Thread Tools
Old 06-18-2011, 04:22 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Montana, U.S.A.
Posts: 9,449
Aussie slang and Men at Work

I was just listening to the old "Men at Work" song Down Under, and some of the lyrics have me puzzled. Can anyone explain these (see full lyrics for context)?

Quote:
Traveling in a fried-out Kombi
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
I assume we're talking about smoking marijuana here. Is that what "zombie" is? And a "Kombi" is an old VW bus, right?

Quote:
Where women glow and men plunder
I always thought they were saying "blow," but LyricWiki says "glow." Are they speaking of sweating (as in "horses sweat, men perspire, women glow") or something else?

Quote:
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Chunder? Does this mean vomit?
Old 06-18-2011, 05:32 PM
Domo Arigato Mister Moderato
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: On the run with Kilroy
Posts: 20,512
Yes, apparently. Quite a downer when I learned that.
Old 06-18-2011, 05:45 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 214
The lyrics rely heavily on rhyme, obviously. I wouldn't read much more into it than that. I would guess that the lyricist started from the phrase "down under" and quickly came up with thunder, plunder and chunder. He or she then ran with the idea and built the whole song out of slightly forced rhymes, such as "beer flows"/"women glow".

Last edited by BDoors; 06-18-2011 at 05:46 PM.
Old 06-18-2011, 06:24 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
I'm a big fan of a lot of Australian TV and a lot of is is full of rhyme slang, which is so odd that sometimes it has to be explained on the TV plot.

And a lot of common expressions, according to my Australian friends, will start out dirty and be adjusted to a "clean version" that gets broadcast. So it makes more sense in the original but dirty version.
Old 06-18-2011, 07:25 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Northumbria
Posts: 2,656
I know I've had a drink or five, but… a "Wombat" is asking these questions?
Old 06-18-2011, 07:28 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,068
"Chunder" in British English does, indeed, mean vomit. I assume it's the same in Oz.
Old 06-18-2011, 07:42 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I assume we're talking about smoking marijuana here. Is that what "zombie" is? And a "Kombi" is an old VW bus, right?
On a hippie trailhead full of zombies.

Different than "on a hippie trail, head full of zombie".

Whatever the intent, the sentence seems to simply mean that the writer is in a microbus as the terminus of a trail travelled by hippie burnouts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I always thought they were saying "blow," but LyricWiki says "glow." Are they speaking of sweating (as in "horses sweat, men perspire, women glow") or something else?
Plunderers steal what glows. Simple rhyming. No need to read any sweat-related metaphor into it.
Old 06-18-2011, 07:46 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Montana, U.S.A.
Posts: 9,449
Quote:
Originally Posted by WotNot View Post
I know I've had a drink or five, butů a "Wombat" is asking these questions?
one o' them expatriate wombats ...
Old 06-18-2011, 07:46 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Northumbria
Posts: 2,656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Candyman74 View Post
"Chunder" in British English does, indeed, mean vomit. I assume it's the same in Oz.
It was introduced into British English by a Mr Barry Humphries, so I think we can assume that, yes.
Old 06-18-2011, 08:10 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,893
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
On a hippie trailhead full of zombies.

Different than "on a hippie trail, head full of zombie".

Whatever the intent, the sentence seems to simply mean that the writer is in a microbus as the terminus of a trail travelled by hippie burnouts.
Only, the line is On a hippie trail, head full of zombie. There's clearly a comma as it is sung, and 'zombie' is not plural. Also, the video does not show them at a trailhead. Rather, it shows them traveling in a fried-out Kombie. (The hippies are in back.) I've always interpreted it as 'We were living the hippie live, stoned on weed and driving a VW Bus.'
Old 06-18-2011, 09:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 354
I wouldn't take the lyrics of Down Under as necessarily indicative of Australian slang. Those lyrics are pretty weird, even to Australian ears.

