Human Frailty Pty Ltd
Split Enz was formed by New Zealanders Tim Finn and Phil Judd back in October 1972, a band that lasted in one form or another until 1985. Tim's brother Neil Finn joined in 1976 and they then had numerous hits (particularly in Australia and New Zealand) with songs like "I've Got You", "Six Months In A Leaky Boat", "History Never Repeats" and "Message For My Girl".
When Split Enz split, Neil Finn formed Crowded House with Nick Seymour (younger brother of Mark Seymour from Hunters and Collectors) and Paul Hester. Neil (the only New Zealander) provided vocals, guitar and piano, Nick was the bassist and Paul provided drums and backing vocals. From their 1985 beginnings to their disbanding in June 1996, Crowded House had significant success overseas (particularly in the UK).
Crowded House had considerable US success with their first album (1987). There were two US top 10 hits with "Don't Dream It's Over" (#2) and "Something So Strong" (#7). A third single, "World Where You Live", reached #65. The self titled debut album album peaked at #12. At this point Crowded House were unheard of in the UK but were massive in Australia and New Zealand. Further hits in the home countries were "Mean To Me" and "Now We're Getting Somewhere".
Their second album "Temple Of Low Men" (1988) did not make a large impression anywhere but in Australia and New Zealand where they scored more hits with "Better Be Home Soon" (#2 in Australia), "Into Temptation", "When You Come", "Sister Madly" and "I Feel Possessed". During this time Neil Finn contributed backing vocals to Hunters and Collectors "Ghost Nation" (1989) album.
Crowded House's excellent third album "Woodface" (1991) broke them in the UK. The album peaked at #6 in the UK and spawned the singles "Chocolate Cake" (#69), "Fall At Your Feet" (#17, #75 in the US), "Weather With You" (#7), "Four Seasons In One Day" (#26) and "It's Only Natural" (#24). Crowded House remained huge in Australia and New Zealand.
The fourth and final studio album from Crowded House was 1993's masterpiece "Together Alone". Peaking at #4 in the UK and #73 in the US it contained the hit singles "Distant Sun" (#19 UK) "Nails In My Feet" (#22 UK), "Locked Out" (#12 UK), the beautiful "Fingers Of Love" (#25 UK) and "Pineapple Head" (#27 UK).
A 'best of" called "Recurring Dream" was released in 1996 and contains a lot of the songs mentioned above. Also thrown in were the new singles "Everything Is Good For You", "Not The Girl You Think You Are" and "Instinct" (interestingly, the two songs here that were released in the UK were bigger than in Australia - the UK in the end very much 'got' Crowded House!).
Crowded House split after Paul Hester departed mid US tour and a little while later Neil Finn decided he was going to quit the band (a couple of weeks after talking publicly about plans for the next Crowded House album). Nick Seymour was informed over the phone by a rather happy Neil Finn and was somewhat upset. In turn it is said that the Hunters and Collectors song "Those Days Are Gone" (from "Juggernaut") is directed at Nick from Mark about the split. It talks about the 'boys' getting together for one last gig (they got back together for a farewell gig in Sydney). The song also reflects on the radio still plays their songs - and probably always will. Crowded House were a very radio friendly artist with their infectious pop rock melodies.
All Crowded House albums are highly recommended. Stylistically, the closest Hunters and Collectors have got to Crowded House was with their final album "Juggernaut" and the solo Mark Seymour albums.
A collection of Crowded House b-sides was released as the "Afterglow" album long after Crowded House split. A comprehensive studio DVD video collection called "Dreaming" was released in 2002, although the audio and video were not of a high standard.
The Crowdies liked to cover the Hunters and Collectors track "Throw Your Arms Around Me" (a lot of artists do) and liked to think that their version was better than the one the Hunna's did. Unfortunately the Crowdies version only appears on a rare fan club release and a number of lower quality bootlegs.
Nick Seymour played in Deadstar for a short time after the split of Crowded House before leaving due to musical differences with Caroline Kennedy, the lead singer. Also playing with brother Mark on his solo career for some time, Nick eventually left the country and now works in music production in the UK.
Neil Finn has released two solo albums, "Try Whistling This" (1998) and "One Nil" (March 2001), both good albums. Singles from these albums have been minor hits in Australia and the UK (and often much bigger in New Zealand) and include "She Will Have Her Way", "Sinner", "Wherever You Are", "Rest Of The Day Off" and "Last To Know". A live Neil Finn video and album called "7 Worlds Collide" was released in November 2001.
Paul Hester committed suicide on Saturday the 26th of March 2005. Paul's long battle with depression was largely hidden from the public eye by his antics and fantastic sense of humour. Paul's tragic death came as a terrible shock to the music world. Jack Howard was a friend of Paul's, and spoke on the tragedy in the media.