "Down Under" pushed the debut album to the top of the U.S. charts -- making Men at Work an overnight sensation. Perhaps sensing that they should strike again while they were still fresh in people's minds, Men at Work went directly back in the studio to work on another album. Issued in 1983, Cargo was another sizable hit, but did not fare nearly as well as its predecessor -- commercially or artistically.