This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #303: Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House.
Australia and New Zealand are not necessarily isolated from the rest of the world but, just the same, they are far enough away from most countries to be a musical community unto themselves. There was (and still is) a thriving music scene in Autralia and New Zealand. Not surprisingly, many of the the singers and musicians who play there, do so in a collegial manner and often work to support each others’ projects. Cross pollination between bands is common, as members switch back and forth, depending on their own schedules and demands on their time. For the purposes of this post, I am going to start describing this by talking about an Aussie band called Hunters and Collectors.
Hunters and Collectors was a band who had many hits in their homeland; my favourite of which is a song called “Throw Your Arms Around Me” (which I will post below). Hunters and Collectors was led by a man named Mark Seymour. The band became famous for their live shows which, along with fellow Aussies, Midnight Oil, became the standard for energy-laden shows. Mark Seymour had a brother named Nick. Nick played in other local bands while Mark led Hunters and Collectors. At the same time, a Kiwi band called Split Enz was achieving success with their big hit, “Six Months in a Leaky Boat”. Split Enz was led by Neil and Tim Finn and had a drummer named Paul Hester. When Split Enz called it a day as a band, Neil Finn and Paul Hester decided to carry on with a new name and called themselves Crowded House. Nick Seymour asked to join them and the line-up for Crowded House was complete.
Crowded House ended up having several noteworthy hits including, “Fall At Your Feet”, “Better Be Home Soon”, “World Where You Live” and their biggest hit, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”. That song went on to become a #1 hit all over the world. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” has sold over ten millions copies and has gone on to become one of the Top #5 biggest selling Aussie singles of all time. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” was from their debut, self-titled album. But, by no means were they fresh-faced kids trying to figure out how the music business worked. By the time, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” was released, Finn, Hester and Seymour had been performing in and around Australia and New Zealand for almost two decades. They were veterans, who figured out the craft of writing hit songs. They stayed together for several more decades until the death (by suicide) of Nick Seymour a few years ago. As often happens in close-knit communities, Tim Finn has re-joined his brother and a Crowded House/Split Enz hybrid band has emerged. For now, let’s focus on the original lineup for Crowded House and their big hit, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.
The link to the official website for Crowded House can be found here.
The link to the video for the song, “Six Months in a Leaky Boat” by Split Enz can be found here.
The link to the official website for Split Enz can be found here.
The link to the video for the song, “Throw Your Arms Around Me” by Hunters and Collectors, as covered by Canadian band Spirit of the West can be found here. *This is my favourite version of this song. At the time of the video being recorded, lead singer of SOTW, John Mann, was dying from the effects of early onset Dementia. He died not long afterwards. This was his final public performance with his band. The loving care he receives from them on stage is one of the nicest things I have ever seen at a concert.
The official websites for Hunters and Collectors and for Spirit of the West can be found here and here.
Thanks to KEXP for playing great music regardless of where in the world it originated. The link to their website can be found here.
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