Tim Finn

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Tim Finn
Tim Finn @ Sir Stewart Bovell Park (8 1 12) (6693050143).jpg
Finn playing at the Southbound Festival in 2012
Background information
Birth nameBrian Timothy Finn
Born (1952-06-25) 25 June 1952 (age 71)
Te Awamutu, Waikato, New Zealand
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • percussion
Years active1972–present
Member of Forenzics
Formerly of
Website www.timfinn.com

Brian Timothy Finn OBE (born 25 June 1952) is a New Zealand singer, songwriter, musician, and composer. He is best known as a founding member of Split Enz. Finn founded the band in 1972 with Phil Judd and served as lead singer and principal songwriter. Following Judd's departure in 1977, he was joined by brother Neil. Finn wrote or co-wrote some of the band's best-known songs, including "I See Red" and "Six Months in a Leaky Boat". While still a member of Split Enz, he began a solo career, scoring the two hits "Fraction Too Much Friction" and "Made My Day" in 1983; he left the band in early 1984, briefly returning for their farewell tour later that year.


He reunited with Neil and subsequently joined Crowded House for their third album Woodface , co-writing the majority of the songs on the album, including the hits "Four Seasons in One Day", "Weather with You" and "It's Only Natural". Leaving the band after the album's release, he reunited with Neil again later in the 1990s under the name Finn Brothers. Finn has participated in various collaborations with other artists, including former Split Enz members, and has also composed scores for films and musicals.

Along with his brother, Finn was appointed Officer of the Order of British Empire in 1993 for his services to music.

Early life and education

Brian Timothy Finn was born on 25 June 1952 in Te Awamutu, New Zealand, [1] weighing 10 pounds at birth, to parents Richard and Mary. [2] [3] He has two sisters, and one younger brother, Neil Finn.[ citation needed ]

At the age of 13, he went to Sacred Heart College, Auckland, a Catholic boarding school, on a scholarship. [3]


1972–1984: Split Enz

In 1971 Finn commenced a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Auckland. There he played 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. Between 1975 and 1984, the group released nine studio albums. Split Enz played its last show on 4 December 1984 in Auckland.

1981–present: Solo work

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.

In 1986 Finn released his second studio 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 1987, Finn composed music for the Australian comedy Les Patterson Saves the World , which yielded the 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).

Tim Finn in Split Enz costume. 1979 Nambassa Split Enz, Photo Susanna Burton.jpg
Tim Finn in Split Enz costume.

In late 1988, Finn recording his eponymous third album, Tim Finn , for Capitol Records. [1] The album yielded strong reviews and the New Zealand hit "Parihaka", based on a Māori village known for its campaign of passive resistance to European occupiers. Finn also created the song "Cane Toad Blues" which played during the credits for the documentary film "Cane Toads: An Unnatural History."

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 peaked at number 2 on the New Zealand chart.

In 2015, Finn composed 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 [5] to premiere in Brisbane by Queensland Theatre Company in November 2015. [6]

As England and New Zealand went into COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Finn and Phil Manzanera began working collaboratively on an album under the name Tim Finn & Phil Manzanera, which is called Caught by the Heart . The album was released on 26 August 2021. The album is produced by the two of them, with Manzanera doing the lead instrumental and Finn doing the vocals.

1995–2005 : Finn Brothers

Tim and Neil as the Finn Brothers. Finn brothers Plymouth 2004.jpg
Tim and Neil as the Finn Brothers.
Tim Finn performing in Wellington. Tim Finn 094 (51480582971).jpg
Tim Finn performing in Wellington.

In 1989, Finn 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 co-wrote eight songs, including the hits "Weather with You" and "Four Seasons in One Day". [2]

In 1993, both Tim and Neil were appointed Officers of the Order of British Empire, for their services to music. [7]

The Finn Brothers resumed their collaborative work and released Finn in 1995. A second and final album was released in 2004 titled, Everyone Is Here . A Mojo magazine review stated that it contained "some of the most haunting music to bear the Finn imprint".

2020–present: Forenzics

In 2020 Finn co-created Forenzics with former Split Enz keyboardist Eddie Rayner. Forenzics is an experimental project with the debut album Shades and Echoes (2022) as a transformation of the songs of Mental Notes . Alongside Finn and Rayner are former members from the album, Noel Crombie and Phil Judd - and also Phil Manzanera who was involved in the redevelopment of Mental Notes into Second Thoughts . Initial singles "Chances Are" and "Premiere Fois" were officially released in November 2021, however "Walking", "Strange Stars" and "Abandoned" were all released before on YouTube (from early 2020 until early 2021).

