Died April 19, 2012. Born September 27, 1953.
Australian songwriter, actor and saxophone player known for playing multiple instruments in the 1980s band Men at Work. In addition to the saxophone, he played flute, organ, piano and the synthesiser. He replaced Greg Sneddon in the band. The 58-year-old will be best remembered for playing the famous flute riff from the band's biggest hit, Down Under.
Ham joined Men At Work in 1979. The band achieved international fame in the 1980s with the 1983 hit Down Under, while their album, Business As Usual, topped the Australian, US and British charts. However, their fame was overshadowed in recent years by a copyright dispute over the Down Under flute riff.
In 2010 Australia's Federal Court ruled band members partly copied the children's folk tune Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, penned more than 75 years ago. Last year, EMI lost an appeal against the ruling and, along with songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, were ordered to pay 5% of the song's royalties since 2002 - as well as future earnings - to the folk song's copyright owners. Ham said at the time that he was shattered by the ruling, telling Fairfax Media: "It will be the way the song is remembered and I hate that."
As an actor, Ham was a regular cast member on While You're Down There. Later in life, Ham taught guitar at Carlton North Primary School in Melbourne. Ham attended Camberwell Grammar School, Melbourne, from 1964 to 1971. He is remembered for his acting talent in school plays, particularly The World We Live In (the insect comedy) in 1969 where he played the "parasite". In 1970 he played Mr Seekamp, editor of the Ballaarat Times, in Lola Montez and, in 1971, Puff in The Critic. In 1967 Ham was photographed airborne by J. Jones in a still photo which won first prize in the Ilford Competition.
Ham was found dead at his home in Carlton North, Melbourne, on 19 April 2012. The cause of death is currently under investigation.