COLIN HAY is to re-release the famous Men At Work song ‘Down Under’, however it will be without its contentious flute riff.
The singer has recorded three versions of the iconic Australian song, which will be available on iTunes next Friday.
First released in 1982, ‘Down Under’ became an instant anthem after topping charts in Australia, the US , Britain and Canada.
In 2009 a multi-million dollar legal challenge claimed the song’s flute motif plagiarised the folk tune ‘Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree’.
A court ruled that five per cent of the recording’s royalties be awarded to Australian publisher Larrikin Music, which holds the copyright to the old nursery rhyme.
‘Down Under’ is now being resurrected by Telstra in a television advertising campaign for the London Olympic Games and as a way for Hay to prove the song’s worth without its expensive flute part.
“I just did it because I could,” he told News Limited newspapers.
“I wanted to put it out there and say: ‘here it is without the infringing flute line and it doesn’t make any difference’. It’s still the song.”
Hay, who says the court case cost “millions”, is releasing ‘Down Under’ as a solo project.
He has lost contact with co-writer Ron Strykert while Greg Ham, who played the flute, died in April.
The Telstra ad, which will be shown in Australia during the London Games, was actually filmed in London with Hay and over 100 Australian expats involved in the production.
AFL London teams the Wandsworth Demons and London Swans are featured in the ad as well as expat Aussies singing along to Australia’s unofficial sporting anthem on a boat on the River Thames and in a London pub.
“Down Under is ultimately a song about celebration, and in the case of the 2012 Olympics, a mass calling of sorts to inspire our Olympians so they know they are not alone,” Hay said.
“For my part, to travel around Australia and to London singing ‘Down Under’ and leading the chorus was a great honour. Hopefully our athletes will feel connected by the voices of many.”
The television ad campaign builds excitement with 15 second edits due to air in Australia from Monday 23 July followed by the full 60-second spot which launches during the Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Telstra Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Buckman, said the Voices of Australia campaign showcased the strong support from Australians at home and in London for the Australian Olympic Team: “The campaign has been designed to ignite patriotism among Australians and encourage them to support our athletes in London.
“I encourage all Australians to harness the Olympic spirit and spur on our athletes and teams to greatness in London,” says Buckman. – With AAP