A Band So Strong: Crowded House

Surely I must have initially heard Crowded House on the radio (or MTV) circa 1986. I was instantly smitten with the sound of these Aussie/New Zealander lads! I recall listening to them for hours while working on my high school homework.

There was never a time that they fell out of favor with me. In fact, I saw Neil Finn play solo in Houston in 1998. Sadly, he looked grumpy and didn’t play much of his Crowded House material. But his voice sounded fabulous and it was a joy to see him perform live!

I hope you’ll join me on a short journey through my favorite songs from the Crowded House catalog:

My mind didn’t know how to process this kooky, off-kilter tune upon its release. “Sister Madly” fascinated me but confused my sensibilities, too. In the end, I decided to embrace its eccentricities.

I’m including this more subdued live performance from 1990. It’s still energetic but it’s reined in so that you can focus on just how good the music is. For true zaniness, this version from their farewell tour brings ALL the antics!

Neil looks happy and relaxed. His voice is perfection. Paul Hester was one-of-a-kind! You can really hear the swing influence on this particular take and everyone is at his peak. What fun!

There are some lovely acoustic versions of “Fall at Your Feet,” but I like having all the original band members perform on this one.

These lyrics (combined with Neil Finn’s vocals) always get me: intimate, personal, painful, and redemptive.

Another fantastic live take! I have yet to hear a bad one. These guys truly were the real deal!

When I was younger, I was drawn to “Weather With You,” but as I’ve grown older, this is one of the Crowded House songs that I listen to with regularity.

In fact, I’ve concluded it’s one of the most underrated songs of the 80’s. A perfect Bonnie song to be sure!

And I’m counting the steps to the door of your heart…

That line makes me swoon every. single. time. It never gets old!

Don’t Dream It’s Over” has some deep, sophisticated, heartfelt lyrics. The melody is so pretty you might easily allow those exquisite lyrics to roll right past you.

The song is as lovely as any in the Crowded House catalog. And as lovely as any from the entire decade.

It’s been ages since I listened to “Weather With You.” It’s so charming!

I had never heard this live performance from 1993 — it’s fantastic! Excellent harmonies and guitar-playing.

I always thought Neil was rather fetching, but 1993 was particularly kind to him. There were a lot of misguided fashion and hair choices at that time. Neil Finn managed to sidestep them. He looks the most handsome I’ve ever seen him! Rock star!

Sultry, sexy, and relaxed with a dash of that unique-to-Crowded-House off-kilter spirit. This live version of “Nails in My Feet” is fascinating!

There are so many layers to this performance. The keyboard, the vocal, the drumming, the lyrics. It’s endlessly interesting. Repeated listenings are necessary to absorb everything that is happening in this interpretation.

I’ve been listening to “Better Be Home Soon” for almost 30 years. It is as lovely EVERY time I hear it as it was when I first heard it in 1988.

There are Crowded House songs that are more sophisticated, quirkier, more popular, even more memorable. But this one remains a favorite due to its simplicity and its charm. It doesn’t try too hard. It’s just a pretty, pretty song that holds up almost 3 decades later.

A really good use of 3:24 minutes and guaranteed to soothe your soul! The 80's music scene may have had some embarrassing missteps, but the music of Crowded House isn’t one of them!

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