Late ‘80s pop outfit Crowded House marks 30th anniversary of debut with vinyl reissues of six-album catalog

Australia’s Crowded House is best known in the U.S. for a pair of Top 10 hits that appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987. The group’s self-titled debut album found its way to No. 12 on the Billboard 200 thanks to the singles ‘Don't Dream It's Over’ and ‘Something So Strong,’ which went to No. 2 and No. 7, respectively, on the Hot 100. The former track also earned the group an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist. The album eventually went platinum in the U.S., but the band’s fortunes were primarily tied to how popular Crowded House was in its native Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and parts of Europe.

Crowded House continues to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band’s Capitol Records debut and five other albums with 180-gram vinyl reissues pressed from the original analog tapes—all remastered at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London. The albums generated gold and platinum sales in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., U.S., and Canada over the course of a 10-year tenure as worldwide pop music favorites. It all came to an end in 1996 when Crowded House bid farewell to an estimated 100,000 fans from the steps of the renowned Sydney Opera House. The final performance to benefit the Sydney Children's Hospital Fund was replicated this past November as the band celebrated 30 years together by returning to the waterfront architectural marvel for two shows.

In honor of these collective milestones, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) recently inducted Crowded House into the ARIA Hall of Fame. In addition, Universal Music Group is giving a deluxe edition treatment to all six Crowded House studio albums including Crowded House, Temple of Low Men, Woodface, Together Alone, Time on Earth, and Intriguer as well as the 1999 rarities album titled, Afterglow. The expanded sets feature demos, alt-cuts, and live tracks “from deep within the Crowded House vaults,” according to a press announcement posted on CrowdedHouse.com. Much of the material has also never before been made available to the public.

Crowded House evolved out of the Melbourne band Split Enz, which featured frontman and songwriter Neil Finn along with drummer Paul Hester. The two joined forces with bassist Nick Seymour and guitarist Craig Hooper and initially set out as the Mullanes. After dropping Hooper and moving on as a trio, the group relocated to Los Angeles and signed a recording contract with Capitol Records. A name change to Crowded House (a reference to the band’s cramped living quarters) and work with American producer Mitchell Froom (The Bangles, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow) resulted in the August 1986 release of the band’s self-titled debut.

Crowded House the band and album were instant hits in their native Australia and New Zealand, earning best new band honors at the first ever ARIA Awards, and enjoying global success with the aforementioned album singles. After four albums and nearly a decade together, Crowded House called it quits in 1996, ironically accompanied by the compilation, Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House, becoming a top-selling release the same year. Finn and Seymour reconnected in 2005 following the suicide death of Hester. Mark Hart was soon called back in and American Matt Sherrod stood out among the new drummers who auditioned for Crowded House’s final two studio albums.

Watch the official music video for ‘Don't Dream It's Over,’ the debut hit single by Australia’s Crowded House.


As A Matter of Fact…

* Crowded House was formed in Melbourne, Australia, during 1985. Founding member and frontman Neil Finn had recently dissolved the band Split Enz when his brother, Tim Finn, left the group to pursue a solo career. Neil Finn continued on with a new outfit that featured a stripped-down, back-to-basics combo initially called Mullanes.

* After touring Australia and recording a few demos, the group headed to Los Angeles in June 1985 to look for a record deal. Capitol Records came calling, but wanted the band to change its name. The moniker Crowded House was inspired by the band members' cramped living conditions in their L.A. apartment.

* Crowded House went to work with then-unknown producer Mitchell Froom (The Bangles, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow), releasing a self-titled debut in 1986. Poor promotion of the album prompted the band to embark on a series of acoustic sets for industry insiders and other targeted audiences. The resulting buzz scored talk show appearances that led to American audiences sending the album to No. 12 on the Billboard 200.

* The album Crowded House spawned the group’s two biggest hits with ‘Don't Dream It's Over’ and ‘Something So Strong,’ which went to No. 2 and No. 7, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1988, second album Temple of Low Men was a critical success, hailing Finn’s improved songcraft. However, the album failed to perform commercially as the single, ‘Better Be Home Soon,’ stalled just outside of the Hot 100’s Top 40.

* Plans for a major U.S. tour were cancelled in favor of a well-received Australian and Canadian tour, but Crowded House broke up in mid-1989. Neil and Tim Finn reunited later in the year and began writing songs together. A planned album as a duo was scrapped in favor of a third Crowded House album, Woodface, featuring Tim Finn as a new member of the band.

* The album and singles such as ‘Chocolate Cake’ and ‘Weather With You’ failed to catch on in the U.S., but Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and Europe embraced the band’s return and made Woodface a platinum-seller. In 1993, Crowded House regrouped to record fourth album, Together Alone, adding American guitarist Mark Hart and bringing in Killing Joke’s Youth to replace Froom as producer.

* Crowded House formally disbanded in June 1996, performing a few farewell shows in various locations including a final concert for 100,000 fans at the world-famous Sydney Opera House. The November 1996 event doubled as a benefit for the Sydney Children's Hospital Fund.

* Crowded House has won several national and international awards including 11 ARIA Awards and eight APRA Awards. In 1987, the music video for ‘Don't Dream It's Over’ earned an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist, and in 1993, both Neil and Tim Finn were awarded OBEs from the Queen of England in recognition of their contributions to the arts.

* The BRIT Awards named Crowded House International Group of the Year in 1994, and ‘Don't Dream It's Over’ was named the seventh best Australian song of all time in 2001. It was also ranked No. 50 on 2009’s Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time (voted by the Australian public). In November 2016, Crowded House was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

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