Thursday, April 19, 2012

.Greg Ham, Men At Work flute player, 'found dead'

Men At Work flautist Greg Ham has been found dead at his Melbourne home, according to Australian reports.

The 58-year-old will be remembered for playing the famous flute riff from the band's biggest hit, Down Under.

Two friends found the body. They became concerned about Ham's well-being having not heard from him for some time.

Local authorities have not confirmed the man's identity. A crime scene has been established and the cause of death is being investigated.

"Because of the early stages of our investigation, we're not prepared to go into the exact details of what has occurred,' Detective Senior Sergeant Shane O'Connell told reporters.

Police added that relatives of the deceased still had to be notified.

Ham joined Men At Work in 1979 playing flute, harmonica, saxophone and keyboards.

The band achieved international fame in the 1980s with the 1983 hit Down Under, while their album, Business As Usual, topped the Australian, US and British charts.

However, their fame was overshadowed in recent years by a copyright dispute over the Down Under flute riff.

In 2010 Australia's Federal Court ruled band members partly copied the children's folk tune Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, penned more than 75 years ago.

Last year, EMI lost an appeal against the ruling and, along with songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, were ordered to pay 5% of the song's royalties since 2002 - as well as future earnings - to the folk song's copyright owners.

Ham said at the time that he was shattered by the ruling, telling Fairfax Media: "It will be the way the song is remembered and I hate that.

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

Men At Work won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1983 before disbanding in 1985.

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