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I remember learning the Kookaburra song as a Pioneer Girl. See if you can hear the similarity.|
Men At Work face £33m bill after judge rules Australian band copied Down Under melody
By Richard Shears
Last updated at 7:54 AM on 05th February 2010
Australian pop group Men At Work face paying £33million in royalties after a court ruled yesterday they ripped off their most famous song from the Girl Guides.
A judge says the flute music from the hit Down Under, which went to No1 in the UK and U.S. in 1983, copied the tune Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree, written by teacher Marion Sinclair in 1935 for a Guides competition.
The Kookaburra song by Miss Sinclair, who died at 93 in 1990, became a popular nursery rhyme and favourite around Girl Guide campfires worldwide.
Men At Work: The Australian band are accused of ripping off the flute melody from the 1935 Girl Guides' anthem, Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree
Now Down Under songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, along with music giant EMI, face paying millions to publishing firm Larrikin Music, the copyright holders of the Kookaburra song, which sued them for breach of copyright last year.
At the Australian Federal Court in Sydney yesterday, Justice Peter Jacobson said: 'The flute riff in Down Under infringes on the copyright of Kookaburra because it replicates a substantial part of Miss Sinclair's 1935 work.'
Men at Work's Down Under topped the charts around the world in 1982
But Mr Hay said last night: 'I'll go to my grave knowing Down Under is an original piece of work.
'In over 20 years no one noticed the reference to Kookaburra.
'Marion Sinclair never made any claim that we had appropriated any part of her song, and she was alive when Down Under was a hit. Apparently she didn't notice either.'
Do they really sound the same?
Kookaburra htt p://ww w.yout ube.co m/watch?v=l1Uq6AB_4hM
Men At Work ht tp://ww w.yout ube.co m/watch?v=DNT7uZf7lew
The Men At Work song, which topped the charts in the UK and America in early 1982, was used as theme music by the crew of Australia II in their races in the America's Cup.
Inspired by the song, which includes the line 'He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich...', and by the yacht crew's win, the prime minister of the time, Bob Hawke, gave the entire country the day off and declared that any boss who fired an employee for not turning up for work 'is a bum'.
With no men at work at Mr Hawke's suggestion, the Down Under song was sung, chanted and hummed everywhere.
It was played in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and also used extensively during the One Day International cricket series between England and Australia in September 2009, when Australia won by six matches to one.
Among the quirky words that helped push the Men at Work's song to the top of the charts are: 'Do you come from a land Down Under? Where women glow and men plunder?
'Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? 'You better run, you better take cover.'
'Buying bread from a man in Brussels, he was six foot four and full of muscles. I said "Do you speak-a my language?" He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.'
[ Last edited by wiseoldlady at 2010-2-6 10:15 AM ]