The Crowded House Refresher CourseIt was January 27th 1985; a blonde-haired Neil Finn walked onstage at the Myer Music Bowl to show his support for the 'East African Tragedy' (EAT concert). Split Enz had finished their Australasian 'Enz with a Bang!' tour in NZ on December 6th 1984. Partner in crime Paul Hester climbs back onto the kit; the fitting 'One Mouth Is Fed' is played, followed by 'Help Me Help You', featuring Rob Hirst, Martin Rotsey, Rick Grossman and Mark McEntree. Nick wasn't in the band yet, so this performance was pre-Mullanes (Mullane, of course, being Neil's middle name).
February 1985 saw Neil and Paul recording some demos, whilst at the same time auditioning bass players. The Reels' guitarist, Craig Hooper, was also at a loose end: at the time, The Reels was one of Neil's favourite bands, so a 4th member was given the green light. Nick was told that he had the bass player's gig just before Neil & Paul left Australia for the USA & UK on their search for the elusive record deal. They wanted to remove the 'middle men' and sign a worldwide deal. Eventually Capitol (EMI) signed them, despite being unsure about the name The Mullanes.
On March 13th 1985, The Mullanes begin rehearsals in Australia for their 'Coaster to Coaster' Tour and play 24 dates.
In May 1986, they play a special fan club show, "Split House", at The Middle Park Hotel. This is the first gig as Crowded House, with a very special one-off appearance by Split Enz. A packed house, several encores…. the fuse was lit!
In June 1986, Crowded House's debut album is released in Australia, followed closely by the USA release in July.
The Crowdies hit Europe through August and September with the 'Now We've Been Somewhere' promo tour, which takes them through 9 countries in 2 weeks.
November 1986 and the band play a series of acoustic promo shows in the USA, including Yamashiro's Garden Room in Hollywood (Japanese), an Italian restaurant in NYC and a seafood restaurant in Seattle. The U.S media and especially radio start to respond to the new single 'Don't Dream It's Over'. The debut album receives a Gold award in Australia, the start of things to come.
In mid-December, the band is filmed for a special New Year's Eve show on Rockarena (ABC TV), with the band faking the traditional midnight rendition of Auld Lang Syne. The show is one of the turning points in Crowded House's Australian career, helping to kick-start massive sales of 'Crowded House' over the first week of 1987. The album jumped from the tail-end of the Australian charts into the National Top 10, achieving Platinum status. Eventually, it went on to sell half a million units in Australia (7x platinum).
January 1987 sees the Crowded House Australian tour take in 4 states, Enz man Eddie Rayner joins them on keyboards, and so began Ed's long association with Crowded House.
In March the tour continues to the USA and Canada for 2 months, coinciding with the rising chart success of 'Don't Dream It's Over'; on April 25th 1987, 'Don't Dream it's Over' peaks at #2 in the USA and the album reaches #12. 'Don't Dream' hits the #1 spot in Canada - the only country where Crowded House have had a #1 national single.
The band returns to Australasia and spends June and July playing multiple nights at Entertainment Centres, thanks to the demand of a now huge Australian audience. The year finishes with a return to the US for more shows, then back home for a New Years Eve gig at The Metro Nite club in Melbourne.
The first few months of 1988 see the band recording their second album 'Temple of Low Men'. 'Better Be Home Soon', a live favourite from the recent touring, is the obvious choice for the first single, and has now become a standard at Crowded House gigs.
May and June 1988 is filled with Australian live shows. On June 24th, 'Better Be Home Soon' is at #2 on the Australian National chart and #1 in hometown Melbourne, making it a Gold Australian single. Although BBHS peaked at only #42 in the US, 'Temple' still achieved a Gold record award from the States; some bands would kill for that sort of failure. 'Temple' achieves 5x Platinum in Australia.
In July 1988 the band head off to London and Europe for media, showcases and major concerts like the Montreux Jazz Festival. On the home leg of the flight, they wing into Japan for dates in Osaka and Tokyo. On the 31st July they film the video clip for 'When You Come' in Tokyo.