And yes, Chunder does indeed mean "to vomit".
Old 06-18-2011, 09:38 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The Nekkid Pueblo
Posts: 19,437
"Chunder" comes from seafaring days when a sailor would yell, "Watch under!" as a warning to seamen on lower decks that he was indeed, about to hurl over the side so that no one below him would stick his head out of a porthole at an inopportune moment. This was quickly shortened to "Chunder!" as time was usually of the essence when it came time to making it to the side of the ship.
Old 06-18-2011, 10:06 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 13,706
This link suggests a different etymology for "chunder":

http://worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-chu1.htm
Old 06-18-2011, 10:10 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Only, the line is On a hippie trail, head full of zombie. There's clearly a comma as it is sung, and 'zombie' is not plural. Also, the video does not show them at a trailhead. Rather, it shows them traveling in a fried-out Kombie. (The hippies are in back.) I've always interpreted it as 'We were living the hippie live, stoned on weed and driving a VW Bus.'
I agree that Kombie refers to a bus and that they're travelling in it. I don't discern any meaningful pause or change in tone or tempo on the album version of the song that would lead me to believe that he's singing anything other than "trailhead". It's not trail... sax solo.... head. Do you have a cite that makes reasonable claim that "head full of zombie" is Australian slang for high on drugs.... one that doesn't directly reference the Men At Work song, please.
Old 06-18-2011, 10:27 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,893
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
I don't discern any meaningful pause or change in tone or tempo on the album version of the song that would lead me to believe that he's singing anything other than "trailhead". It's not trail... sax solo.... head. Do you have a cite that makes reasonable claim that "head full of zombie" is Australian slang for high on drugs.... one that doesn't directly reference the Men At Work song, please.
I do discern a comma. 'Trail' is drawn out a little. Also, they are 'traveling'. Traveling on a trail; not stopped at a trailhead. And again, 'zombie' is singluar; not plural. It doesn't make sense for someplace to be 'full' of one zombie; but it does make sense if 'zombie' is slang for an intoxicant. And the video does not show anything resembling a trailhead.

As for a cite that 'zombie' is Australian slang for marijuana, no; I don't have that. I said that 'marijuana' was my interpretation of it. It could be LSD or something. The narrator finds himself in a den in Bombay 'with a slack jaw and not much to say'. 'Zombie' being a drug would not be out of place in the context of the song.
Old 06-18-2011, 10:28 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Where the wild roses grow
Posts: 23,580
Quote:
Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
"Chunder" comes from seafaring days
Almost all the etymological histories that claim to be from seafaring days turn out to not be true. See "Whole Nine Yards" and "Brass Monkey" for example.
Old 06-18-2011, 10:29 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Singapore
Posts: 751
'Trailhead' seems a peculiarly US term to me (and Merriam-Webster's Learners Dictionary seems to agree) so it would seem a bit strange, to me at least, if that was the phrasing in an Australian song. If only for that reason, I'd go with the way Johnny L.A. hears it, even if that requires a bit of convoluted derivation for 'zombie'.
Old 06-18-2011, 10:45 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Where the wild roses grow
Posts: 23,580
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
And the video does not show anything resembling a trailhead.
Seems to me the music video explains every line, though you may need an antipodean outlook to connect some dots.
Old 06-18-2011, 10:48 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I do discern a comma. 'Trail' is drawn out a little. Also, they are 'traveling'. Traveling on a trail; not stopped at a trailhead. And again, 'zombie' is singluar; not plural. It doesn't make sense for someplace to be 'full' of one zombie; but it does make sense if 'zombie' is slang for an intoxicant. And the video does not show anything resembling a trailhead.

As for a cite that 'zombie' is Australian slang for marijuana, no; I don't have that. I said that 'marijuana' was my interpretation of it. It could be LSD or something. The narrator finds himself in a den in Bombay 'with a slack jaw and not much to say'. 'Zombie' being a drug would not be out of place in the context of the song.
You seem to be working pretty hard to hear that comma. I just listened again - no pause. Trailhead, clearly.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=MoufhVjvNjo&feature=fvst

He could have said staccato - Trail.. Head...

He says trailhead.
Old 06-18-2011, 10:57 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,893
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
You seem to be working pretty hard to hear that comma. I just listened again - no pause. Trailhead, clearly.
You seem to be working pretty hard to not hear that comma. I just listened to your link, and again -- 'trail' is slightly drawn out. '... Trail, head...', clearly.
Old 06-18-2011, 11:12 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 13,706
While this is hardly a definitive proof, here are a couple of sources which claim that "zombie" is an Australian slang for marijuana:

http://urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=zombie

http://songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2962
Old 06-19-2011, 12:06 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Elizabet' Nort'
Posts: 3,809
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
You seem to be working pretty hard to hear that comma. I just listened again - no pause. Trailhead, clearly.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=MoufhVjvNjo&feature=fvst

He could have said staccato - Trail.. Head...

He says trailhead.
You are wrong, so shut up.

