Last week the music industry lost a few notable (at least to me) people. Levon Helm a drummer and singer for the Band, and of course the widely publicized passing of Dick Clark. I grew up watching American Bandstand and seeing Dick Clark on the New Year's Eve Countdown was a staple until a couple years ago. However the passing of Greg Ham from Men At Work touched me deeply.
My favorite group by far from the 80's was Men At Work and affected my life in many ways. In seventh grade I changed schools and Jennifer became my best friend. We both loved this group and obsessed over every new song, poster, and video release. Men At Work put Australia on the map for me. During my sophomore year of high school I went to Australia as an exchange student. A decision that was influenced by my love of this band. Ironically that was the year Men At Work broke up. At the time my friend Jennifer was in the car on the way to their concert that was never to be. We were heartbroken.
Fast forward many years later, I was living in L.A. and had the opportunity to see Colin Hay, the lead singer, give an acoustic performance at a very small venue that was fantastic. Twice. Around 2003 I saw both Colin Hay and Greg Ham perform as Men At Work in a club called The Key Club. It was a brilliant performance by both with a standing ovation. A very memorable night.
Greg Ham was a musician of many hats. He sang vocals, played the keyboards, saxophone, flute, clarinet, and probably some other instruments I'm not aware of. Greg was talented and seemed to have a wacky sense of humor. He was a part of a group during my teenage years that had a big influence on me. His passing, for me, was like losing a very distant member of the family.
Below is the video "Who Can It Be Now" featuring the saxophone work of Greg Ham and the general wackiness of this group that I loved.
RIP Greg Ham.