In August they commence the 'Better Be Home Later Than Never' Australian tour, once more with Eddie Rayner on keyboards. The tour finishes with 5 sell-out shows at Sydney's State Theatre.
September has them back in America, performing 'Better Be Home Soon' at the MTV awards at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.
January 1989 sees the Crowdies join up with Schnell Fenster (a band made up mostly of previous Enz members), for a 12-date tour of New Zealand. The Enz reunite once again during the encore of the Auckland show.
In July, Crowded House joins other musical mates to support the 'Rock for Land-Rights' in Sydney at Homebush stadium.
America calls in March and April and Byrds member Roger McGuinn joins them as special guest on parts of the tour. 'Byrdhouse' (the live recording of these shows) ends up released as the B-side for 'I Feel Possessed'. The end of the Eighties allows a small run of shows with Crowded House, Split Enz, Boom Crash Opera and Hunters & Collectors. The Newcastle show is cancelled due to an earthquake that destroys the venue. The bands return to Newcastle in February 1990 for the 'Earthquake Relief' show at the International Sports Centre.
Early December, a special Fan club Christmas show is a sell out at Prahran Town Hall. Tim Finn joins Crowded House on stage as does Eddie Rayner for a few songs, most notably several new songs from the upcoming 'Woodface' album. This is Mark Hart's last show with the Crowdies, until Tim departs the band (at which point, Mark returns).
On January 23rd 1991, a World Press Release is sent out, titled "No Vacancy: Tim Finn moves into Crowded House".
In May the "Chocolate Cake" video clip is filmed around Melbourne. Its highlight? Paul Hester as 'Mrs Hairy Legs'! This is the most expensive Crowded House video so far. The single's highest chart spot was Australia, where it peaked at #20.
The Prahran Club hosted the official launch party for the single on May 29th. The band played to a packed room of fan club punters, media and EMI record company people, where they were called back for 3 encores.
The band, now a four-piece, hit the promotional trail: first to Europe, which included 2 sell-out shows at The Borderline in London. As Woodface had it's US release in July, the band ventured to the States, for more press and two free shows, one at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and the other in the Capitol Records car park itself.
In late July-early August , they return to Australia where Woodface has peaked at #2 on the Australian national charts; #1 again in both Victoria and Western Australia. 'The 'Get Woodfaced' Australian tour is underway, which sees a return to the pubs and clubs in an effort to embrace a new audience. This smaller run of sold-out pub dates helped sustain 'Woodface' on the Australian charts until the Christmas period. 'Woodface' sold double platinum in Australia.
Capitol showed major support for 'Woodface', but the tide had turned in America. Live, the band still drew a positive following; nearly all the shows on the USA-Canada 'Get Woodfaced Tour' (September 1991) were sold out, but the album peaked at #83 on the USA charts.
The band returned to Europe; Holland in particular had caught 'Woodface' fever, the album achieving Platinum after 2 weeks. 'Fall at your Feet' was released in the UK and started gaining radio play, giving the band their first Top 20 UK single (#17). England had discovered Crowded House. In November, two shows at London's Town & Country sold out within an hour. On the UK tour, Tim departs the band to pursue his solo career; Mark Hart steps back on board for live shows.
The band finished 1991 with a return run of shows in America; a notable moment on this tour was Paul Hester stripping from his Santa suit during the encore of the 2nd Wiltern Theatre gig!
In January 1992, the 'Weather with You' video is filmed near Queenscliff, Victoria, in a two-date shoot where local holiday makers joined in the filming. It became the perfect summer footage for a cold grey England. When the video reached saturation play, radio kicked in and Crowded House rode it all the way to #7 on the UK charts. During this period 'Woodface' caught its second wind; it jumped to #6 in the UK, #5 in New Zealand and #4 in Australia and Canada. It eventually sold triple Platinum in the UK.