Trailhead is not a word that is in common parlance over here. The lyrics ARE "on a hippie-trail, head full of zombie". Every source I can find online supports this, as well as my own familiarity with the language that I have spoken for 27 years of my life.

So shut up and bugger off. You're wrong.
Old 06-19-2011, 12:13 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,893
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charley View Post
'Trailhead' seems a peculiarly US term to me
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra Indigo View Post
Trailhead is not a word that is in common parlance over here.
So what word do you use for 'trailhead' down there?

┐pɐǝɥlıɐɹʇ

Old 06-19-2011, 12:14 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The Nekkid Pueblo
Posts: 19,437
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
Almost all the etymological histories that claim to be from seafaring days turn out to not be true. See "Whole Nine Yards" and "Brass Monkey" for example.
I have never heard of Barrie Humphries and have no idea who he is. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, I say.
Old 06-19-2011, 01:29 AM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Montana, U.S.A.
Posts: 9,449
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra Indigo View Post
if I had found that article earlier, I wouldn't have needed to start the thread. Interesting that it supports my interpretation of "glow," which has been almost universally pooh-poohed here.
Old 06-19-2011, 09:09 AM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 38,721
Mod note

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra Indigo View Post
You are wrong, so shut up.

Trailhead is not a word that is in common parlance over here. The lyrics ARE "on a hippie-trail, head full of zombie". Every source I can find online supports this, as well as my own familiarity with the language that I have spoken for 27 years of my life.

So shut up and bugger off. You're wrong.
I understand your frustration, but you're in Cafe Society, not the Pit, so telling someone to bugger off is a bit beyond the pale. Dial it back, please.

No warning issued.

twickster, Cafe Society moderator

Last edited by twickster; 06-19-2011 at 09:09 AM. Reason: misidentified my forum affiliation in my sig
Old 06-19-2011, 09:54 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: ___\o/___(\___
Posts: 11,631
Quote:
Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
I have never heard of Barrie Humphries and have no idea who he is.
Aka Dame Edna
and Sir Les Patterson.

Last edited by Peter Morris; 06-19-2011 at 09:54 AM.
Old 06-19-2011, 08:05 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by twickster View Post
I understand your frustration, but you're in Cafe Society, not the Pit, so telling someone to bugger off is a bit beyond the pale. Dial it back, please.

No warning issued.

twickster, Cafe Society moderator
It's okay twickster. You don't have to stick up for me. The entitlement generation thinks that they merely need to provide a cite - any cite - and that proves them unquestionably correct. If you don't like it then they result to vulgarities. I can't complain - it's how we raised them.

The notion that there was some type of marijuana called "Zombie" and that was being referred to in the Men At Work song doesn't really stand up to scrutiny. Or not based on my basic Googles. I have the impression that we might be dealing with a dyed in the wool urban myth here. There's definitely no pause or linguistic styling that makes one believe that Colin Hay intended "trail" and "head" to be 2 words. I'm wondering the "comma pause" appears on an actual lyric sheet and then I'm wondering if it wasn't simply a transcription error based on the fact that the word "trailhead" isn't common in Australia.

If he meant to say "On a hippy trail with a head full of zombie" then why didn't he just sing that?
Old 06-19-2011, 08:15 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,893
Sierra Indigo is actually Australian, and has spoken the dialect all his life. He says 'trailhead' is not a word that is often used down there. Why would an Australian singer in an Australian band writing about Australia use a word that is not used there? And you haven't addressed how an alleged trailhead can be full of a single zombie. I'm going to take the word of a native speaker over yours.
Old 06-19-2011, 08:31 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
It's okay twickster. You don't have to stick up for me. The entitlement generation thinks that they merely need to provide a cite - any cite - and that proves them unquestionably correct. If you don't like it then they result to vulgarities. I can't complain - it's how we raised them.
How about a cite from the man who actually wrote the lyrics? Or is he just part of the "entitlement generation" out to make you look wrong as well?

http://colinhay.com.br/site/?page_id=79
Old 06-19-2011, 09:05 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,475
What Americans call a trail, we call a track. I think 'trail' in this context means an unofficial but commomly followed itinerary, like a wine trail in a wine-growing district, where there are a bunch of wineries that people visit one after the other. I've also heard it for a gallery trail, like in the Blue Mountains where a lot of artists have studios/galleries and you can spend a weekend driving around. To me 'on a hippie trail' means driving up the coast along to Lismore/Nimbin/Byron Bay, which were notorious hippie/pothead hangouts. Kombis were a really popular vehicle for doing this in.

