May 1982: Men at Work Release "Who Can It Be Now?" in America

From left to right: Colin Hay plays guitar, John Rees plays bass guitar, and Jerry Speiser plays the drums at a Men at Work concert. (Photo by Geoff Butler/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
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(Geoff Butler/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Like so many great songs, Men at Work's 1982 classic, "Who Can It Be Now?," just kind of happened.

"I was up in the bush in Southern New South Wales with my girlfriend, just sitting outside at night," Men at Work's frontman Colin Hay told Songfacts. "We had this little tree hut in the middle of the bush. It was a great place to kill the time, mess around with ideas. It was just an idea that popped out, it took about half and hour to write that song. I was living in St. Kilda in Melbourne, which is a great part of Melbourne. It was about six or seven hours drive away, sitting in the middle of the bush in New South Wales and that song just popped out. My girlfriend at the time said, 'that will be your first hit, that song,' and she was right."

RELATED: January 1983: Men at Work Top the Charts with "Down Under"

Originally released as a single in the band's native Australia in 1981, "Who Can It Be Now?" was indeed a hit, cruising all the way to the #2 position on the country's singles charts. Once it reached #8 in Canada over the summer of 1982, America wasn't too far behind.

Not issued as a single in the US until May 11, 1982, "Who Can It Be Now" enjoyed quite the chart run over the summer and into the fall of that year. Spending a full 27 weeks on the Hot 100, the song hit #1 over the week of October 30, 1982.

Helping propel the tune up the charts was the music video, that came with a look as unique and engaging as the song. Shown in heavy rotation on MTV, the clip captures the raw creativity that populated the network's early '80s aesthetic.

"It was usually three or four people involved, and we just roughed a storyboard of what we wanted to do," Hay remembered. "We didn't have much money to make the videos, only $5000-$6000 to make the whole thing, so we would find friends in that department that we could use, or we would find a good location and just shoot it. There was a certain amount of narrative involved as well. We would play to our strengths, whatever each one of us could particularly do, we would cater to that. Really it was kind of spontaneous in the sense that it wasn't that thought out. It was more trying to inject the personality of the band."

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