For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, Jim Adams gives us the theme of Australian music. The song I chose was on a frequent rotation in the early days of MTV, when the cable channel was all music videos. It was from the Aussie group, Men at War, and the song is “Who Can It Be Now?”
“Who Can It Be Now?” was recorded by Australian band Men at Work. It was released as a single in Australia in 1981, prior to the recording of their 1981 debut album, Business As Usual. It was written by the band’s lead vocalist, Colin Hay. The song reached number 2 in Australia that year. The American release of the song, over a year later, went on to hit number 1 in October 1982.
The album, Business As Usual, was the number 1 album in the U.S. for 15 weeks, a record at the time for the longest stay at number 1 for a debut album.
Hay originally wrote the music for “Who Can It Be Now?” in a tree house he and his girlfriend made in Bermagui, New South Wales. The lyrics would not come until 1981, when Hay was living in an apartment complex in St Kilda, Victoria. He lived next to drug dealers, and people would often confuse Hay’s apartment for the dealers’. The number of people that would knock on his door unnerved him to the point where he was scared to open his door, regardless of who was there.
Here are the lyrics to “Who Can It Be Now?”
Who can it be knocking at my door? Go 'way, don't come 'round here no more Can't you see that it's late at night? I'm very tired, and I'm not feeling right All I wish is to be alone Stay away, don't you invade my home Best off if you hang outside Don't come in, I'll only run and hide Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Who can it be knocking at my door? Make no sound, tip-toe across the floor If he hears, he'll knock all day I'll be trapped, and here I'll have to stay I've done no harm, I keep to myself There's nothing wrong with my state of mental health I like it here with my childhood friend Here they come, those feelings again! Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Is it the man come to take me away? Why do they follow me? It's not the future that I can see It's just my fantasy Yeah Hoo, hoo, hoo Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Oh oh oh who can it be now? Oh where we are Who can it, who can it Oh who can it now Oh where we are Yeah yeah yeah