Cargo

Men at Work recorded their second album, Cargo, during the summer of 1982. But release of the album had to wait to the following spring when Business as Usual was a monster hit the U.S. and other markets outside Australia. The album actually probably caused Business as Usual to lose sales, as several songs could have been issued as singles but weren’t. Cargo’s lead single was “Overkill”, a sax-fronted song filled with melancholy. It debuted at #29 in the U.S. (very high for that time period) and finished at number three becoming the band’s third consecutive top 10 hit. Cargo would eventually go 3x Platinum.

“Overkill” was followed by the summer hit “It’s a Mistake“. The song’s video featured the same goofy band members seen in previous videos, but the song’s content related to the Cold War and threat of nuclear war. The song references President Reagan and overall is sort of a cynical look at nuclear politics. Unlike past Men at Work hits, the song’s solo was a traditional guitar solo from lead guitarist Ron Stykert. “It’s a Mistake” hit number six on the charts.

Cargo was seen by many as a song-for-song stronger album, though it lacked the monster hits like “Down Under.” A third single “Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Jive” followed in the fall and was a top 30 hit. That fall they recorded a live special for HBO in Berkeley. But, after two years of touring including high-profile appearances such as the US’83 Festival, the Men were tired.

By the time the group got back together for their next album, two members were jettisoned and by the time Gold-sellerĀ Two Hearts was released in the summer of 1985, Men at Work basically consisted of vocalist Colin Hay and sax/flutist Greg Ham. Poorly received singles and use of drum machines turned off many fans, and by 1986 Men at Work was done. Hay carved out a solo career, including appearances on Scrubs and on the Garden State soundtrack. Hay/Ham reunited several times over the years, including a widely popular tour of Brazil in 1996 and at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000.