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Tim Finn

Tim Finn, OBE
Tim Finn playing the Southbound Festival (2012)
Background information
Birth name Brian Timothy Finn
Born (1952-06-25) 25 June 1952
Origin New Zealand
Genres Pop, new wave, alternative rock, art rock
Years active 1972–present
Labels Mushroom Records, WEA, Capitol Records, Columbia Records/Sony, EMI Records, Virgin Records, Discovery Records, CRS Records, Periscope Records

Brian Timothy "Tim" Finn, OBE (born 25 June 1952) is a New Zealand singer and musician. His musical career includes forming 1970s and 1980s New Zealand rock group Split Enz, a number of solo albums, temporary membership in his brother Neil's band Crowded House and his joint efforts with Neil Finn as the Finn Brothers.


  • Early life 1
  • Solo work 2
  • Crowded House, Finn and later solo work 3
  • Personal life and Steel City 4
  • Discography 5
    • Singles 5.1
  • Awards 6
    • RIANZ Awards 6.1
  • References 7
    • Books 7.1
  • External links 8

Early life

Brian Finn was born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand. He went to Sacred Heart College, Auckland, a Catholic boarding school. In 1971 he started a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Auckland. There he jammed in music practice room 129 (later the name of a Split Enz song) with friends and future Split Enz bandmembers Mike Chunn, Robert Gillies, Philip Judd and Noel Crombie. Music soon became more important to him than his studies; in mid-1972 he quit university. A few months later, Phil and Tim formed the group Split Ends (renamed Split Enz, shortly before their first move to Melbourne in 1975). The bands' music moved towards a more mainstream sound in later years; their music style is best described as eclectic, incorporating influences from art rock, vaudeville, swing, punk, glam rock, rock and pop. Between 1972 and 1977, Tim and Judd alternated as frontman for the band. Once Judd permanently left the band, Tim Finn's younger brother Neil Finn took his place.

Solo work

Finn had his first success away from Split Enz in 1981 when his discarded demo "They Won't Let My Girlfriend Talk to Me" became a top 10 hit for Australian band Jimmy and the Boys.[1] In 1983 Finn recorded his debut solo album, Escapade, while still a member of Split Enz. This met with major commercial success both in Australia and New Zealand, and yielded hit song "Fraction Too Much Friction", which revealed a more rhythm-based sound than Split Enz had been known for. After contributing four songs to Split Enz album Conflicting Emotions, Finn left the band permanently in June 1984, to focus on a solo career. The following year he moved to London. 1986 saw the release of his second solo album Big Canoe. The album utilised a wide variety of instrumentation, including guitars, orchestral backings and traditional Indian instruments - most notably on single "No Thunder, No Fire, No Rain", which was inspired by the Bhopal chemical disaster. Though Big Canoe reached number three on the New Zealand charts, it failed to become the international breakthrough that Finn or record company Virgin had hoped.

During this time, Finn's focus also turned to soundtrack music, and he landed a few acting roles on-screen. Finn has composed for a number of Australian films and TV productions, including 1981 teen tale Puberty Blues and comedy Les Patterson Saves the World, which yielded Australian hit "You Saved the World". Finn had a small part in Australian film The Coca-Cola Kid alongside then-girlfriend Greta Scacchi, and a larger one in her Italian-shot romance La Donna della Luna (The Moon Woman).

Crowded House, Finn and later solo work

In late 1989, Finn was back living in Melbourne, recording his eponymous third album, Tim Finn, for Capitol Records. The album would yield strong reviews and New Zealand hit "Parihaka", based on a Maori village known for its campaign of passive resistance to European occupiers. In early 1990, he began playing music with younger brother Neil, for an intended Finn brothers record. After working together on some songs, Neil later proposed incorporating the tracks onto the latest album of Crowded House, the group he had formed after Split Enz dissolved. Tim performed with the band to promote the band's album Woodface, and co-wrote eight songs, including the hits "Weather with You" and "Four Seasons in One Day". But some time during the tour which followed the album's American release, all concerned realised that the combination was not a good fit. Finn returned to pursue his solo career.

Both Tim and Neil were made OBE for services to New Zealand music in the 1993 Queen's Birthday Honours List.[2] The brothers Finn collaborated on another album in 1995, playing most of the instruments themselves. Finn was released as the first Finn Brothers release. In support of this album, the brothers toured Europe, Australia and the USA. Also in 1995, Finn formed the band ALT, with Irish musicians Andy White and Liam Ó Maonlaí (from band Hothouse Flowers). ALT's name was formed from the initial letters of their names. They released the album Altitude and toured Europe and Australasia.

5 June 2000 was proclaimed "Tim Finn Day" by the Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the USA during Finn's tour of the United States that year.

2000 also saw the release of album Together in Concert: Live, featuring Finn, and fellow New Zealand singer/songwriters Bic Runga, and Dave Dobbyn. Recorded in August and September 2000 in venues around New Zealand, the album saw the three performers each equitably showcased. Both the concerts and album feature all three performers providing vocal and instrumental backing on each other's songs. The album spent 16 weeks in the New Zealand charts, and was finally released in the UK in May 2007.

In 2004, the Finn brothers released their second album, Everyone Is Here. The album was originally intended to be produced by Tony Visconti but the final release shows most production credits going to long-time Finn producer Mitchell Froom. Reviewing the album, a writer for Mojo magazine argued that it contained "some of the most haunting music to bear the Finn imprint".

