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Australian instrumentalist Greg Ham passed away in his Melbourne home on Thursday, April 19. Ham was famous for his music with the band Men at Work. According to Spinner, two friends of Ham found him dead, alone at his house. The police have yet to announce a cause of death.
Ham was most famous for his flute riff in Men at Work’s song “Down Under.” This riff, however, came into legal contention when the publisher of “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree” sued Men at Work for stealing that riff from his own song. The band was forced to pay him some of their royalties, and Ham was left distraught that his legacy would be tainted with the suit.
“I’m terribly disappointed that that’s the way I’m going to be remembered – for copying something,” Ham told the Melbourne newspaper The Age.
Despite the notoriety associated with the suit, Ham is remembered for his warm and good-humored personality. “He was a lovely human being, never judgmental about anyone,” neighbor John Nassar said. ” He was a very friendly human being.”
Australian rock historian Glenn Baker couldn’t agree more:
“When they came back (from tour), it was generally Greg who I would interview because he’d tell the best stories and he was effervescent, energetic, good fun, good-humored and good-natured. He was having a great time.”
Greg Ham will be remembered for not only his beautiful music but also for his lovely personality.