That Wikipedia article doesn't have any cite for its interpretation of 'glow', and that's not a common usage here. I have no idea what this line means.
Old 06-19-2011, 09:07 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Where the wild roses grow
Posts: 23,580
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
He says 'trailhead' is not a word that is often used down there.
We barely even use "trail." It tends to be "walking tracks" or "scenic drives."
Old 06-19-2011, 09:10 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Elizabet' Nort'
Posts: 3,809
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Sierra Indigo is actually Australian, and has spoken the dialect all his life. He says 'trailhead' is not a word that is often used down there. Why would an Australian singer in an Australian band writing about Australia use a word that is not used there? And you haven't addressed how an alleged trailhead can be full of a single zombie. I'm going to take the word of a native speaker over yours.
She, actually.
Old 06-19-2011, 09:11 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,893
Apologies.
Old 06-19-2011, 09:21 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
We barely even use "trail." It tends to be "walking tracks" or "scenic drives."
Hippie Trail is a pretty well known term worldwide - if "trail" isn't really widely used in Australia then it probably makes sense that Hay would put together Hippie Trail and Trailhead as a sort-of play on unfamiliar words. An American would do the same thing when he travels to a Spanish speaking country and hears them call a hike a "trek". He'd naturally be drawn to say he'd gone on a "rock star trek" or something like that.

As I said before, probably just a transcription error or more a play on unfamiliar words or something like that. A trailhead full of wallaby or dingo or hippie. The "s" is optional.

In any case - I don't doubt that Men At Work would write about drugs - "Who Can It Be Now" was sort-of understood to be about cocaine when it was popular.

I just doubt the veracity of the claim that there was some sort of weed called "zombie" and Hay was writing about it and he just accidentally stumbled across the words "trailhead". It doesn't add up when you try to check the veracity and it doesn't make much sense anyway. I guess some kid who was 2 when the song was popular thinks he knows the whole story because he's Australian but I don't see it that way.

It's worth talking about, I think, because Land Down Under really has stood the test of time as Australia's second unofficial national anthem. Good stuff.
Old 06-19-2011, 09:22 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 14,257
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
I'm wondering the "comma pause" appears on an actual lyric sheet and then I'm wondering if it wasn't simply a transcription error based on the fact that the word "trailhead" isn't common in Australia.
Wait, so your theory is that Colin Hay, an Australian, when writing an Australian song about Australia, didn't use an Australian term, he used an American term which was then mistranscribed so that it appeared to conform to Australian usage?

I'd introduce you to Mr Occam and his tool of choice, but I have a weak stomach and the sight of a man reduced to diced meat right in front of my eyes would upset me.

Quote:
If he meant to say "On a hippy trail with a head full of zombie" then why didn't he just sing that?
He did. I don't know if you've noticed but when singing and trying to fit a metre, pauses (or lack thereof) that might be used in normal spoken speech often get slurred or skipped or extended.

I'm not sure the "entitlement generation" (of which I am not a part) is always wrong, or right. How about your generation?
Old 06-19-2011, 09:32 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Where the wild roses grow
Posts: 23,580
I find many mentions online of the term "zambi" as slang for marijuana. Allowing for misspelling, I can't see any controversy.
Old 06-19-2011, 09:32 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Port Jefferson Sta, NY
Posts: 7,875
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
The entitlement generation thinks that they merely need to provide a cite - any cite - and that proves them
That's a lot of snark considering the only foundation of your own assertion is the mere magnitude of your belief in it.

Your argument seems to amount to "I just can't believe it". I'm starting to wonder if it's a woosh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
There's definitely no pause or linguistic styling that makes one believe that Colin Hay intended "trail" and "head" to be 2 words.
It's true, there is not really much of a pause. But "trail" is sung for more beats than head - more than it would be if "trailhead" were a single word and more than if they were even part of the same clause. It would be like singing deeeeeeeadhead instead of deadhead. It would be very strange to extend and emphasize the first syllable of a compound word in that manner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
If he meant to say "On a hippy trail with a head full of zombie" then why didn't he just sing that?
Because it has an identical meaning but doesn't fit the meter.

Last edited by jackdavinci; 06-19-2011 at 09:36 PM.
Old 06-19-2011, 09:56 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princhester View Post
Wait, so your theory is that Colin Hay, an Australian, when writing an Australian song about Australia, didn't use an Australian term, he used an American term which was then mistranscribed so that it appeared to conform to Australian usage?
No - my theory is that Hay simply wrote "Hippie Trail" because that's what it was called and he wrote "Trailhead" because that's where a trail begins and that's where the song begins and isn't that really what the song is all about anyway? A young man's journey of discovery?

