MY 33 FAVORITE RECORDING ARTISTS- #26– CROWDED HOUSE

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On my countdown of My 33 Favorite Recording Artists- #26 is Crowded House. Like the previous #28- Creedence Clearwater Revival and #27- The Velvet Underground- #26 Crowded House is hurt by their overall lack of work- only six studio albums in 32 years. If they were more active they would be a lot higher on my list.

Crowded House’s debut would prove to be their peak commercially in the United States- with the great “Don’t Dream It’s Over” #2 on the charts leading the way. It went platinum in the US- and yielded another hit Something So Strong #7. The band featured New Zealander  Neil Finn- former member of Split Enz as the frontman- the key to the group- his songwriting was the strength of the group. I’d rank him as one of the finest songwriters in pop/rock music over the last thirty years or so. Not to downgrade the other members contributions but Finn is to Crowded House what John Fogerty was to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Australians Paul Hester on drums and Nick Seymour on bass rounded out the original group. On the third album Neil’s brother Tim joined-but for only that album.

The first album was the commercial success. The second album Temple Of Low Men- was as full of hooks as the debut but was a little darker lyrically and for some reason it didn’t go over all that well with American radio. They never had another hit in America after the two on their debut album and that is another one of those things that has always had me shaking my head. All four of their albums from the late 80’s -early 90’s sound chock full of hits to me. They have had 15 Top 40 hits in Australia and 13 in the UK. Go figure. All four of their earlier albums I listened to -just yesterday and all four receive 5 stars! Now the last two studio albums I can’t give 5 stars too- but they are still very strong efforts in my opinion and worth owning.

Crowded House has had two separate careers- the first four albums came on a regular basis- 1986 to 1993– then there was a fourteen year break and then they got back together and released two albums 2007 and 2010. Neil Finn has been busy all along with different projects- solo albums, a couple fine albums with his brother Tim,  a project with his wife- The Pajama Party and recently an album with his son Liam. Of course the big news this year concerning Neil Finn is his replacing Lindsay Buckingham in Fleetwood Mac and touring with them. As a big Crowded House fan this isn’t something I like, I think Neil is way above those dinosaurs of rock but I can’t blame him- he is going to make more money than he ever has before and also his music will get the widest exposure it has received since the debut album of Crowded House– and well what I want- another Crowded House album and tour was unlikely to happen anytime soon anyway- it has been eight years already.

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If you are unfamiliar with Crowded House there is no better place to start than with Recurring Dream: The Very Best Of Crowded House from 1996- 19 songs in a little over 70 minutes- great pop music heaven. Has to be on my short list of favorite best of- greatest hits type albums. Sums up their career perfectly. Of course there are album cuts that are outstanding that aren’t on this but these songs were the classics- they are all hits in my hit parade. Again, I would recommend all the Crowded House albums but this is my most played one.

I saw them once in concert- in Buffalo on their last tour- maybe the best bargain I’ve ever had for entertainment- the tickets were $10 and my friend Phil and I were up front/ center. Great concert.

Favorite Crowded House Songs-

  • DISTANT SUN
  • WEATHER WITH YOU
  • WORLD WHERE YOU LIVE
  • FALL AT YOUR FEET
  • LOCKED OUT
  • DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER
  • INTO TEMPTATION
  • PINEAPPLE HEAD
  • WHERE YOU COME
  • PRIVATE UNIVERSE
  • NOT THAT GIRL YOU THINK YOU ARE
  • INSTINCT
  • I FEEL POSSESSED
  • FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY
  • IT’S ONLY NATURAL
  • SOMETHING SO STRONG
  • MEAN TO ME
  • BETTER BE HOME SOON
  • EVERYTHING IS GOOD FOR YOU
  • I WALK AWAY
  • LOVE YOU TIL THE DAY I DIE
  • SHE GOES ON
  • DON’T STOP NOW
  • SHE CALLED UP
  • SATURDAY SUN
  • AMSTERDAM
  • TWICE IF YOUR LUCKY

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8 responses to “MY 33 FAVORITE RECORDING ARTISTS- #26– CROWDED HOUSE

  1. Great Pop/rock group. Certain lyrics either draws my attention to or away from a song. “Roots that spread so deep bring life to frozen ground” drew me into them. I listened to their first two albums a lot …the others ones just here and there…I need to catch up more.

  2. When there is mention of Crowded House & the USA, I immediately think of ‘Chocolate Cake’ (the song, not the product) in which the band are possibly perceived to be criticising Americans.
    I remember an article where someone attributed all US popularity loss to that song. Well Simple Minds are still touring the states – but What do they know about this world, anyway? [1]
    Split Enz, with Tim Finn or Phil Judd as leaders were promoted heavily in the UK in 1976/7 but they seemed to be plagued with ‘wrong time’ syndrome. Punk in ‘ 77 and allegedly the 1982 single ‘Six Months in a Leaky Boat’ was banned as it coincided with the Falklands Campaign. Time and Tide, from which it came, is a great album btw.
    Tim Finn gave a great reason for leaving Crowded House – egos. He gracefully withdrew. Blood is thicker.
    I have a Phil Manzanera album (K Scope 1978) where the brothers provided vocals (another worthwhile listen). It was recorded at Chris Squire’s (of Yes) house and there is another article mentioning the juxtaposition of the two skint kiwis walking past ‘gold records on the wall.’ [2]
    Chris
    [1] ‘The American’ from ‘Sister Feelings Call’.
    [2] Name that song – dead easy

  3. As a kiwi, I love this choice! Neil finn has/had rare song writing skills… I met him briefly while waiting outside the doors of the stones voodoo lounge after party in Auckland (waiting for it to finish, wanting autographs! ) … He just wandered along and asked what was going on… Had a quick chat n he kept walking on. Would have been much more excited had mick n Keith not been upstairs!

  4. Completely agree re: your comment about Neil Finn as a songwriter – I played their first album to death – Something So Strong and Don’t Dream its Over are perfect pop songs in my opinion – I could play over and over and never get tired of them

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