Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Overkill (Men at Work song)

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Released  1983
Genre  Pop rock, new wave
Label  Epic
Format  7"/12"
Length  3:44
B-side  "Till the Money Runs Out"

"Overkill" is a song by Australian pop rock band Men at Work. It was released in 1983 as the second single from their second studio album, Cargo (see 1983 in music). It was written by lead singer Colin Hay. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100; No. 5 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart; and top 10 in Canada, Ireland and Norway. The song was a departure from the group's style of reggae-influenced pop rock, featuring a melancholic feel musically and lyrically.



Men at Work's second studio album, Cargo, was released in Australia in April 1983, reaching No. 1 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart. The album's lead single, "Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive," was issued in Australia ahead of the album in October 1982 and reached No. 6 on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart. Despite recording having been completed in mid-1982, Cargo's release was held back due to the international commercial success of the band's 1981 debut album, Business as Usual.

"Overkill" was released in April 1983 and debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 28 on 9 April. It peaked at No. 3 in early June. The album's third single, "High Wire", followed in late 1983, peaking at only No. 89 in Australia, and No. 23 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The band toured the world extensively in 1983 to promote the album and related singles.

Music video

The video was mostly shot in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda.

7" Australian and 7"/12" International Versions 1983

  1. "Overkill" (Colin Hay) – 3:44
  2. "Till the Money Runs Out" (Colin Hay, Ron Strykert, Greg Ham, John Rees, Jerry Speiser) – 3:05


  • Greg Ham – saxophone, synthesizers
  • Colin Hay – vocal, guitar
  • John Rees – bass
  • Jerry Speiser – drums
  • Ron Strykert – guitar
  • Lazlo Bane version

    American alternative rock band Lazlo Bane covered the song and originally released it as a b-side of their debut single "Buttercup" on Fish of Death Records.

    After signing with Almo Sounds the song was released as promo single and included on the EP Short Style, and it was later released on the band's debut album 11 Transistor, which came out in January 1997. As a commercial single "Overkill" was released in some territiries in 1998.

    The song was recorded with participation of Colin Hay, who plays guitar on the track and sings the last verse solely and last chorus together with Chad Fischer.

    Lazlo Bane's Music Video

    Lazlo Bane's music video, directed by Mark Miremont and also featuring Hay, was released 28 May 1997 and eventually entered MTV2's Top 10 of the 1997.

    The video shows Lazlo Bane playing the song in a large hall of the hotel during the night while disturbing other residents, who were played by the members of the band with Colin Hay playing the front desk clerk. During the first half of the song Hay receives several angry calls about the noise but doesn't do anything about it. During the guitar solo the hotel starts to shake, finally forcing Hay to enter the hall where the band is playing, but only to sing the rest of the song together with the band.

    Track listing

    1996 Promo CD (Almo Sounds PRO-CD-8027)
    1. "Overkill" (Colin Hay) – 4:14
    1998 CD (BANG! 20545)
    1. "Overkill" (Colin Hay) – 4:14
    2. "Novakane" (Chad Fischer) – 2:37
    3. "Prada Wallet" (Fischer / Josh Clayton-Felt / Kevin Hunter) – 1:11

    Other cover versions

  • The Benjamin Gate released a cover of the song on their 2002 album Contact.
  • In 2003 Colin Hay released Man @ Work album that consisted of re-recordings of songs from the Men at Work catalog as well as his solo career songs. The album featured an acoustic version of "Overkill". An edited version of that track was previously released in September 2002 on Music from Scrubs, the first NBC series Scrubs soundtrack album. Colin Hay also appeared in the series itself, performing an acoustic version of the song in Season's 2 premiere episode "My Overkill".
  • In 2003 Emmerson Nogueira released an acoustic cover of the song on his Versão Acústica 3 album.
  • John Farnham covered the song for his 2005 album I Remember When I Was Young, which consist entirely of cover versions of songs by chart-topping Australian artists.
  • In 2007 Dashboard Confessional released a version of the song on the The Wire Tapes Vol. 1 cover album.
  • References

    Overkill (Men at Work song) Wikipedia