I see no credible reason to believe that everybody in Australia was calling marijuana "zombie" and when they were high they had a "head full of zombie" and the "hippy trailhead" phrase was only a happy accident in that song. We were not utterly ignorant to the ways of the Aussie at the time - there were quite a few Australian indie rock bands and low budget films that made it to America in the 80's and early 90's. "head full of zombie?" Never heard it. I had Australian friends too - I can't say I ever asked them about "head full of zombie" but I can say they never said it around me. They were too busy saying Oy! and "Throw another prawn on the barbie!" and "Now that's a knife!"

Maybe the phrase was simply mistranscribed. Maybe it was broken up to look clever. Maybe Hay just sucks at writing. I don't know, but I simply don't buy the allusion.
Old 06-19-2011, 10:00 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,893
You've asked for cites for the interpretation everyone else has propounded, and you were given them -- including statements in this thread by two actual Australians and a Kiwi (?).

Now let's see your cites.




.

Last edited by Johnny L.A.; 06-19-2011 at 10:00 PM.
Old 06-19-2011, 10:00 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
That's a lot of snark considering the only foundation of your own assertion is the mere magnitude of your belief in it.
Yeah - see, I don't see why the onus should be on me to disprove the lads theory. He should have to prove it.... and it's pretty clear he hasn't - that totally false "pause" theory.

It's part of the generations general way of looking at things. Unless somebody proves it's not theirs, they believe that it is.
Old 06-19-2011, 10:01 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
You've asked for cites for the interpretation everyone else has propounded, and you were given them -- including statements in this thread by two actual Australians and a Kiwi (?).

Now let's see your cites.




.
There have been no cites - only the same urban myth repeated by multiple people who weren't around before the song was popular. Dig up a real cite.
Old 06-19-2011, 10:03 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,893
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
There have been no cites - only the same urban myth repeated by multiple people who weren't around before the song was popular. Dig up a real cite.
Prove it's an urban myth. You're making the charge, therefore it's up to you to prove your assertion.
Old 06-19-2011, 10:04 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: West of Wauwatosa
Posts: 7,396
Even here in the Good Ol' U.S. of the A. I'd say something like:

"Hey, dudes 'n' dudettes. It's a lookin' like we done got ourselfs to... the end of the trail."

To which the aforementioned dudettes may be counted upon to say:
"The end of the trail, seriously, chum? Y'mean the trail...end?"
"Reckons how mebbe iffen ya looks at it from a differin' perspective, it might jes' be the beginnin' of the trail."
"Har, har, har, my buddy bro. I figgers you be right, especially after we reorient ourselves through the judicious application of The One Hundred 'N' Eighty Degree Turn".
"Well, pals o' mine, I will still refer to it as the End O' The Trail."
"Y'know, compatriot, my head might be all full o' zombies smokin' maryjooweena, but I'm reck'nin' you are indeed correct ..."

And that's how my chumage and I convo here in the "Up 'n' Over" (the Non-Down Under).



(Seriously, former Eagle Scout here, who had no idea what a trailhead was. But not a problem, since I'd always heard "trail, comma, head" in the lyrics)
Old 06-19-2011, 10:07 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
There have been no cites - only the same urban myth repeated by multiple people who weren't around before the song was popular. Dig up a real cite.
Was my post invisible? Do people have me on ignore? I posted a cite from Colin Hay's official website. Is that really not good enough?

http://colinhay.com.br/site/?page_id=79

"On a hippie trail, head full of zombie"

Also, on the alternate version there that plays on the page, Hay pretty clearly does sing it with a comma.
Old 06-19-2011, 10:14 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: New Orleans, La.
Posts: 1,666
The original Colin Hay recording of Down Under from 1980, before it was on a Men at Work album, has a lengthy pause between trail and head.





I always thought it was "trailhead" until I saw an interview with Colin Hay, who explained some of the lyrics. I could swear he said that Zombie was some kind of cheap liquor, but I can't find a link to the interview anywhere and I might've dreamed the whole thing.
Old 06-19-2011, 10:19 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 14,257
Quote:
Originally Posted by samjones View Post
No - my theory is that Hay simply wrote "Hippie Trail" because that's what it was called and he wrote "Trailhead" because that's where a trail begins
In American usage. How many Australians need to tell you that this is not an Australian term before you get it? I have to think twice to recall what the term even means.

