Colin James Hay (29 June 1953) is a Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor. He came to prominence as the lead vocalist of the band Men at Work, and later also as a solo artist. Hay's music has been frequently used by actor and director Zach Braff in his work, which helped a career rebirth in the mid-2000s.
Colin Hay live in 2015
|Birth name||Colin James Hay|
29 June 1953|
|Genres||Rock, pop rock, new wave, country|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, banjo, lap steel|
|Labels||CBS, MCA, Compass|
Men at Work|
Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Lazlo Bane
Men at WorkEdit
In 1978, Hay met Ron Strykert and the men began playing acoustic music as a duo. Hay and Strykert formed the core of the band Men at Work, with Hay on vocals, guitar and keyboards, and Strykert, on guitar, vocals and bass guitar. Hay and Strykert added Jerry Speiser (drums), John Rees (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Greg Ham (flute, saxophone, keyboards, vocals). The group released their debut album Business as Usual in 1981.
The success of Men at Work and their albums Business as Usual and Cargo prompted Hay to relocate to Los Angeles in 1989. He settled in the Topanga region of the city and has resided in the USA since, and in January 2016 became a U.S. citizen .
Hay joined as guest vocalist with The Incredible Penguins in 1985, for a cover of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", a charity project for research on little penguins, which peaked at No. 10 on the Australian Kent Music Report in December.
Following the break-up of Men at Work in 1985, Hay released several major label solo albums, including Looking for Jack (Columbia) and Wayfaring Sons (MCA), to fluctuating commercial success. In 2011, Hay commented on his early solo career, stating, "After Men at Work, for the better part of a decade, I was stumbling around being unfocused. It was pre-internet, I really had to try to find my audiences by going out on tour. Men at Work really didn't build a foundational audience. We came in as a pop band with enormous radio success; once that goes away and the band breaks up the audience tends to go away with it. You're left with what you want to make of it. When you start out doing those tours, you start again [and] you tend not to attract a very big number of people. I'd play to a hundred people or sometimes less."
In 2004 he contributed to the Garden State soundtrack with his solo song "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You".
In addition to recording, Hay also established his own recording label, Lazy Eye Records, somewhat incorrectly named for his own divergent ocular condition, exotropia, or divergent strabismus (the usage of lazy-eye generally refers to Amblyopia), and has made appearances in cult movies such as Cosi and television shows, such as The Larry Sanders Show, JAG, and The Mick Molloy Show. Hay also appeared on television in the NBC show Scrubs, which along with episodes of ABC's What About Brian, NBC's The Black Donnellys, CBS's Cane, and the BBC hospital drama Casualty, have included performances of some of his previous songs.
In December 2005, Hay and Heather Mills released "My Brilliant Feat" as a charity single as a tribute to football player George Best, who died on 25 November of that year. Proceeds were forwarded to the Donor Family Network, supporting organ donor families and promoting organ and tissue donation. The single is available on iTunes with a bonus music video tribute to Best.
In 2006 Hay provided his voice for one of the characters in animated movie The Wild. He has also been a member of Ringo Starr's eighth, tenth and thirteenth All-Starr Bands. He continues to perform regularly, including playing some folk venues.
Hay contributed music to the TV series Scrubs in the course of a number of episodes, including on-camera performances. In Episode 1 of Season 2 he performs an acoustic version of the Men at Work-hit "Overkill" and he also makes an appearance in "My Hard Labor"
In 2009, Hay's former group, Men at Work, was named in a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement by Larrikin Music, which owns the rights to the "Kookaburra" song. Larrikin Music claimed that part of a flute riff from the band's 1981 single "Down Under" was copied from "Kookaburra" originally written by a music teacher, Marion Sinclair, who died in 1988. In February 2010, a court ruled in favour of Larrikin Music. Although the petition from Larrikin Music requested 40% to 60% of royalties dating back to 1981 and future royalties, in July 2010 a judge awarded the plaintiff only 5% of royalties dating back to 2002 and the same amount of future royalties.
In May 2009, Hay performed at the Artist for the Arts Foundation benefit at Barnum Hall, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, California. Performing alongside Curt Smith of Tears for Fears, Fee Waybill (Tubes) and Venice and over 70 members of the Santa Monica High School Orchestra and Girls Choir, the benefit helped to provide funds for the continuation of music education in public schools. In August 2010, Hay performed in Missoula, Montana with a Los Angeles Roots rock band named Patrolled By Radar.
In December 2013, Hay announced on his website that he was done touring "for the time being" and would spend 2014 writing and recording.
