Where To Start With... Crowded House
First introduced to the world as an addition to the line-up of New Zealand’s quirky new wave rockers Split Enz, founded by his elder brother Tim, Neil Finn found himself looking for a new musical venture after the band’s dissolution in 1984 and set about recruiting musicians to help him form a new band of his own.
Formed in Melbourne, Australia the following year with drummer Paul Hester and bassist Nick Seymour, Crowded House released their self-titled debut in 1986 and scored an early hit with ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ that quickly saw them rise up the charts around the world, narrowly missing out on topping the Billboard Hot 100 as it peaked at No. 2.
Despite their early success – or perhaps even because of it – the band initially find a worthy follow-up and Finn, the band’s primary songwriter, admitted struggling with an untimely bout of writer’s block (at one stage, the band even joked that they were considering naming their sophomore album Mediocre Follow-Up).
Eventually titled Temple of Low Men, their second album saw them touring extensively and, in order to take a break, Finn began writing material with is brother Tim for what was originally intended to be a solo album. The songwriting sessions proved so fruitful that it was decided the songs should be used by Crowded House instead, with Tim briefly joining the band’s line-up as a result.
The album that emerged was 1991’s Woodface, the band’s most successful album commercially and, arguably, their best from a creative standpoint too. Producing a string of hits, Woodface cemented the band’s status as one of the biggest to emerge from either Australia or the Finns’ native New Zealand in years.
After one more album, however – namely 1993’s Together Alone – the band called time on their union and, after a farewell tour, went their separate ways.
A comeback never seemed likely, with Finn pursuing other projects, but after spending some time writing new material in the mid-2000s a reunion produced 2007’s Time on Earth and, three years later, another new album in 2010’s Intriguer, both of which topped the Australian charts and landed at No.3 and No. 12, respectively, in the UK.
Since then however iot’s all been quiet on the Crowded House front, and Neil Finn’s most eye-catching recent outings up until now had been as a new (and perhaps somewhat surprising) addition to the line-up of Fleetwood Mac.
Late last year, however, came the announcement of their first new album in years, with a new line-up that now includes two further members of the expanding Finn clan in his sons Liam and Elroy.
Dreamers Are Waiting arrives in stores on June 4 and is the first new Crowded House album in 13 years. To celebrate its arrival we went digging through their back catalogue and picked out five of the band’s finest moments so far…
‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’
Crowded House didn’t have to wait long for their first real hit. Included on their eponymous debut album, ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ was only the band’s second single, and while the song’s success was a slow burn at first, it soon began to creep onto radio playlists around the world and it remains their most commercially successful single even now.
‘Better Be Home Soon’
While their second album didn’t quite enjoy the same level of success as their debut, 1988’s Temple of Low Men did contain one of their most enduring songs in the form of its closing track, the gradually swelling ballad ‘Better Be Home Soon’, proving they were more than a one-hit wonder.
‘Weather With You’
1991’s Woodface is undoubtedly the band’s finest hour and the rekindling of the songwriting partnership between the Finn brothers produced several of Crowded House’s most well-known songs, but surely the biggest hit of the bunch was ‘Weather with You’, which remained an ever-present on radio and MTV for pretty much the rest of the decade.
‘It’s Only Natural’
We could have picked three or four tracks from Woodface for our list if we’re being honest, but while some would no doubt argue that songs like ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ or the towering ‘Fall At Your Feet’ have earned their place here, we’ve gone for the more upbeat ‘It’s Only Natural’ just because the Finn brothers’ harmonies are at their very best here.
Featured on their 1993 album Together Alone – their last before their original breakup – ‘Distant Sun’ delivered one last global hit before the band ended up on an indefinite hiatus that would last until 2007’s comeback album Time on Earth. As parting gifts for their fans go, you could do a lot worse than this.