Your theory that "... trail, head ..." is actually the American term "trailhead" is cute in an amateur etymological way, but wrong. Every single Australian here is telling you it is wrong, and the guy who wrote the song has been cited directly as showing you are wrong. Get over it already. Calling people out for cites then being given a perfect cite but not noticing and continuing to call for cites is a bit, well...

Quote:
I had Australian friends too - I can't say I ever asked them about "head full of zombie" but I can say they never said it around me. They were too busy saying Oy! and "Throw another prawn on the barbie!" and "Now that's a knife!"
Ah, I see. Everything you know about Australian language you learnt from Paul Hogan. That explains everything.

I know all about American language too because I watched a John Wayne movie once.

Last edited by Princhester; 06-19-2011 at 10:20 PM.
Old 06-19-2011, 11:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonh300 View Post
The original Colin Hay recording of Down Under from 1980, before it was on a Men at Work album, has a lengthy pause between trail and head.





I always thought it was "trailhead" until I saw an interview with Colin Hay, who explained some of the lyrics. I could swear he said that Zombie was some kind of cheap liquor, but I can't find a link to the interview anywhere and I might've dreamed the whole thing.
I think I saw the same interview. I don't remember what he said zombie meant, but the "hippie trail" refers to how backpackers and hippies traveled a certain route in India of places that were cool/supposed to visit.
Old 06-19-2011, 11:47 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Sydney
Posts: 1,075
If another entitled Australian can step in...

The song is about Australians backpacking around the world and everywhere they turn they see more bloody Australians. It's a fact of life.

The hippie trails was a series of standard routes that hippie backpackers took through India (and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan and Pakistan) looking for enlightenment but ultimately just smoking a lot of dope.

According to my father (in his 40s when the song was released), "zombie" was a late-'70s term for grass. At the time of the song, it was more commonly being replaced by the term "mull".

So the first verse is about backpacking through India in a poorly-maintained Kombivan (Volkswagen's '60s-'70s equivalent of what Americans would call a microbus) while stoned, sleeping with a woman that the singer thought to be exotic, and finding out that she knew Australians fairly well.

The American regionalism "trailhead" appears nowhere in the song, and has no reason to.
Old 06-20-2011, 12:01 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: austin tx usa
Posts: 34,564
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigNik View Post
If another entitled Australian can step in...

The song is about Australians backpacking around the world and everywhere they turn they see more bloody Australians. It's a fact of life.
Exactly right, and even this Yank (who didn't understand much of the lingo) grasped THAT angle of the song perfectly.

Australians are world-famous for being world-travelers, and even though there are only about 22 million Australians total, they're constantly running into each other thousands of miles from home.

The guys in Men at Work were swapping stories about that very phenomenon. The second verse was the first one written, as one told the others how, when he was in Belgium, he walked into a bakery to get a bite to eat, and then discovered the guy working behind the bakery counter was a fellow Aussie.

Everybody else had similar stories, and those stories worked their way into the final song.
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:38 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: buy mercurochrome bull fighter music accordion rock song munchkin strategy roast netting stars on house shooting two guns dope tv antimatter calculator cards jack alex rosewater bender gay ginger addiction trimps science challenge haze grey 5.1 adapter define yellow belly usb direct tv landline message shakespeare plagiarism robin poor bear uhaul claims almond refrigerator mathew leskow gatorade alcohol finger stabbing game u ow me zappa drugs rent vending machines bob crane porno medieval bath borderlands 2 quotes bravo actual how much do orthotics cost toilet seat turned blue can you eat the skin of a baked potato electric motor armature brushes excessive sparking best range rover to buy used capital one set travel notification will lowes cut wood to size hold reset as you power off light keeps burning out gay bath house st louis mo where does urine come out of a woman spikes on 18 wheeler front tires how to list quotes in a sentence cable company easement rights lemon & manufacturer buyback jerry lewis is an asshole google maps topographical lines best pat metheny album where can i turn in my maryland tags ants in the attic why were blood tests required before marriage key cutting home depot car door lock stuck in lock position count of monte cristo countess g beta blocker side effects cough v instead of u on buildings foreign marriage recognition in us light keeps burning out clothes for 30 degree weather sharp pain in neck when turning head how does water get to the top of a tree do guys still need to wear a belt with a suit?