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.
This song played a big part in the season 2 opener of the TV series Scrubs, which aired in 2002. The episode, which was called "My Overkill," finds Colin Hay performing this song are various points throughout, acting as a sort of muse (although by the end, he is a corpse).
Hay got the gig after the show's star, Zach Braff, heard him perform at a Los Angeles club and brought him to the attention of the show's writer, Bill Lawrence, who became a fan and used Hay's solo song "Beautiful World" in a first season episode. Exposure on the show gave Hay, who had been dropped by his label in 1990 and was releasing albums independently, a huge boost and earned him a deal with Compass Records. He appeared again on the show in the episodes "My Hard Labor" (2007) and "My Finale: Part 2" (2009). Braff also used Hay's song "Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You" in his movie Garden State.
Men At Work played this at "Oz For Africa," a benefit concert in conjunction with Live Aid held in Sydney on July 13, 1985. Because of the time zone differences, this was actually the first of the Live Aid concerts. By this time, Men At Work were no longer the hottest Aussie act: upstarts INXS were the headliners.
Colin Hay 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.