Men At Work Member, Greg Ham 1953-2012

Gregory Norman “Greg” Ham (September 27, 1953 – April 19, 2012) was an Australian songwriter, actor and saxophone player known for playing multiple instruments in the 1980s band Men at Work. In addition to the saxophone, he played flute, organ, piano and the synthesiser.

In 1972, Ham met and befriended Colin Hay via mutual friend Kym Gyngell and, in 1979, joined the original lineup of Men at Work with Hay, Ron Strykert and Jerry Speiser. Ham and Hay formed the core of the band from 1979 until 1985 when Ham left, with the band disbanding shortly afterward. Ham returned to Men at Work when they reformed in 1996 to tour the United States.

MEN AT WORK

As a multi-instrumentalist, Ham played saxophone, keyboards, flute and harmonica for the group as well as performing vocals. He performed the saxophone solo in the song “Who Can It Be Now?” (a rehearsal take was used in the final mix) and improvised the flute riff in the song “Down Under”. In 2009, music publisher Larrikin Music, then headed by Norman Lurie (now retired), sued Men at Work and their record label EMI for plagiarism, alleging that the flute riff copied the 1934 nursery rhyme “Kookaburra”, to which they owned the publishing rights. The Federal Court of Australia ruled that “Down Under” did infringe the copyright of “Kookaburra” and awarded Larrikin 5% of the song’s royalties backdated to 2002. Several appeals by EMI and Men at Work were unsuccessful. In an interview with The Age newspaper, Ham said that he was deeply affected by the judgment and felt it had tarnished his reputation, saying: “I’m terribly disappointed that that’s the way I’m going to be remembered—for copying something.”

DISCOGRAPHY

1981 Business as Usual
1983 Cargo
1985 Two Hearts

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