Radio 53, side B, track 4: “Down Under” by Men At Work, #48 on The Top 90 of the ’80s

Men At Work - Down UnderOh, Men At Work, the best thing about this song coming up on the track list, besides that it’s awesome and it made it onto the most important countdown ever devised by man, is that it finally gives me an excuse to finally figure out just what the hell you guys were singing.  As has been made abundantly clear on this blog, I’m not the best at knowing what the actual lyrics to songs are.  And by not the best, I mean most likely the worst.  And that was when songs were sung in American English with phrasing and cultural references that I (mostly) understood.  So as you can imagine, I misheard a TON of lyrics in this one.  Through the years, as my knowledge base slowly increased, and as this song would come on from time to time, whether on the radio or TV or maybe even listening to this particular tape, a lyric would click into place and I would have a brief epiphany when I realized “Ohhhhh, THAT’S what you were singing!”  But it’s take a couple decades to get here, and even before this post I was still wrong on a few lines.  So here are a few of the lyrics that I THOUGHT I heard:

—  “Where women blow and men thunder.” (I thought it meant you were all very powerful people down under, like forces of nature.)

—  “You better run.  You better take a bow.”  (I guessed you just ran really well and should be acknowledged for it.)

—  “I met a man from Brazil.”  (I thought you guys were just pronouncing Brazil real weird.)

—  “He just smiled and gave me a bit of my sandwich.”  (Which never made sense to me, because if it was YOUR sandwich, why was he giving you a bit of it?  You’re a grown man, feed yourself your sandwich.)

—  I actually did get the part about men chundering correct, but I thought it was either a made-up word or it had something to do with chowder.

—  “Line in down in Bombay.”  (Maybe you were into volleyball?)

So yeah.  Clearly it’s for the best I never sang this aloud in front of anyone or tried to transcribe the lyrics on my own.  And the song does make much more sense now, although I’m still not completely clear on what a fried-out Kombi is. . .

“Down Under”

Traveling in a fried-out Kombi

On a hippie trail, head full of zombie

I met a strange lady

She made me nervous

She took me in and gave me breakfast

And she said
“Do you come from a land down under

Where women glow and men plunder

Cancha hear cancha hear the thunder

Ya better run
Ya better take coveeer.”

<awesome Men At Work jam>

Buying bread from a man in Brussels

He was
Six foot four
And full’a muscle

I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”

He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite
Sandwich

He said
“I come from a land down under

Where beer does flow and men chunder

Cancha hear cancha hear the thunder

Ya better run
Ya better take coveeeer ayaaaah.”

<awesome Men At Work jam>

Lyin’ in
A den in Bombay

With a slack jaw
And not much to say

I said to the man, “Are ya tryin’ ta tempt me

Because I come from the land of plenty.”

And he said
“Do you come from a land down under (oh yeah yeah)

Where women glow and men plunder

Cancha hear cancha hear the thunder ahhh

Ya better run
Ya better take cover.”

“Livin’ in
A land down under

Where women glow and men plunder

Cancha hear cancha hear the thunder

Ya better better run
Ya better take coveeer.”

“Livin’ in
A land down under

Where women glow and men plunder

Cancha hear cancha hear the thunder, ooo yeah

Better run
Better take cover.”

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2 thoughts on “Radio 53, side B, track 4: “Down Under” by Men At Work, #48 on The Top 90 of the ’80s

  1. […] a kid, I had only recorded one song by you off the radio, which I loved, even though it ended up I didn’t understand the majority of the lyrics.  Now with this song, I honestly don’t know if I knew this song before I recorded it off of […]

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  2. […] nice!  We just heard from you not long ago, and the last time this song came up, it was because it was #48 on the Top 90 of the ’80s.  Last time I talked about how I didn’t understand about 50% of the lyrics.  I’m […]

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