Tim Finn

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Tim Finn
Tim Finn playing the Southbound Festival (2012)
Tim Finn playing the Southbound Festival (2012)
Background information
Birth nameBrian Timothy Finn
Born (1952-06-25) 25 June 1952 (age 69)
Te Awamutu, New Zealand
GenresPop, new wave, alternative rock, art rock
Occupation(s)Musician, actor, film scorer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano, drums
Years active1972–present
LabelsMushroom Records, WEA, Capitol Records, Columbia Records/Sony, EMI Records, Virgin Records, Discovery Records, CRS Records, Periscope Records
Associated actsSplit Enz, Finn Brothers, Crowded House, ALT, Pearl Jam, Phil Manzanera, Roxy Music, Neil Finn, Harper Finn, Liam Finn, Hothouse Flowers, Enzso, Forenzics

Brian Timothy Finn OBE (born 25 June 1952)[1] 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 joint efforts with Neil Finn as the Finn Brothers.

Early life[edit]

Brian Finn was born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand,[1] weighing 10 pounds at birth, to parents Richard and Mary.[2][3] At the age of 13, he went to Sacred Heart College, Auckland, a Catholic boarding school, on a scholarship.[3] 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 1972 he quit university. A few months later, Phil and Tim formed the group Split Ends, renamed Split Enz in 1975, shortly before they left New Zealand for Melbourne. Their music moved towards a more mainstream sound in later years, with an eclecticism that incorporated 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. When Judd left the band, Tim Finn's younger brother Neil Finn took his place.

Solo work[edit]

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.[4] In 1983, Finn recorded his debut solo album, Escapade, while still a member of Split Enz.[1] This met with major commercial success both in Australia and New Zealand, and yielded hit song "Fraction Too Much Friction",[1] 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.[1] 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.

In 1978, he sang lead vocals on Phil Manzanera's album, K-Scope, an album that perfectly suited his vocal strengths. Manzanera had produced Split Enz's second album, Second Thoughts, a reworking of the original Mental Notes LP.

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[edit]

In late 1988, Finn was back living in Melbourne, recording his eponymous third album, Tim Finn, for Capitol Records.[1] The album yielded 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.[1] Tim performed with the band to promote the band's album Woodface,[1] and co-wrote eight songs, including the hits "Weather with You" and "Four Seasons in One Day".[2] 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.[1]

Both Tim and Neil were appointed Officers of the Order of British Empire, for services to music, in the 1993 Queen's Birthday Honours.[5] 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.

In 2000, the album Together in Concert: Live was released, 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 release has most production credits going to long-time Finn producer Mitchell Froom. A Mojo magazine review stated that it contained "some of the most haunting music to bear the Finn imprint".

Finn has continued to release solo albums, as well as 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[6] to premiere in Brisbane by Queensland Theatre Company in November 2015.[7]

In 2020 and 2021, Finn has been involved in the experimental ‘Forenzics’ project with former Split Enz members Noel Crombie and Eddie Rayner - produced by Phil Manzanera. The project being songs inspired by the songs of Mental Notes (Split Enz album).

As England and New Zealand went into lockdown, Finn and Phil Manzanera began working collaboratively on an album under the name ‘Tim Finn & Phil Manzenera’, which is called ‘Caught by the Heart’ - the EP released on 18 June 2021, and the album released on 26 August 2021. The album is produced by the two of them, with Manzenera doing the lead instrumental and Finn doing the vocals.

Personal life and Steel City[edit]

Finn was in a relationship with actress Greta Scacchi from 1983 to 1989.[8] He is currently married to television presenter Marie Azcona, formerly of MTV and TVNZ One's Music Week.[9] Finn and Azcona have two children, and 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. Finn's son Harper is a musician in his own right.[10][11]


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  New Zealand
8  Australia
161  United States D19230
1986 Big Canoe Virgin Records 3  New Zealand
31  Australia CDV-2369
1989 Tim Finn Capitol Records 8  New Zealand CDP7-48735-2
44  Australia
1993 Before & After Capitol Records 3  New Zealand CDP-594904
34  Australia
29  United Kingdom
1999 Say It Is So Sonny's Pop Records
2001 Feeding the Gods 27  New Zealand 002
2006 Imaginary Kingdom Capitol Records 18  New Zealand
2008 The Conversation EMI Records
2009 North, South, East, West...Anthology Capitol Records 15  New Zealand
2011 The View Is Worth the Climb ABC Music/Universal Music 28  New Zealand
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  New Zealand
83  United States CDP-7-93559-2
1995 Altitude
(with ALT)
(with Neil Finn)
Discovery Records 8  New Zealand 77043
1998 Steel City CRS Records 5011402000
2000 Together in Concert: Live
(with Dave Dobbyn & Bic Runga)
2  New Zealand
2004 Everyone Is Here
(with Neil Finn)
1  New Zealand
2  Australia
2009 The Sun Came Out
(with 7 Worlds Collide)
Sony Music 88697568272
2018 The Fiery Maze INDEPENDENT
2021 Caught by the Heart Expression Records EXPCD41


