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In the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on 6 November 1982 at No. 1 in January 1983 where it spent four non-consecutive weeks. "Down Under" is perceived as a patriotic song in Australia; it remains popular and is often played at sporting events.It eventually sold over two million copies in the US alone. The lyrics to Down Under depict an Australian man travelling the globe, who meets a number of people who are interested in his home country.The story is based in part on singer Colin Hay's own experiences, including a prominent reference to a Vegemite sandwich (a popular snack in Australia), which derived from an encounter, during Hay's travels abroad, with a baker who emigrated from Brunswick, Melbourne. They open with the singer travelling in a fried-out Kombi, on a hippie trail, head full of zombie.
It is ultimately about celebrating the country, but not in a nationalistic way and not in a flag-waving sense.
The hit song went to number one in their home country of Australia in December 1981, and then topped the New Zealand charts in February 1982.