Men at Work's Greg Ham found dead at 58
Men at Work's Greg Ham has died with his most famous contribution to music - the flute riff in the Aussie band's smash hit Down Under - becoming simply infamous.
In the end, that's what the talented musician feared.
The 58-year-old was found dead in his Melbourne home on Thursday morning. The cause of death is yet to be determined.
The band achieved international fame in the 1980s but it was a copyright controversy over the distinctive flute riff that had Men at Work back in the headlines in recent years.
A court in 2010 found the riff was unmistakably the same as popular children's tune Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, penned by Toorak teacher Marion Sinclair more than 75 years ago for a Girl Guides competition.
The decision left Ham shattered.
"It has destroyed so much of my song," he told Fairfax at the time.
"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's recording company, EMI Songs Australia, and Down Under songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert were ordered to pay five per cent of royalties earned from the song since 2002 and from its future earnings.
Music historian Glenn A Baker said the decision took some of the lustre off the band, but he didn't believe it would forever taint Ham's legacy as the flute player behind it.
"I don't think for a moment that it takes away from the integrity or reputation of Colin Hay or Greg Ham," he told AAP.
"It was generally acknowledged that this was just an odd accident. And if it was plagiarism, it was unconscious plagiarism."
After the copyright ruling, Ham said he'd never see another cent out of the song again and he'd end up having to sell his house.
He sold his historic North Carlton home, a three-storey residence that he had owned once before, in 2011 but stayed in the suburb.
A friend went to check on Ham, who lived alone, on Thursday morning after not hearing from him for a week.
He left when no one answered the door but later returned with another friend and they found the body in the front of the house.
The homicide squad was called in because of what Detective Senior Sergeant Shane O'Connell described as a number of unexplained aspects.
"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," he told reporters.
Police say it has not been established whether or not the death was suspicious.
There were no obvious signs of injury and it's believed he could have been dead for some time before the body was found.
Authorities also haven't ruled out a drug overdose or heart attack as a potential cause of death.
Mr Baker said Ham will be remembered for his good humour and quirky side that helped boost Men at Work to the top of the charts during the arrival of MTV.
"If the band has a slightly zany reputation ... then it had a lot do with him," he said.
"They did immortalise the Vegemite sandwich."
Ham joined Men at Work in 1979 as a replacement for Greg Sneddon, playing flute, harmonica, saxophone and keyboards.
Men at Work disbanded in 1985 but Ham and Hay reunited to tour the US and South America a decade later.
While Hay was the frontman, Ham was a showman who lived up to his name on stage.
"He was the guy who used to hop around all the time on stage. We used to hate that," recalled Rick Grossman of the Hoodoo Gurus, who toured the US and Japan playing bass with Men at Work in the late 90s.
"In Men at Work he was like Al Jardine in the Beach Boys, the blonde good-looking one."
Grossman believes Hay, who is on tour in America, will take news of Ham's death hard.
Down Under and the album it was on, Business As Usual, reached No.1 on the Australian, American and British charts in early 1983. That year, Men at Work won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.