First released in 1982, Down Under became an instant anthem after topping charts in Australia, the US , Britain and Canada.
In 2009 a multi-million dollar legal challenge claimed the song’s flute motif plagiarised the folk tune Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.
A court ruled that five per cent of the recording’s royalties be awarded to Australian publisher Larrikin Music, which holds the copyright to the old nursery rhyme.
Down Under is now being resurrected by Telstra in a television advertising campaign for the London Olympic Games and as a way for Hay to prove the song’s worth without its expensive flute part.
“I just did it because I could,” he said.
“I wanted to put it out there and say: ‘here it is without the infringing flute line and it doesn’t make any difference’. It’s still the song.”
Hay, who says the court case cost “millions”, is releasing Down Under as a solo project.