Colin Hay is best known to Gen-Y’ers as the guy on Scrubs who’s guitar is smashed by Doctor Cox; to others, he’s known as the vocalist of one of Australia’s adopted national anthems, Down Under by Men At Work.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the songs release in 2012, Colin Hay has globally released a newly recorded version of the classic through Compass Records. Available since July this year, the EP, Down Under 2012, featuring three tracks is available to download through iTunes. In conjunction with Telstra, the track was used as Australia’s theme for this year’s London Olympics.
Track one kicks off with the infamous flute riff which seemingly disappears all too quickly. Larrikin Music sued Men At Work in 2010 because the organisation believed the riff infringed copyright of their tune Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree. Each time I listen to this new version of the song, I find myself humming the riff in my head or whistling along. Smart move Hay, by removing the plagiarised flute riff, Larrikin Music won’t be able to gain royalties this time round.
Track two is a solo acoustic version which gives the song a more raw and emotional feeling. Didgeridoos are thrown in which adds an Australian timbre to it.
Track three is an 8-minute long live edition featuring an anecdotal history of how the song came about intertwined with the plucking of Hay’s acoustic guitar. He even makes fun at drunk Aussie’s for not knowing the real lyrics to the chorus. He finishes off his performance with the chorus featuring the real lyrics.
Overall, despite the removal of its most prominent feature, the special release does the song justice in reinvigorating Australia’s alternate national anthem.