The Brag Media
News April 13, 2023

Colin Hay, Colleen Ironside to Receive Ted Albert Award

Senior Journalist, B2B
Colin Hay, Colleen Ironside to Receive Ted Albert Award

Legendary songwriter, singer and Men At Work frontman Colin Hay, and the late, pioneering concerts promoter Colleen Ironside are this year’s recipients of the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.

Announced today (April 13), Hay and Ironside will be feted at the 2023 APRA Music Awards, set for Thursday, April 27 at ICC Sydney, on Gadigal land.

Born in Scotland, Hay laid the groundwork for some of the all-time classics of the Australian songbook, none greater than “Down Under,” a song that continues to grow — and evolve — with each year, especially in the heart of ex-pats, a long way from home.

“To receive the news that APRA wanted to bestow this most prestigious Ted Albert Award is very special indeed. This award is for outstanding services to Australian Music,” comments Hay in a statement.

“I think services is the key word here. It’s important to realise at some point in your life that it is a valuable thing to be of service. To be of some use.”

Colin Hay

With Hay at the helm, Men At Work enjoyed the best-possible career start, bagging simultaneous No. 1s on the U.K. and U.S. singles and albums charts (with parent Business as Usual), before collecting the Grammy Award for best new artist.

Co-written with Men At Work guitarist Ron Strykert, “Down Under” can boast “unofficial” national anthem status — and membership in APRA AMCOS’ The 1,000,000,000 List, for global streams in excess of one billion.

Speaking to The Music Network over Zoom from California, Hay admits he’s chuffed to be recognised by his peers with this, the most prestigious of music industry awards.

And he’ll “absolutely” attend the 2023 APRA Music Awards, following the completion of his current tour.

Men At Work dished a string of hits before calling it a day in 1985, with “Who Can It Be Now,” “Overkill,” “It’s a Mistake,” “Dr Heckyll And Mr Jive” and “Be Good Johnny” all charting in the U.K.

“Down Under,” however, is its own planet.

“It’s a song that has a life of its own, really. And it’s not particularly static,” Hay tells TMN.

“It seems to be changing slightly over time as well. I’m not really sure how or why. When you write a song, and you put it out there, you know, it becomes everyone’s song in many ways. It might mean something different to anyone who listens to it than perhaps what it means to me.”

More than 40 years after its release, and an ugly copyright battle which reached its crescendo more than a decade ago, Hay continues to “have a very personal relationship with the song, because it actually lives inside me. It’s something that I came up with. And so whenever I play it, there’s part of who I am, which comes out.”

“Down Under” took a left turn in 2021 when a reimagined cut by producer and DJ Luude, and featuring Hay’s vocals, blasted away on charts around the globe.

In the U.K., Luude’s drum ‘n’ bass release went to No. 5, it reached No. 2 on the ARIA Chart and logged nine weeks atop the New Zealand survey.

Another version by Arnhem Land band King Stingray, singing in Yolngu Matha and English, went on to soundtrack a global Tourism Australia campaign.

Ironside was one of the first globally acclaimed Australian promoters, a live music professional who, with her force-of-nature personality, set the groundwork for a pan-Asian touring network and produced scores of tours in the region for Live Nation and other companies.

Starting out as a booking agent for the Harbour Agency in Sydney, she later branched out with her own booking agency APA, with clients such as INXS, Ratcat, Jenny Morris, Wendy Matthews, James Reyne and Def FX.

In 1994, Frontier Touring tapped her as head of its Asia division, working on major tours for Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Tom Jones, Hootie and the Blowfish and others.

Just before the millennium, in 1999, Ironside set up Live Limited through which she toured the Rolling Stones, Elton John, David Bowie, Sting, Suede, Scorpions, Deep Purple, Coldplay, The Cranberries, Pet Shop Boys and No Doubt.

In 2005, Live Nation made her senior VP of bookings for Pan Asia. Five years later she left LN, and revived Live Limited, her Asia wide tour company Live Limited based in Hong Kong, promoting Janet Jackson in Hong Kong, Bruno Mars in Malaysia and Bob Dylan in Hong Kong and Vietnam.

“We are very proud to salute two uniquely Australian music industry figures, the late Colleen Ironside and Colin Hay, says Dean Ormston, CEO, APRA AMCOS, “who both honed their talent and started careers at home, which sent them out onto the international scene and onto huge success”.

He continues, “We look forward to honouring them with the Ted Albert Award at this year’s APRA Music Awards,”

In other 2023 APRA Awards news, Triple M network is named APRA AMCOS licensee of the year, and Harry Styles’ “As It Was” is named as most performed international work. The former One Direction star co-wrote the global hit with Thomas Hull and Tyler Johnson; Universal Music Publishing and Concord Music Publishing are publishers.

The 41h anniversary edition will be co-hosted by Celia Pacquola, Fred Leone and Henry Wagons, with Daniel Johns, King Stingray, Julia Jacklin, Flume and the late Archie Roach all vying for song of the year.

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