I was introduced to Neil Finn’s music when he was part of his brother Tim’s band, Split Enz. I can even remember the first time I heard him. It was on Fridays, ABC’s answer to Saturday Night Live. Points if you know what I’m talking about, since the show was only on from 1980 to 1982. Split Enz was on the night of October 17, 1980 (I love Wikipedia). Once I heard “I Got You“, I was hooked. I looked for records by them, and found True Colours and Waiata. I may still have those LPs somewhere.
Split Enz broke up in 1984, then transmogrified into Crowded House. That’s where Neil really came into his own. Listening to “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is like drifting on a cloud. Sadly, they didn’t get nearly the recognition they deserved, though they were fairly successful. I was lucky enough to see them (for free!) at the University of Florida Bandshell in 1986 or ’87. They were just as good live as on records. They toured like crazy, so that’s not a surprise. This was back in the day before Auto-Tune, when performers actually had to sing unmodifed. A lot of modern pop musicians could learn a thing or twenty from them. Sadly, they disbanded around 1996.
That didn’t stop Neil from doing solo projects, like “Try Whistling This” and “One Nil“. He got some really cool people to work with him, like Wendy & Lisa of Prince fame. He also did records with Tim as the Finn Brothers.
Color me overjoyed when, in 2006, Crowded House reformed. They’re still together and making beautiful music.
To share my love of all things Neil, I put together a YouTube playlist of my favorite songs of his. Not all of them are there, but enough to give y’all an excellent representative sampling. The annoying thing is that you can only embed individual videos on WordPress, not playlists. Unlike Blogspot. Oh well. Still, I can provide you the link to the playlist:
What I did do was add videos of some groups covering Neil’s music. I had no idea Susan Boyle, Matchbox Twenty and Pearl Jam were among them. Others like Faith No More and Sixpence None The Richer have done covers too. Neil never became the mega-star he should have been, rather like the vastly underrated Squeeze. Now there’s a collaboration I’d love to hear. It was a pleasant surprise, though, to find out how many other musicians are fans of Neil’s music. Talent will out. Long may Neil Finn write!