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Album: CargoReleased: 1983Charted:
This was the first single from Men at Work's second album, Cargo
. Their first album, Business As Usual
, was a huge hit and helped earn them a Grammy for Best New Artist. The band quickly went from a local Australian group to a worldwide success. Lead singer Colin Hay wrote this song and explained in his Songfacts interview
: "It was a song about what was happening at the time, the experience we were going through of stepping into the unknown. It's about having a fear about that, but also knowing that what was going to happen was inevitable. Leaving behind where you are and stepping into something which is out of your control to some degree. That's what it felt like at the time."
When we spoke with Colin Hay, he explained that this song could relate to a relationship with a person or a relationship with a place. He was living in St. Kilda, which is part of Melbourne, and felt he was going to leave there soon. Said Colin, "It's about leaving somewhere and leaving your comfort zone. You spend a lot of years trying to get something - fame or recognition or getting to a certain point, and then when you actually achieve it, there's always a certain amount of fear that comes with that, a sense of loss of control, because all of the sudden you're not in control of a situation any more, there's other people involved, it gets bigger and bigger with much more stress."
After Men at Work went off duty in 1986, Colin Hay embarked on a successful solo career and became a favorite among fellow songwriters who admired his craft. This song is a special one for him, as it marked the first time he thought he might make a living being a songwriter.
Colin recorded an acoustic version for his 2003 album Man At Work, a collection of new songs combined with stripped-down versions of Men at Work's hits.