Crowded House is an Australian/New Zealand Alternative Rock band formed in 1985. Its original members were lead singer and guitarist Neil Finn, drummer Paul Hester (both previously of Split Enz), and bassist Nick Seymour. Crowded House got their name from their uncomfortable living conditions in L.A. during the recording of their first album.
The band gained early success in the U.S. with their brand of clever, exuberant Power Pop that avoided the overblown production prevalent in the The '80s. Their first album spawned the hits, "Something So Strong" and "Don't Dream It's Over" and proved Neil's knack for catchy songwriting. They soon became known for their anarchic live shows and Adorkable personas (in part carried over from Neil's time in Split Enz). Their second album, Temple of Low Men, however lost them support due to its Darker and Edgier themes - while still popular in Australia, the album barely cracked the American Top 40.
On their third album, Woodface, Neil's brother Tim Finn joined the band. It brought the band invigorated commercial success (while not charting highly in the States, it was the first of their albums that cracked the Top 10 in the UK) which allowed them to indulge in the artier Together Alone (Tim Finn however left the band before the recording of the album, to be replaced by guitarist Mark Hart) which is now widely considered their masterpiece, spawning seven singles.
Paul Hester departed in 1994, replaced by drummer Peter Jones, but when Neil Finn decided to disband the group in 1996 he returned to perform for the band's farewell show at the Sydney Opera House. A greatest-hits record, Recurring Dream, that included three brand-new songs, was the band's swan song. A collection of rarities, Afterglow, was later released in 1999.
Post-breakup, Neil Finn launched a successful but low-key solo career as well as releasing a second album of songs with his brother Tim. Nick Seymour moved to Ireland, and notably produced the debut album of Bell X1. Mark toured with several other artists, including Ringo Starr.
Paul Hester hosted a talk-show on Australian television, and had a recurring role on The Wiggles as Paul the Cook, however, tragically, following the break-up of his relationship with the mother of his two daughters, he committed suicide in 2005.
The band reformed in 2007, with Finn, Seymour & Hart, along with Matt Sherrod on drums, replacing the late Hester. They have since released two well-received albums, 2007's Time On Earth and 2010's Intriguer. Before re-forming, the original line-up's final 1996 show at the Sydney Opera House was released as Farewell To The World in celebration of that show's 10th anniversary, in 2006.
Since the release of Intriger, Neil Finn in 2012 recorded "Song of the Lonely Mountain" for the end credits for the first part of Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. He also formed an new band, Pajama Club, with his wife Sharron, and released his third solo album, Dizzy Heights, in 2014. One of the songs recorded for Recurring Dream, "Help Is Coming", was released as a charity single for Syrian refugees in September, 2015.
On September 5th, 2016, in commemoration of the band's 30th anniversary, the band was inducted into the Aria (Australia's equivalent to the Grammys) Hall Of Fame. Then, in November 2016, the band's studio albums + Afterglow were remastered and re-released in deluxe editions, each containing a new disc of rarities, B-sides, and demos curated by Neil Finn. A planned reunion concert of the band at the Sydney Opera House scheduled for 24 November, 2016 eventually was expanded by three additional days of shows due to overwhelming demand.
- Neil Finn: Vocals, Guitars, Piano (1985-1996; 2007-Present)
- Paul Hester: Drums (1985-1994; 1996; Deceased)
- Nick Seymour: Bass, Art Direction (1985-1996; 2007-Present)
- Tim Finn: Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards (1990-1991)
- Mark Hart: Guitars, Keyboards, Lap Steel Guitar (1992-1996; 2007-Present)
- Peter Jones: Drums (1994-1996; Deceased)
- Matt Sharrod: Drums (2007-Present)
- Craig Hooper: Guitars (1985)
- Gill Civil: Keyboards (1987)
- Crowded House (1986)
- Temple of Low Men (1988)
- Woodface (1991)
- Together Alone (1993)
- Time On Earth (2007)
- Intriguer (2010)
- Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House (1996)
- Afterglow (Rarities) (1999)
- The Very Very Best of Crowded House (2010)
Crowded House provide examples of the following tropes:
- Adorkable: The entire band, but especially Nick Seymour.
- After the End: Possibly "In the Lowlands."
- All Drummers Are Animals: Paul, although this was mostly a stage persona.
- Animated Music Video: "Twice If You're Lucky" has an adorable one.
- Anti-Love Song: "That's What I Call Love."
- Audience Participation Song: Several including "Don't Dream It's Over," "Fall At Your Feet," "Four Seasons In One Day," "Weather With You," and "Better Be Home Soon."
- Arc Words: The word "Kitchen" appears on at least one song in each of the first four albums.
- BSide: Afterglow collected several.
- Bald of Awesome: Nick Seymour after the reunion.
- Band of Relatives: Neil and Tim are brothers.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Pour le Monde" has some lines in Gratuitous French.
- Much of "Together Alone" is sung by a Maori choir.
- Bishōnen: Neil Finn in some photos.
- Bittersweet Ending: Each album (barring the first) ends with a song that is melancholy but hopeful.
- Breakup Breakout: Crowded House was this for Neil who was previously second in command in Split Enz.
- Careful with That Axe: Neil in "Kill Eye" and "Isolation." Paul in "That's What I Call Love" and "I'm Still Here."