Through March and April 1992, the band toured Australasia on the 'Then There Were Three' tour. The last gig on the Australian tour was the Concert for Life at Centennial Park, Sydney on March 28th. Crowded House was the crowd and press favourites on the day.
The touring continued; in June-July 1992 the band found themselves back to Europe for the '4 Seasons in 8 Weeks' tour. The final show was the MTV Europe Concert in Barcelona, Spain.
In November 1992, the band head to Kare Kare in New Zealand to commence recording their fourth album, 'Together Alone'.
In August 1993, they journey to South Africa for shows in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. The Commemorative Tour EP is released and goes top 10. In September, the band joins the bill for the Womad shows in the USA. The 'Distant Sun' video was filmed in Toronto at the start of this tour.
'Together Alone' is released in the UK in October 1993 and debuts at #4. The band makes the front covers of all the English music magazines and as a result, 'Woodface' turns back around and starts to climb. Crowded House now have two albums in the UK Top 40. The debut and 'Temple' also continue to sell and they receive a Silver sales award in England. The single 'Locked Out' is their highest charting in England at #12. Back home in Australia, the band are again at #2, receiving a Platinum award. 'Together Alone' reaches #1 in New Zealand and the band is presented with double Platinum awards.
Capitalising on their strong chart performance in the UK, the band spend November and December on the "Together Alone' tour of the UK and Europe, which culminates on 19th December with a show in Paris. Their efforts pay off; in January 1994, the band wins the Brit Award for Best International Group, beating Nirvana, U2, Pearl Jam and Spin Doctors. January also sees 'Together Alone' finally released in the USA.
The Australian 'Together Alone' tour followed in February 1994. In the hope of improving sales of 'Together Alone' in the US, the band returned for more dates there, following the Australian tour. The album peaked at #73 in the USA, a 10-spot improvement on 'Woodface'! At the Roxy Theatre, Atlanta on April 14th, drummer Paul Hester announces that this is his last gig. He departs the House and heads home to Melbourne. Wally Ingram, Andy Kubiszewski and Rob Brill fill in on drums until the tour finishes.
In May 1994, Peter Jones joins Crowded House on drums. His first show is at Rock Am Riem, Munich in front of 80,000 people. The second UK-Europe 'Together Alone' tour kicks into high gear; the band playing Wembley Arena on May 31st. The tour continues through June and July, with an unannounced gig at the Hell Fire club in Dublin and a final show at The Feile Festival in Ireland.
The start of 1995 sees Crowded House team up with Midnight Oil and Hunters & Collectors for their Australian 'Breaking The Dry' tour. The tour name turns out to be prophetic, as heavy rains create floods that nearly wash out the Townsville and Rockhampton legs of the tour. On January 28th, Crowded House is special guests for REM at Western Springs in New Zealand. The NZ Crowded House tour continues until the first week of February.
In July 1995, the band enters York Street Studios and work on new songs, resulting in the recording of 12 demos. 'Help Is On Its Way' (from that session) ends up on the band's 'Afterglow' release.
The band returns to York Street Studios in March 1996, this time with Hessie back on the drum stool. They record three songs, 'Instinct', 'Not The Girl You Think You Are' and 'Everything Is Good For You', for use as new material on the upcoming 'Recurring Dream - The Very best of Crowded House' CD.
In June, the band flies to London. The first gig is a special fan club show at the Hannover Grand. This will be Crowded House's last UK gig. The next day, Neil announces via the media that the band is splitting up. Emails and faxes go out around the world with this news.
A small promotional tour continues, including Europe. Appearances on TV shows like 'Later with Jules Holland' fill the schedule. They embark on a lightening trip to Canada where, on June 24th, they play live at The Horseshoe, Toronto.
'Recurring Dream - The Very Best of Crowded House' is released in July 1996. It reaches #1 in Australia, UK and New Zealand. In England sales are over 1.5 million units. In Australia it sells 10x platinum. All 3 new songs are released as singles; 'Instinct' climbing to #12 in the UK and 'Everything is Good For You' #10 in Australia.