On 4 August 2015, "Colin Hay: Waiting for my Real Life," a documentary film about the singer, debuted at the Melbourne International Film Festival
On 27 January 2017, he released the first single "A Thousand Million Reasons" from his new album, Fierce Mercy released 3 March 2017. He toured in support of the album throughout the US, UK and Australia. Also in 2017, Hay released his first audio book, Aesop's Fables with Colin Hay, published by Devault-Graves Digital Editions, for which he narrated 24 of Aesop's Fables written by author Tom Graves.
- Looking for Jack (1987)
- Wayfaring Sons (1990)
- Peaks & Valleys (1992)
- Topanga (1994)
- Transcendental Highway (1998)
- Going Somewhere (2001)
- Company of Strangers (2002)
- Man @ Work (2003)
- Are You Lookin' at Me? (2007)
- American Sunshine (2009)
- Gathering Mercury (2011)
- Next Year People (2015)
- Fierce Mercy (2017)
After performing in Men at Work, Hay performed in a number of films and TV shows, usually in small roles.
- FishCenter Live (2017) as self
- Jack Irish – Bad Debts (2012) as Tony Baker
- The Uninvited (2008) as Nick
- The Wild (2006) as Fergus Flamingo (voice)
- Scrubs (TV series) (2002, 2007, 2009)
- Episode – "My Last Day" as Troubador (Performing "Beautiful World")
- Episode – "My Overkill" as Troubador (Performing "Overkill")
- Episode – "My Hard Labor" as Troubador (Performing "Down Under")
- Episode – "My Finale" as Troubador (Cameo)
- The Country Bears (2002) (singing voice – uncredited)
- The Mick Molloy Show (TV series)
- Episode No. 1.4 (1999) as Gay Builder
- Episode No. 1.2 (1999) as Artist
- The Craic (1999) as Barry
- Heaven's Burning (1997) as Jonah
- JAG: Judge Advocate General (TV series)
- Episode – "Trinity" (1997) as Miles
- Cosi (1996) as Zac
- Blue Heelers (TV series)
- Episode – "Shadow Man" (1995) as Brad Fielding
- Episode – "Theft" (1994) as George Patterson
- Raw Silk (TV movie) (1988) as Parker
- Wills & Burke (1985) as Publican
Hay is married to singer Cecilia Noël, who often provides backup vocals at his shows. Noël has also helped with production on Hay's solo albums. Hay said of his album, "Are You Lookin' At Me?" that:
She was really crucial. She was a really great sounding board for me. She's a really good producer in the sense that she's very musical and has a great sense of song structure and so forth. So she was great to bounce ideas off. And she sang on nearly all the songs. So she was really a great part of this record.
Hay also has a brother who is a high school maths teacher. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand and coaches a soccer team there.
- Stewart, Allison (28 April 2011). "Colin Hay a working man from way back". Chicago Tribune.
- "Colin Hay". allmusic.com. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
- Entries at Australian Rock Database:
- Colin Hay/Colin Hay Band: Holmgren, Magnus; Warnqvist, Stefan. "Colin Hay". passagen.se. Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- Men at Work (1979–86, 1995-present): Holmgren, Magnus; Warnqvist, Stefan. "Men at Work". passagen.se. Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "Colin Hay still a man at work". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
- "Crystal Ballroom". Mcmenamins.com. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
- Spencer, Chris; Nowara, Zbig; McHenry, Paul (2002) . "Incredible Penguins". The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Notes by Ed Nimmervoll. Noble Park, Vic.: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2010. Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
- "Colin Hay is still at work". National Features. 18 May 2011.
- Sue Kiesewetter. "Singer Colin Hay comes to Fairfield Community Arts Center April 24 - Butler County News at Cincinnati.com". Rodeo.cincinnati.com. Retrieved 4 February 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "BBC Breakfast — December's Information". BBC News. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
- Nix, David. "Donor Family Network". Heather Mills. Retrieved 14 June 2009.[dead link]
- "Men at Work star arrested for threats". Digital Spy. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
- "Men at Work guitarist threatened to kill singer, police say". LA Times. February 17, 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
- "Kookaburra gets last laugh in Men at Work case".
- "Colin Hay with Patrolled by Radar". Missoula Independent. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
when Colin Hay—formerly of the group Men at Work—plays the Wilma Theatre with Patrolled by Radar
- "Colin Hay » A message from Colin". Colinhay.com. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 August 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-04.
- ""BNL Rocks Red Rocks" set for release | Get Barenaked!". getbarenaked.net. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
- Hay, Colin (25 February 2017). "Colin appears on FishCenter". Colin Hay. Tumblr. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- "'Man At Work' to play Towne Crier", SF Gate, 5:00 pm, Thursday, 8 April 2004.
- "Work keeps coming in for Colin Hay, SF Gate, 5:00 pm, Thursday, July 5, 2007.
- Chris Johnston, "Lunch with Colin Hay", The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 2013.