- The Comically Serious: Neil played this up in early videos and interviews. He quickly became the foil to the roudier Nick and Paul.
- Conveyor Belt Video: "Don't Dream It's Over" is an award-winning example.
- Darker and Edgier: Temple of Low Men lacks the party atmosphere of the first album and its main themes are infidelity and guilt.
- Together Alone takes a darker and heavier turn after the poppy and upbeat Woodface.
- Deadpan Snarker: The whole band.
- Domestic Abuse: Topic of "Catherine Wheels."
- Driven to Suicide: Heavily implied to have happened to the women in both "Catherine Wheels" and "Hole in the River".
- Eagleland: "Chocolate Cake" has some Flavor 2 to it.
- Echoing Acoustics: Much of Together Alone, especially "Kare Kare" and "Private Universe."
- Epic Rocking: Live versions of "Private Universe" and "Hole In The River" tend to hover around the 9 minute mark (with roughly three-minutes of continuous guitar solo in each.)
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "I Am In Love."
- The Four Chords of Pop: "Fall At Your Feet."
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Woodface era: Neil is melancholic, Tim is choleric, Paul is sanguine, and Nick is phlegmatic.
- Grief Song: "Hole In the River," "She Goes On," and about half of Time on Earth.
- Hidden Track: "I'm Still Here" at the end of Woodface.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Nails in My Feet" and "Even If."
- Lyrical Dissonance: "She Called Up" is an upbeat song about Paul Hester's suicide.
- The musical style is considered a tribute to Paul's own upbeat taste in music.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually two to four but there are also several ones and fives.
- "Black and White Boy" is a six.
- Mood Whiplash: On Temple of Low Men, the poppy "Sister Madly" is immediately followed by "In the Lowlands."
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Although Together Alone shares the Power Pop roots of the earlier albums, it is also heavily influenced by Folk, Post-Punk, Dream Pop, Grunge, and especially World Music in the form of traditional Polynesian styles.
- New Sound Album: Played with: Together Alone explored new genres but was still definitely Crowded House.
- Intriguer added more electronic influences.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Kare Kare."
- Not Christian Rock: Many Crowded House songs have Christian overtones. "She Goes On" is most notable.
- Once per Episode: The aforementioned kitchen references. Neil even deliberately added the line, "Fire one more torpedo baby, watch the kitchen sink," to "Walking On The Spot" so that Together Alone would continue the trend.
- The Perfectionist: Neil Finn. On the commentary for the Farewell show DVD, he pointed out almost every flubbed note from the other band members!
- This perfectionism, however, is the reason their music sounds so good.
- Power Pop: Especially the first two albums.
- Protest Song: "Dr. Livingston" was a protest of the Mozambique Civil War.
- The Quiet One: Mark Hart, who rarely speaks either onstage, or in whole band interviews.
- Refrain from Assuming: The song is "Don't Dream It's Over." Not "Hey Now, Hey Now."
- Revolving Door Band: Not as much as Split Enz but only two original members are left. Tim Finn is one of the best known members but he actually only stayed for a year.
- Sanity Slippage Song: "Kill Eye" is a reminder of how a person can be scarred by guilt.
- Scare Chord: The first burst of "I'm Still Here" especially because the song is by far the heaviest rock song on ''Woodface" and, as a Hidden Track, comes after a half-minute of silence.
- Scenery Porn: The "Making of Together Alone" promo features gorgeous shots of Karekare Beach in New Zealand. Band photos from this era also featured beautiful Kiwi backdrops.
- Self-Titled Album: Their debut.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Crowded House gigs always feature some of this. There have been fan club exclusive CD's documenting some of them.
- Silly Love Songs: Crowded House love songs are usually pretty serious and subtle but "I Love You Dawn" and "Italian Plastic" prove that Tropes Are Not Bad. In fact, silliness aside, both qualify as Crowning Moments of Heartwarming.
- Shout-Out: The line, "Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup," from "Don't Dream It's Over" is a reference to a similar line in "Across The Universe."
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: "It's Only Natural" has the line, "You and I shake off this mortal coil."
- Step Up to the Microphone: Paul sings lead on "Italian Plastic," "I'm Still Here," "Skin Feeling," and "My Telly's Gone Bung."
- Studio Chatter: Paul says "That's sort of how we do it" at the end of "Sister Madly."
- Surreal Music Video: "Four Seasons In One Day," and "Private Universe."
- Talk About the Weather: In "Private Universe," Neil says there's no time or place to.
- Not to mention the sheer number of their songs about the weather.
- Take That!: "Chocolate Cake" poked fun at consumerism and specifically mocked such celebrities Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andy Warhol, and Liberace.
- Title Track: "Together Alone."
- The song, "The Intriguer" was cut at the last minute.
- Also subverted by "Recurring Dream" which was not included on the Greatest Hits Album of the same name.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "I Walk Away."
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Pineapple Head" was based on the fevered ramblings of Neil's son, Liam. The lyrics don't make much sense...
- Your Cheating Heart: A theme of several songs on Temple of Low Men. "Kill Eye" and "Into Temptation" are from the point of view of the cheater and "Better Be Home Soon" is from the point of view of the cheated.