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Men at Work flautist found dead

2012-04-19 13:14

Melbourne - Greg Ham, the musician behind the controversial flute riff from Australian band Men at Work's smash hit Down Under, was found dead on Thursday, reports said.

The 58-year-old was discovered at his Melbourne home by two friends who had not heard from him for a week, the Melbourne Age said.

"At this point in time, because of the early stages of our investigation, we're not prepared to go into the exact details of what has occurred," police Detective Senior Sergeant Shane O'Connell told reporters.

Men at Work achieved international fame in the 1980s with Down Under, with the album it was on, Business As Usual, reaching No 1 on the Australian, American and British charts.

Copyright dispute

In 1983 the band won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

But their fame was overshadowed by a copyright dispute over the Down Under flute riff, with Australia's Federal Court in 2010 finding it was lifted from the children's folk tune Kookaburra, penned more than 75 years ago .

Last year, record company EMI lost an appeal against the ruling and, along with songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, were ordered to pay five percent of royalties from the song since 2002 to Kookaburra's copyright owners.

Ham said at the time he was shattered.

"It will be the way the song is remembered and I hate that," he told Fairfax Media.

"I'm terribly disappointed that that's the way I'm going to be remembered - for copying something."

Down Under has become an unofficial Australian theme and jukebox staple worldwide, selling millions of copies across the globe.

Watch the video for Down Under here:

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