12th May – The Number One Album in Australia – 1983 (Men At Work – Cargo)

cd-cover

The number one album in Australia on the 12th May 1983 was Cargo from Men At Work.

Cargo was the follow up to the band’s breakthrough debut release Business As Usual, internationally one of the most successful album releases ever by an Australian act.

Men at Work formed in 1979 and were signed to CBS in 1981 on the recommendation of A&R man Peter Karpin.

Business As Usual at the time broke the 16 year old record held by The Monkees for the most weeks a debut album spent at the top of the American charts with an unprecedented 15 weeks from late 1982 to early 1983.

Ironic considering that the American arm of Sony twice rejected the record for release eventually issuing it in the States in June 1982.

Business As Usual also spent five weeks at No. 1 in the UK in early 1983 and also spent nine weeks at the top of the Australian album charts from December 1981 through March 1982.

It has apparently sold in excess of 15 million copies worldwide.

One of the key components of the band’s success was their irreverent music videos becoming favorites on the recently launched MTV, with the extensive exposure assisting songs Who Can It Be Now? and Down Under to achieve Number One.

Men At Work were nominated for Best New Artist at the 1983 Grammy Awards along with Asia, Jennifer Holliday, The Human League and The Stray Cats – and won.

The significant momentum from their debut album carried onto Cargo which was released on the 2nd May 1983 which hit Number One in Australia, Top 5 in the States, New Zealand and Norway and Top 10 in Sweden and the UK.

Four singles were released from the album – Overkill, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr Jive, It’s A Mistake and High Wire – charting in various countries around the world including Australia, USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands.

Men at Work received a special Award from CBS in August 1983, the Crystal Globe, in honour of generating $100 million worth of record business outside of their home country; this put the band in the same category as other CBS artists at that time like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel.

The album received strong critical acclaim, with Rolling Stone saying Cargo “song for song, it is a stronger overall effort than Business as Usual”.

“In the midst of the most fractious year in recent rock & toll annals, Men at Work burst onto the 1982 music scene like a squadron of Australian Philip Habibs. Everybody liked them. Album-oriented-radio adherents appreciated the guitar-based sound of Business as Usual, young MTV watchers got off on their endearingly zany video personae, and critics cited their reggae-flecked, Police-as-a-five-piece arrangements.

Cargo, the band’s second LP, may lack a track with the body-slamming intensity of “Who Can It Be Now” and “Down Under,” but song for song, it is a stronger overall effort than Business as Usual”

– 4 Stars, Rolling Stone USA (RS 394) – Apr 28, 1983, Christopher Connelly.

Track listing:

Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive

Overkill

Settle Down My Boy (Strykert)

Upstairs In My House (Hay, Strykert)

No Sign Of Yesterday

It’s A Mistake

High Wire

Blue For You

I Like To

No Restrictions (Strykert)

All songs written and composed by Colin Hay except as noted.

Personnel:

Greg Ham – flute, keyboards, saxophone, background vocals, lead vocals – track 9

Colin Hay – lead vocals, guitar, synclavier

Johnathan Rees – bass, background vocals

Jerry Speiser – drums, background vocals

Ron Strykert – guitar, background vocals, lead vocals – track 3

Nathan D. Brenner – International Manager

Production:

Producer: Peter McIan

Engineers: Peter McIan, Paul Ray

Assistant Engineer: David Price

Photography: Greg Noakes

Artwork: Ron Strykert

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