Thursday, February 4, 2010

I met a Girl Guide, she made me nervous

It's one thing to steal cookies from the Girl Guides but a flute riff?

Well, that's just ... just ... just weird news to be surfacing almost 30 years later.

According to this Canwest story, Men At Work stole a flute riff from Girl Guides' tune, Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, for their 1980s hit, Down Under.

Refresh your memory. It's pure '80s cheese, particularly the dance scene around 1:45.

The flute riff, said federal court Justice Peter Jacobsen, "replicates in material form a substantial part" of the 1935 camping ditty.

So, somebody's going to get some cash from EMI and Men At Workers Colin Hay and Ron Strykert ... as in more than 60 per cent of the song's royalties.


That's a lot of coin.

In the Herald Sun of Australia, Hay waxed poetic about the song, calling it "my friend, ever since it was born."

A tad creepy. But hey, when you have three, maybe four, songs that fans want to hear over and over and over again, one probably starts to feel like family?

Hay goes on to disagree with Jacobsen's findings, asserting that two bars (O Henry? Snickers?) of Kookaburra inspired the flute series of Down Under, but the riff was nowhere close to the original.

"I believe what has won today is opportunistic greed and what has suffered is creative musical endeavor," Hay writes. "This outcome will have no real impact upon the relationship that I have with our song ... for we are connected forever."

Dude, it's not a baby.

And next time, watch out for those Girl Guides. They're vicious little bitches.

1 comment:

  1. Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree... merry merry king of the bush is he... laugh Kookaburra laugh Kookaburra... gay your life must be.

    I totally sang this song as a girl guide. :)