Year Song Peak chart positions Album
Canada (RPM)
1983 "Fraction Too Much Friction" 2 8 Escapade
"Made My Day" 22
"Staring at the Embers" 10 34
1984 "Through the Years" 36 34
"In a Minor Key"
1985 "Home for My Heart" 87 The Coca-Cola Kid Soundtrack
1986 "No Thunder, No Fire, No Rain" 24 46 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" 1 27 77 Tim Finn
"Crescendo" 120
"Not Even Close" 16 124 91
(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 "Persuasion" 1 62 Before & After
"Hit the Ground Running" 14 115
1994 "Many's the Time" 24 235
"Runs in the Family" 9
1998 "Steel City" Steel City Soundtrack
1999 "Twinkle" Say It Is So
2001 "What You've Done" 48 194 Feeding the Gods
2006 "Couldn't Be Done" 105 Imaginary Kingdom
2007 "Horizon"
2008 "Out of This World" The Conversation


RIANZ Awards[edit]

The New Zealand Music Awards are awarded annually by the RIANZ in New Zealand.

Year Award[15] 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

ARIA Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards are awarded annually by the Australian Recording Industry Association.

Year Award Work With Result
1987 Best Male Artist Big Canoe solo Nominated
Highest Selling Album solo Nominated
1993 Song of the Year "Weather With You" with Neil Finn (for Crowded House) Nominated
1994 Best Male Artist Before and After solo Nominated
Song of the Year "Persuasion" solo Nominated
1996 Song of the Year "Suffer Never" with Neil Finn (for The Finn Brothers) Nominated

Countdown Australian Music Awards[edit]

Countdown was an Australian pop music TV series on national broadcaster ABC-TV from 1974–1987, it presented music awards from 1979–1987, initially in conjunction with magazine TV Week. The TV Week / Countdown Awards were a combination of popular-voted and peer-voted awards.[16]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1981 himself Best Australian Songwriter Nominated
1982 himself Best Australian Songwriter Won
1983 Escapade Best Australian Album Won
"Fraction too Much Friction" Best Australian Single Nominated
Best Video Won
himself Songwriter of the Year Won
Most Popular Male Performer Won
1984 himself Most Popular Male Performer Nominated
1985 himself Most Popular Male Performer Won

Helpmann Awards[edit]

The Helpmann Awards for live performance in Australia are awarded annually by Live Performance Australia.

Year Award Work With Result
2016 Best New Australian Work Ladies in Black Carolyn Burns and Tim Finn with Simon Phillips Won
Best Original Score solo Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 861. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b "Tim Finn - Interview". 4 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Split Enz - Haul Away Lyrics". Genius.
  4. ^ Ansell, Jeremy. "Enzology Part 8 - Time and Tide (1981-1982)". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  5. ^ "No. 53334". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 12 June 1993. p. 38.
  6. ^ Christian, Dionne (10 December 2016). "Tim Finn's fashionable new musical". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  7. ^ Westgarth, Fiona (11 November 2014). "A Roaring Finn: Tim Finn returns to the theatre and back in time". Daily Review. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  8. ^ [1] Archived 27 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "TV: Marie Azcona shows older set what's new in music - Lifestyle - NZ Herald News". Nzherald.co.nz. 11 November 2000. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  10. ^ Ricardo Simich (28 June 2020). "Spy: Harper Finn keeping the family musical dynasty alive". NZ Herald.
  11. ^ Karl Puschmann (11 November 2020). "Why Everyone Is Dancing To The Sound Of Harper Finn's Beat". Viva/NZ Herald.
  12. ^ New Zealand chart peaks:
  13. ^ Australian chart peaks:
  14. ^ "RPM – Library and Archives Canada | RPM – Bibliothèque et Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  15. ^ "NZMAs". nzmusicawards.co.nz. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Countdown to the Awards" (Portable document format (PDF)). Countdown Magazine. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). March 1987. Retrieved 16 December 2010.


  • Chunn, Mike (1992). Stranger Than Fiction: The Life and Times of Split Enz. Wellington, N.Z.: GP Publications. ISBN 1-86956-050-7. OCLC 31240332.
  • Chunn, Mike (2013). Stranger Than Fiction: The Life and Times of Split Enz (revised, ebook ed.). Cambridge, N.Z.: Hurricane Press. ISBN 978-0-9922556-3-3.
  • Bourke, Chris (1997). Something So Strong. South Melbourne: Macmillan. ISBN 0-7329-0886-8. OCLC 38406050.
  • Doole, Kerry; Chris Twomey (1996). Crowded House: Private Universe. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-4816-X. OCLC 35527434.
  • Dix, John (2005). Stranded in Paradise: New Zealand Rock and Roll, 1955 to the Modern Era. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin Group. ISBN 0-14-301953-8. OCLC 63692850.

External links[edit]