In November 1996, Crowded House holds a press conference at Paul's Elwood Beach Cafe. They announce one final swan-song show, to be played on the steps of the Sydney Opera House on 23rd November. All monies raised from the gig go to the Children's Hospital and The Cord Blood Bank.
Prior to the Opera House gig, the band play two not-so-secret warm-up shows in Melbourne; both are fan club shows at The Corner Hotel on 20th and 21st of November.
November 23rd dawns, Sydney is awash, and the Opera House foreground flooded out. The concert is postponed by a day; however, the band persists with a sound-check later that afternoon, when the rain finally ceases.
On November 24th 1996, Crowded House plays their 'Farewell To The World' to 150,000 people at the Sydney Opera House. It's shown on TV and released on video (which achieved a 5x Platinum Video award). The Opera House exposure pushes Recurring Dream back to the #1 spot in Australia for another month; it has now moved 12x platinum.
During 1998, Paul has a run of nights at the Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda, titled 'Hessie's Shed'. Neil, Nick and Paul reform for several songs, joined by members of Paul's new group 'The Largest Living Things'.
In 1999, 'Afterglow' is released, which is a collection of "orphans and strays", demos and B-sides. It reaches #30 in NZ (Gold), #36 in Australia (Gold) and #18 in the UK (Silver).
January 2001 sees Neil play a solo show at 'Cold Live At The Chapel', part of a concert series played in a renovated chapel in the heart of Melbourne. These shows were broadcast on TV and were intimate, stripped-down performances. Nick and Paul join Neil onstage for some Crowded House classics.
On 9th December 2002, 'Dreaming: The Videos' is released on DVD. It spent 35 weeks on the ARIA DVD charts, for which the Crowdies received a triple-Platinum award.
In November 2006, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House gig, 'Farewell To The World' is released on DVD and CD. The DVD shoots to #1 on the ARIA DVD chart and spends 30 weeks in the charts, earning the band a 4x Platinum award for sales.
The dust barely settles over the 10th anniversary of 'Farewell To The World' and, by December 2006, the word on the street is that Crowded House are reforming and are looking for a new drummer. Several thousand drummers apply and auditions are held around the world. In January 2007, Matt Sherrod (formerly Beck's drummer) joins Crowded House on drums.
Crowded House fans see the new line-up for the first time on March 17th 2007, via a webcast from Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, Bath, UK. Two days later, the Crowdies play the Thekla Social Club, Bristol. In both gigs, the band debut new material as a taste of things to come.
In April 2007, Crowded House appears at the Coachella Festival in California, preceded by two warm up shows: the Marquee Theatre, Arizona and Glass House, Pomona CA.
Eleven years after their last single, a new single 'Don't Stop Now', is released in June 2007. It reaches #34 in Australia (#14 in Victoria) and #41 in the UK. The band spends most of June touring, playing major festivals and some smaller gigs throughout the UK and Europe, including the Hyde Park Calling Festival, where they co-headlined with Peter Gabriel.
In July 2007, the 'Time On Earth' album is released, and shoots to #1 in Australia (Platinum), #2 in New Zealand (Gold), #3 in the UK (Silver), #12 in Holland and #46 in the USA.
In the same month, the Crowdies make a triumphant return to live stages in Australasia, headlining the Live Earth Concert in Sydney on July 7th. Notably, in a concert aimed at raising awareness of global warming and environmental management, Crowded House complete their set in the dark, after the "green" generator runs out of fuel!
Following Live Earth, the band treats fans to 2 fan club shows; the Corner Hotel, Melbourne on July 9th, then on to New Zealand for another fan club show at the Kings Arms on the 12th.
The remainder of 2007 is taken up with constant touring; starting with the USA & Canada in August/September, the band move in through Europe in October, then return to Australia & New Zealand in November, where they play the largest venues in Australia since the band's inception. The tour wraps up with 11 dates in the UK, concluding with a passionate night at the Royal Albert Hall on the 11th of December.
