Neil Mullane Finn was born on 27th May 1958 in Te Awamutu on the North Island of New Zealand. From a young age, Neilís brother Tim (b. Brian Timothy Finn, 25th June 1952) was a large musical influence on Neil, and sent him recordings of early jam sessions with fellow Sacred Heart boarding school attendee Jonathan Michael Chunn. I first saw Split Enz in November 1972 at Levi's Saloon in Auckland. Back then I was still a pimply schoolboy, but that performance and those first songs made a lasting impression on me. I went back to Te Awamutu and wrote "Split Enz" on my pencil case. I was a fan! I remember sitting on the sunporch at Malmsbury Villa while Phil and Tim bashed out a new song on their acoustics. It was music with a vision for me - strange and exciting.
- Neil Finn (liner notes in "Beginning of the Enz" CD from Mushroom's 1972-1979 Gold Box Set) While a teenager, Neil found an outlet for his music by joining the All'n Some Folk Club, which allowed Neil the chance to play with other musicians and write his own music. In 1975, Neil was critically acclaimed as the support act for the Split Enz Australia/New Zealand tour. Neil then combined songwriting forces with Mark Hough and Geoff Chunn (Jonathan's brother) in 1976 to form the short-lived band After Hours. Soon after, Neil received a call from Tim asking him to join Split Enz. Neil brought a fresh perspective to the songwriting, and he penned many of the bandís major hits, most notably "I Got You", which virtually catapulted the Enz from obscurity to international fame. It was the biggest selling Australian Single that year and received the "Song of the Year" award at the ARIA's, Australia's biggest music award.
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After the Enz broke up, Neil, Paul Hester (Split Enz's last drummer) and Melbourne bassist/artist Nick Seymour created a band originally called "The Mullanes." They moved to Los Angeles in 1985 and stayed in a cramped North Hollywood home while shopping for a record label, which inspired a name change to Crowded House. Armed with producer Mitchell Froom and a record deal from Capitol, the band wrote and recorded what was to be their biggest commercial success. Their self-titled debut launched their most successful single "Donít Dream Itís Over," which reached #2 on the US Billboard charts in1987. This album was followed in 1988 by "Temple of Low Men," which drew rave reviews from the critics. In 1989, while Neil simultaneously worked on both the next Crowded House album and a project with his brother, Tim suggested a merging of Crowded House and the Finn Brothers projects, combining the best songs from both. Tim joined Crowded House for their 1991 album "Woodface" and the following tour. "Weather With You" broke Crowded House into the UK market, reaching #7 on their charts, and "Woodface" went triple platinum in the UK and double platinum in Australia. Over the summer of 1992/1993, Neil returned to his native New Zealand along with Crowded House (which had lost Tim but gained new official band member Mark Hart) to record "Together Alone," the band's fourth and final studio album, which was released in 1993. In 1994, Crowded House won the much-coveted Q magazine award for Best International Act, beating out U2, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. After the Together Alone tour, Neil returned home to New Zealand where he spent time with Tim working on the Finn Brothers sessions again. The result was 1995's "Finn," an album which the brothers produced and played all their own instruments.
In 1996, Neil participated in Eddie Rayner's ENZSO project (the symphonic orchestration of the music of Split Enz). Not long after the decision to break up CH, the band released "Recurring Dream," a compilation of greatest hits, live tracks, and three songs that had been written and recorded for what would have been a fifth studio album. Crowded House said "Farewell To The World" with a huge concert for charity in Sydney, Australia on November 24, 1996.
Neil spent most of 1997 in his basement studio, writing for his first solo release "Try Whistling This." He recorded the album in New York City in December 1997, collaborating with Sebastian Steinberg and Yuval Gabay from Soul Coughing. Neil debuted his new solo material on Paul Hester's "Hessie's Shed" show in Melbourne on April 2, 1998, featuring the first live performance in Australia of "She Will Have Her Way." He was later joined by Paul and Nick Seymour for a rousing version of Crowded Houseís "Sister Madly" - a fan favourite.
Neil still brings a inimitable warmth and emotion to his music that has captivated listeners for twenty years and counting. Just as he has picked up new fans with every project, "Try Whistling This" and "One Nil" are sure to introduce and re-introduce Neil Finn to music lovers around the world.
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