Crowded House make beautiful albums. By July 2010, the band, which formed in Melbourne in 1985 and quickly became a global success story, had sold 10 million of them.
But it is in concerts that they bring a sense of time to the timeless songs, with their improvised humour through whacky onstage patter and the occasional onstage practical jokes on fans.
For Neil Finn, the stage also provided a leveller to Crowed House songs, where non radio hits like Recurring Dream’, ‘In My Command’ and ‘Catherine Wheels’ get as much applause from the fervent fans as those which were.
“Music always travels in mysterious ways,” he admits. “I can’t say I understand why one song is a hit and another one’s not.”
Finn has said that his sense of ambition has never been about how many front covers he’s been on and how “big” a rock star he’s considered, but in making a piece of beautiful music that will last for decades and decades.
When people do remember those songs, it is not important to him that they remember their writer.
Throughout his career he’s leaped from project to project with different names and personnel – at odds with music marketing creed that “you wear the same clothes every day if you want to be famous.”
Crowded House Live 92—94 Part 1 has some of the band’s best ever songs. Part 2 will continue the incredible song list.
‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ was enough of a gorgeous ballad to be a world hit including #2 in the US, #1 in New Zealand and Canada and Top 10 in Australia, Norway and the Netherlands.
Neil was feeling lost at the time and wanted to write a song about moving forward. He penned it at his brother Tim’s home, trying to find quiet there while his sibling was away.
But drummer Paul Hester was staying there and had friends over, so while Neil wrote behind closed doors in the piano room, out came the line “when the world comes in”.
“Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup” is a homage to his musical hero John Lennon who used the line “Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup” on ‘Across The Universe’.
The song came together quickly and Neil made a demo of it as soon as he returned to his home, using a matchbox as a snare drum and tapping the table as his bass drum.
The original had a R&B/soul feel and Crowded House found it difficult when they rehearsed it.
In the studio, producer Mitchell Froom suggested changing the flavour, and shifted the key from E to E# to make it more melancholy.
Years after its release, fans remain divided on whether the song is of hope or if the title means “don’t dream (any more because) it’s over”.
According to bassist Nick Seymour: “You think the song is gloomy? The record’s about not giving up hope and succumbing to the effects of the mass media and consumerism, but there’s an over-riding positive view in all our songs.”