Split Enz

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Split Enz
Split Enz.jpg
Split Enz at Rod Laver Arena, 13 June 2006
Background information
Origin Auckland, New Zealand
Genres New wave, art rock, pop rock
Years active 1972–1984
Labels Mushroom, Chrysalis, A&M
Associated acts Crowded House, Finn Brothers, Schnell Fenster, The Makers, Enzso, Citizen Band
Website frenz.com
Past members
Split Enz at the Nambassa festival, New Zealand, January 1979
True Colours Tour, Commodore Ballroom

Split Enz was a new wave band from New Zealand that was popular during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was founded in 1973 by Tim Finn and Phil Judd, and had a variety of other members during its existence. Split Enz had eight songs listed in the APRA Top 100 New Zealand Songs of All Time, more than any other band.

Split Enz had ten albums (including seven studio albums) reach the top ten of the Official New Zealand Music Chart. From 1980 to 1982, the band had four number-one albums in New Zealand and three in Australia. It also two albums break the top ten of the Canadian Albums Chart, two break the top fifty of the Billboard 200, and one break the top fifty of the UK Albums Chart. The only number-one single for Split Enz was "I Got You" (1980), which topped the charts in both New Zealand and Australia. Other top-ten singles include "History Never Repeats", "One Step Ahead", "Dirty Creature", and "Six Months in a Leaky Boat".


In 1972, Tim Finn and Phil Judd founded a largely acoustic band called Split Ends in Auckland, New Zealand. Finn sang and played piano, while Judd sang and played guitar. Both wrote songs. They were accompanied by Mike Chunn on bass, Miles Golding on violin, and Mike Howard on flute. They were an odd mix for a pop band, Golding having been educated in classical music and Finn influenced by the Beatles, the Move, and the Kinks. In 1973, they issued their first single, "For You"/"Split Ends", and toured. Golding and Howard left soon after, and Chunn wanted the band to become electric, so new members were added: guitarist Wally Wilkinson, saxophonist Robert Gillies, and drummer Geoff Chunn. After Eddie Rayner joined the band in 1974, the name was altered to Split Enz. He was followed by Noel Crombie and Paul Crowther, while Geoff Chunn and Rob Gillies departed.[1]

In concert Split Enz was theatrical, wearing colorful costumes and unusual hairstyles. Their form of art rock first appeared on vinyl with the release of Mental Notes (Mushroom, 1975). Rob Gillies returned to the band and Wally Wilkinson left. Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music volunteered to assist the band on its second album. The members moved to England to record Second Thoughts (Mushroom, 1976), which was essentially a revision of their first album. To promote the album they toured as support to English folk-rockers Jack the Lad.[2] More personnel changes followed. Malcolm Green took over for Crowther on drums. Mike Chunn and Phil Judd were replaced by Nigel Griggs and Tim Finn's younger brother, Neil.[1]

Split Enz's biggest hit internationally was the 1980 single "I Got You" from the True Colours album. Tim Finn left the band in 1983 to pursue a solo career, and Neil became the lead vocalist. Split Enz broke up in 1984.

After Split Enz[edit]

Neil Finn and drummer Paul Hester founded Crowded House. Tim Finn briefly joined Crowded House later on and also recorded two albums together as the Finn Brothers.

Phil Judd released a solo album and formed the Swingers with Buster Stiggs and Bones Hillman. He also formed Schnell Fenster with Noel Crombie and Nigel Griggs. They were joined by Eddie Rayner, but Rayner left to form The Makers. His group Enzso performed Split Enz songs in an orchestral setting with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Rayner also pursued a solo career. Geoff Chunn and Mike Chunn returned to New Zealand and formed Citizen Band.


In 1986, two years after Split Enz broke up, it reunited for a Greenpeace benefit concert.[3][4] Three years later, Crowded House toured with Schnell Fenster, assembling an assortment of Split Enz alumni. The band reunited in 1992 for its twentieth anniversary tour and appeared on TV in 2002 to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary. In 2007, Split Enz toured with a membership consisting of Tim Finn, Neil Finn, Nigel Griggs, Eddie Rayner, Noel Crombie, and Malcolm Green.


Band member timeline[edit]


  1. ^ a b Woodstra, Chris. "Split Enz". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Robertson, Donald. "Walking Down The Road". Roadrunnertwice. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Rainbow Warrior music festival". NZHistory. History Group of the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Rainbow Warrior concert 1986". Frenz Forum. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 


  • Chunn, Mike. Stranger Than Fiction: The Life and Times of Split Enz. GP Publications, 1992. ISBN 1-86956-050-7
  • Chunn, Mike. Stranger Than Fiction: The Life and Times of Split Enz (revised ebook edition). Hurricane Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9922556-3-3
  • Dix, John. Stranded in Paradise: New Zealand Rock and Roll, 1955 to the Modern Era. Penguin Books, 2005. ISBN 0-14-301953-8
  • Green, Peter. Letters to My Frenz. Rocket Pocket Books, 2006. ISBN 0-9579712-3-0
  • Green, Peter, and Goulding, Mark, Wings Off Flies. Rocket Pocket Books, 2002. ISBN 0-9579712-2-2

External links[edit]