Friday, February 05, 2010

Meaning of words

There is much talk both in Australia and New Zealand about a legal judgment that the iconic song "Downunder" by Men at Work has infringed the copyright of a song written for children in 1934 "Kookaburra sits on an old gum tree"

"Do you come from a land down under?
Where women glow and men plunder?
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover."

The song went to #1 on American, British, and Australian charts. It was reissued in 1982 and is the only Men at Work song that went to #1 in the UK. It has become a popular and patriotic song in Australia and was sung at the closing of the Sydney Olympic games.

The author of Kookaburra, Miss Marion Sinclair has died and her family sold the copyright. How they must be kicking themselves today as it may be worth millions.

However I was most amused at reading the words which I am sure I sung as a child when they did not have the meaning of today

Kookaburra sits on an old gum tree
Merry merry king of the bush is he
Laugh kookaburra, laugh kookaburra
Gay your life must be.

1 comment:

motheramelia said...

I must be a bit dense this evening, but I don't see how there is a copyright infringement. We sang the Kookaburra song as kids and I've heard "Downunder" and don't see the similarity. BTW I heard a kookaburra while in Australia 10 years ago and started to laugh myself at the crazy bird.