Crowded House making beautiful music again

Crowded House formed in the aftermath of the breakup of New Zealand band Split Enz. Led by New Zealander Neil Finn, Crowded House recorded some of the most memorable songs of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their catchy, lyrical often whimsical pop/rock sound has enthralled fans for nearly thirty years since the band first appeared in 1985. Neil Finn and Australians drummer Paul Hester and bassist Nick Seymour formed the core of the band from 1985-1996. Paul Hester left briefly in 1994, and returned in 1996 for the band’s “Farewell To The World” benefit concert for the Sydney Children’s Hospital on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Neil’s brother and former Split Enz bandmate, Tim Finn joined the band for the “Woodface" album and tour in 1991. Americans Mark Hart on guitar and keyboards and Matt Sherrod on drums joined in 1989 and 2007, respectively.

Originally called the Mullanes, after Neil Finn’s middle name, the band renamed itself Crowded House after their housing conditions while staying in Los Angeles. Their first studio album, “Crowded House” (1986) reached #1 in Australia, #3 in New Zealand and #12 in the US. It featured the international top ten hits “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (No. 1 in Canada and New Zealand, No. 2 in the US) and “Something So Strong” (No. 3 in New Zealand and No. 7 in the US).

Three studio albums followed, “Temple of Low Men” (1988), “Woodface” (1991), and “Together Alone” (1993) each featuring beautifully written songs by Neil Finn. The evocative lyrics conjure haunting imagery, emotion and wit. “Better Be Home Soon,” “Four Seasons in One Day,” “Distant Sun” and “Private Universe” are unforgettable, classic Crowded House songs. Nick Seymour, an artist as well as musician, painted the artwork for the album covers and designed costumes and stage sets for the band. “Recurring Dream” a greatest hits album plus three new songs was released in 1996, the year of the band’s split.

The Finn Brothers produced two albums “Finn” in 1995 and “Everyone is Here” in 2004. Neil’s solo efforts in the years following the band’s 1996 split included two studio and two live albums. Paul Hester appeared with The Wiggles, hosted TV programs and formed another band, Largest Living Things (1997-2000). Finn, Seymour and Hester reunited onstage occasionally at performances by the Finn Brothers and Largest Living Things. A Crowded House compilation album, “Afterglow” was released in 1999. Tragically, after years of suffering from depression, Hester committed suicide on March 26, 2005. The Finn Brothers, then appearing at the Royal Albert Hall in London, performed with Nick Seymour in tribute to their friend and former bandmate.

About to record his third solo album in 2006, Neil Finn called on Nick Seymour to pitch in on bass guitar. While working on the album, the solo effort was put on hold and Crowded House reformed. With drummer Matt Sherrod joining the band, the album became “Time on Earth” (2007) and was dedicated to Paul Hester. The album though infused with melancholy heralded the band’s return in top form. “Intriguer” followed in 2010. Crowded House continues to tour and perform worldwide.

Crowded House has received numerous awards, including the ARIA Award for Best New Talent in 1987, Album of the Year for “Temple of Low Men” in 1989 and Best New Artist at the MTV Music Video Awards for “Don’t Dream It’s Over” in 1987. Tim and Neil Finn were both awarded the OBE by Queen Elizabeth in 1993 for their contributions to music. The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) placed “Don’t Dream It’s Over” at #7 on its 2001 list of 10 best Australian songs of all time.