One of New Zealand?s finest musical exports, Crowded House, formed when new wave pioneers Split Enz called it quits mid-way through the 1980?s. Singer/guitarist Neil Finn (his brother Tim was the founding member of Split Enz) brought Split Enz drummer Paul Hestor together with bassist Nick Seymour, and guitarist Craig Hooper, as The Mullanes, after the split in 1985.
A year later, with a band name change, the loss of Hooper, a signing to Capitol Records and accompanying move to Los Angeles, Crowded House had gelled and recorded their debut, self-titled album. The disc had several strong singles including World Where You Live, Something So Strong, and the bonafide hit, Don?t Dream It?s Over.
Suffering from a lack of strong record label promotion, Crowded House languished for a time before a concerted effort that included a tour of small venues and record shops, along with numerous media appearances including regular gigs on music video channels such as MTV and MuchMusic. The band?s hard work paid off, and in 1987 Crowded House hit the US Top 40 with Don?t Dream It?s Over.
The follow up came a year later in the form of Temple of Low Men, which shed the pop veneer the band had crafted, and delved into much darker material. It yielded the singles Into Temptation and Better Be Home Soon, but the band never matched the commercial success of that initial release and their fortunes began to spiral downward.
There were a few tumultuous years that included the firing and rehiring of Seymour in 1989, then Neil Finn?s brother Tim joined up, contributing to the Woodface album in 1990. Tim left (or was asked to leave) during the tour to support that release. In the meantime, several supporting musicians came and went; Paul Hestor quit, and in 1996 Neil Finn officially pulled the plug on Crowded House.
Tragedy struck in 2005 when drummer Paul Nestor committed aged only 46. His death was tragic, but what made it especially eerie are some of the coincidences throughout the band?s career: Paul was always the outgoing and ?wacky? one during the early interviews, the cover of the debut album featured Paul decked out in angel wings and hovering above the other band members, then there was the 1996 CD put out with the unfortunate (in retrospect) title Paul Is Dead.
Crowded House reunited in 2007, released a new CD, Time On Earth, and have been touring to rave reviews, including Coachella and a slot on the Australian leg of the live Earth concert in July 2007. The tour brings them through the UK in November and December, including dates at Wembley Arena and the Royal Albert Hall. If you want to see how good 80?s pop was, you?d be hard pressed to beat this show.
For a bit of a ?then and now? flashback effect, here?s the reunited band playing Don?t Dream It?s Over at Live Earth in 2007:
Discography (Original releases Only)
1986: Crowded House (#99 UK)
1988: Temple Of Low Men (#138 UK)
1991: Woodface (#6 UK 2x Platinum)
1993: Together Alone (#4 UK Platinum)
2006: Farewell To The World (#120 UK)
2007: Time On Earth (#3 UK)
Forthcoming UK Dates
26/11 Dublin, Ireland – National Stadium
27/11 Belfast, UK – Waterfront Hall
29/11 Manchester, UK – MEN Arena
30/11 Glasgow, UK – SECC
01/12 Nottingham, UK – Arena
03/12 Birmingham, UK – NEC
04/12 Cardiff, UK – International Arena
06/12 Bournemouth, UK – International Centre
07/12 Brighton, UK – Brighton Centre
09/12 London, UK – Wembley Arena
11/12 London, UK – Royal Albert Hall