The band returns to New Zealand in February 2008 for 3 shows at the Leigh Sawmill (Leigh) on February 22nd - 24th. As with Thekla, Bristol, the band features more new material in their set list.
Through April and May 2008, the band commences a second tour of the USA, playing multiple nights at Venues like The Filmore and Orpheum Theatre. In a first for Crowded House, official live recordings of many of these gigs are made available for purchase.
The touring juggernaut continues to the UK & Europe for a second time in as many years in June and July 2008. Notably, the band play their first-ever gigs in Russia (Moscow and St Petersburg). As with the previous year, Crowded House plays at several large festivals, including Glastonbury.
A small Australian tour in late November-early December 2008 finishes off the year, the band returning to Tasmania for the first time in decades.
On March 14th 2009, to show their support for the Victorian Bushfire appeal, the band members perform in front of 80,000 people at the Sound Relief Concert, Melbourne Cricket Ground. A DVD of the show is released in October 2009.
Between April-June 2009, Crowded House continues work on new songs for next album at Neil's Roundhead Studio New Zealand. In June, overdubbing starts on 12 new tracks. The album has an expected release date of March 2010.
As at November 2009, 'Recurring Dream' continues to sell, 13 years after its release. It re-enters the Australian ARIA Top 50 chart (after 160 weeks on the chart). We expect it to turn over its 910,000th copy in Australia around Christmas 2009, meaning it will hit the magic 13x platinum mark in this country. It will also make it 'The biggest selling album by an Australian band' in the history of Australian music!
The band have announced two Festival dates for April 2010- Bluesfest Byron Bay and West Coast Blues and Roots Festival (Freemantle, WA).
A fresh start to 2010 with Crowded House changing both management and record company. Universal-Mercury for most of the world, and Fantasy via the Concord music group in the USA.
April 8th a special show case gig at Auckland Town Hall- the band playing 7 of the 11 new songs from the upcoming album.
May 1st- The new album will be titled 'Intriguer' , it's now down to 10 tracks from 11, the song 'Intriguer' makes an exit from the release.
May 11th- The band return to the UK & perform on Later With Jools Holland Show , and numerous newspaper and radio interviews are given. They follow this up with a UK- European tour that rolls though all of May and June, finishing at Hyde Park on June 27th for Hard Rock Calling (Paul McCartney headling).
The first week of June 'Saturday Sun' goes to radio, the first cut from the album. Digital download only but a promotional cd single in the USA (FAN-32257-02). A satellite crossover from The Hammersmith Apollo (June 9th) to Australian TV show 'Hey Hey It's Saturday' in Australia- 2 songs- 'Saturday Sun' and 'Mean To Me'.
June 21st 2010 and Intriguer debuts at #1 on the Australian charts. It peaks at #3 in N.Z., #12 in the U.K., #17 in Ireland, #50 in USA, #31 in Holland, #32 in Norway, #98 in Spain & #10 in Belgium. It takes awhile but it does achieve Gold record status in Australia, the only country to do so.
The band tour Europe & the U.K. for the whole of June. Next stop USA /Canada for live shows during July/August and September of 2010.
October 2010- "The Very, Very Best Of Crowded House' is released via EMI worldwide. It peaks at #11 on the Australian chart & receives a gold record award for sales.
The Intriguer Australian tour is underway in November playing Arenas to 10,000 people per night. Intriguer re-enters the Australian charts.
November -Intriguer wins the ARIA award for "Best Adult Contemporary Album" , the bands 12th ARIA award.
February -Crowded House play a handful of shows in New Zealand (4 date Winery Tour), the last live shows for awhile.
March- They enter Roundhead studios Auckland on March 1st (till March 11th) and commence work on some new material with English producer Nick Launay.
May 18th- Former Crowded House drummer Peter Jones passes away from brain cancer in Melbourne. "We remember him as a warm hearted, funny and talented man, who was a valuable member of Crowded House. He played with style and spirit. We salute him...".
The Crowded House Refresher Course Created by Peter Green & Liz Post