Finn has continued to release solo albums, mining many genres along the way. He also contributed a song to the soundtrack of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe entitled "Winter Light", which later appeared on Finn's Imaginary Kingdom album. He appeared as the offbeat father of the main character in 2010 black comedy Predicament.

Finn also guested on Peter Gabriel's song "Whole Thing" from the 2008 collaborative album Big Blue Ball.

Recently, Finn has been composing further for theatre, with an opera Star Navigator commissioned by New Zealand Opera, Victorian Opera and West Australian Opera, and the musical Ladies in Black to premiere in Brisbane by Queensland Theatre Company in November 2015.[3]

Personal life and Steel City

Finn was in a relationship with actress Greta Scacchi from 1983 to 1989.[4] He is currently married to television presenter Marie Azcona, formerly of MTV and TVNZ One's Music Week.[5] Finn and Azcona have two children; a son, Harper, and a daughter, Ellie. The pair have collaborated on several songs, some of which are featured on Steel City, the dance show that Finn wrote. Aside from co-writing two tracks with Azcona, Finn collaborated on another with former Split Enz member Mike Chunn.


This discography relates to releases by Tim Finn only. See Finn Brothers' discography, Crowded House discography and Split Enz discography for other related works.
Date Title Label Charted Country Catalog number
1983 Escapade Mushroom Records 1 NZ
8 Australia
161 U.S. D19230
1986 Big Canoe Virgin Records 3 NZ
31 Australia CDV-2369
1989 Tim Finn Capitol Records 8 NZ CDP7-48735-2
44 Australia
1993 Before & After Capitol Records 3 NZ CDP-594904
34 Australia
29 UK
1999 Say It Is So Sonny's Pop Records
2001 Feeding the Gods 27 NZ 002
2006 Imaginary Kingdom Capitol Records 18 NZ
2008 The Conversation EMI Records
2009 North, South, East, West...Anthology Capitol Records 15 NZ
2011 The View Is Worth the Climb ABC Music/Universal Music 28 NZ
1999 Far Out Fan club release
2001 What You've Done EMI Records
1987 The Les Patterson Long Player WEA 2547791
1991 Woodface
(with Crowded House)
Capitol Records 1 NZ
83 U.S. CDP-7-93559-2
1995 Altitude
(with ALT)
(with Neil Finn)
Discovery Records 8 NZ 77043
1998 Steel City CRS Records 5011402000
2000 Together in Concert: Live
(with Dave Dobbyn & Bic Runga)
2 NZ
2004 Everyone Is Here
(with Neil Finn)
1 NZ
2009 The Sun Came Out Sony Music 88697568272


Year Song Peak chart positions Album
AUS[6] Canada (RPM)[7] NZ[8]
1983 "Fraction Too Much Friction" 8 2 Escapade
"Made My Day" 22
"Staring at the Embers" 34 12
1984 "Through the Years" 34
"In a Minor Key"
1985 "Home for My Heart" 87 The Coca-Cola Kid Soundtrack
1986 "No Thunder, No Fire, No Rain" 46 24 Big Canoe
"Spiritual Hunger"
"Carve You in Marble" 33
"Sailing Away" (with All of Us) 1 Ensemble charity song
1987 "You Saved the World" Les Patterson Saves the World
"With You I'm Alive"
1989 "How'm I Gonna Sleep" 24 77 1 Tim Finn
"Crescendo" 97
"Not Even Close" 91 20
(with Herbs)
6 New version of a track originally from Tim Finn
1990 "Long Hard Road"
(with Phil Judd)
1992 "Islands"
(with MC Fli T)
1993 "Hit the Ground Running" 14 Before & After
"Persuasion" 62 1
"Many's the Time"
1994 "Runs in the Family" 9
1998 "Steel City" Steel City Soundtrack
1999 "Twinkle" Say It Is So
2001 "What You've Done" 48 Feeding the Gods
2006 "Couldn't Be Done" Imaginary Kingdom
2007 "Horizon"
2008 "Out of This World" The Conversation


RIANZ Awards

The New Zealand Music Awards are awarded annually by the RIANZ in New Zealand.
Year Award[9] Work With Result
1984 International Achievement solo Won
Split Enz Nominated
1989 Best Male Vocalist solo Won
Best Songwriter "Parihaka" solo Won
1992 Best Songwriter "It's Only Natural" with Neil Finn Nominated
1996 Album of the Year Finn Finn Brothers Nominated
Best Group Finn Brothers Nominated
International Achievement Finn Brothers Nominated
2001 Album of the Year Together in Concert: Live with Dave Dobbyn & Bic Runga Nominated
2005 Album of the Year Everyone Is Here Finn Brothers Nominated
Single of the Year "Won't Give In" Finn Brothers Nominated
International Achievement Award Everyone Is Here Finn Brothers Won
2007 Best Male Solo Artist Imaginary Kingdom solo Won


  1. ^
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53334. p. 38. 11 June 1993.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^


External links

  • Tim Finn at the Internet Movie Database
  • Tim Finn at the TCM Movie Database
  • Tim Finn's Official Website
  • Tim Finn's MySpace site
  • Fanclub endorsed site
  • Australian Record Company site
  • Trouser Press commentary on Crowded House, Neil Finn and Tim Finn discography
  • Elsewhere Tim Finn retrospective to 2009
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