Personal life

Finn was briefly married to English dancer Liz Malam from 1981–1982. [8] He was in a relationship with actress Greta Scacchi from 1984–1989. [9] Since 1997 he has been married to television presenter Marie Azcona, formerly of MTV and TVNZ One's Music Week. [10] [11] 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 and daughter Elliot are musicians in their own right. [12] [13] [14]


Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
  • Released: June 1983
  • Label: Mushroom (RML 53104)
  • Formats: LP, MC
Big Canoe
  • Released: April 1986
  • Label: Virgin (V-2369)
  • Formats: LP, MC, CD
Tim Finn
  • Released: April 1989
  • Label: Capitol (ST748735)
  • Formats: LP, MC, CD
Before & After
  • Released: July 1993
  • Label: Capitol (7949042)
  • Formats: MC, CD
Say It Is So
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Periscope (5243782)
  • Formats: CD
Feeding the Gods
  • Released: June 2001
  • Label: Periscope, EMI Music (53512523)
  • Formats: CD
Imaginary Kingdom
  • Released: October 2006
  • Label: Capitol (09463754602 4)
  • Formats: CD
The Conversation
  • Released: November 2008
  • Label: Capitol (50999 265303 2 1)
  • Formats: CD, digital download
The View Is Worth the Climb
  • Released: August 2011
  • Label: ABC Music / UMA (2779444)
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Caught by the Heart
(with Phil Manzanera)
  • Released: 2021
  • Label: Expression (EXPCD41)
  • Formats: CD, DD

Live albums

List of compilation albums, with selected chart positions
TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsCertification
Together in Concert: Live
(with Dave Dobbyn and Bic Runga)
  • Released: November 2000
  • Label: Epic (5011402000)
  • Formats: CD
  • RIANZ: 3× Platinum [19]

Soundtrack albums

List of soundtrack albums, with selected details
TitleAlbum details
Steel City
  • Released: 1998
  • Label: Sony (491582.2)
  • Formats: CD

Spoken word albums

List of spoken word albums, with selected details
TitleAlbum details
The Magnificent Nose
(with Anna Paquin)
  • Released: 1994
  • Label: BMG (74321237022)
  • Formats: CD

Compilation albums

List of compilation albums, with selected chart positions
TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
North, South, East, West...Anthology
  • Released: September 2009
  • Label: Capitol (509993095822 7)
  • Formats: CD, DD


List of singls, with selected peak chart positions
TitleYearPeak chart positionsAlbum
"Fraction Too Much Friction"198328Escapade
"Made My Day"22
"Through the Years"3434
"Staring at the Embers"
"In a Minor Key"1984
"Home for My Heart"198587 Coca-Cola Kid (soundtrack)
"No Thunder, No Fire, No Rain"19862446Big Canoe
"Spiritual Hunger"
"Carve You in Marble"3392
"You Saved the World"1987 Les Patterson Saves the World
"With You I'm Alive"
"How'm I Gonna Sleep"198922777Tim Finn
"Parihaka" (with Herbs)6
"Not Even Close"199012491
"Long Hard Road" (with Phil Judd) The Big Steal (soundtrack)
"Islands" (with MC Fli T)1992Non-album single
"Persuasion"199366243Before & After
"Hit the Ground Running"1411550
"Many's the Time"1994
"Runs in the Family" (with The Record Partnership)9Non-album single
"Steel City"1998 Steel City Soundtrack
"Twinkle"1999Say It Is So
"What You've Done"200148194Feeding the Gods
"Couldn't Be Done"2006105Imaginary Kingdom
"Out of This World"2008The Conversation
"Caught by the Heart"2021Caught by the Heart

Charity singles

YearSongPeak chart positionsNotes
1986"Sailing Away" (as All of Us)1To help raise money and support for New Zealand's 1986–7 America's Cup campaign


RIANZ Awards

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

YearAward [22] WorkWithResult
1984 International AchievementsoloWon
Split Enz Nominated
1989 Best Male VocalistsoloWon
Best Songwriter"Parihaka"soloWon
1992 Best Songwriter"It's Only Natural"with Neil Finn Nominated
1996 Album of the YearFinn Finn Brothers Nominated
Best GroupFinn BrothersNominated
International AchievementFinn BrothersNominated
2001 Album of the Year Together in Concert: Live with Dave Dobbyn & Bic Runga Nominated
2005 Album of the YearEveryone Is Here Finn Brothers Nominated
Single of the Year"Won't Give In"Finn BrothersNominated
International Achievement AwardEveryone Is HereFinn BrothersWon
2007 Best Male Solo ArtistImaginary KingdomsoloWon

ARIA Awards

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

1987 Best Male Artist Big CanoesoloNominated
Highest Selling AlbumsoloNominated
1993 Song of the Year "Weather With You"with Neil Finn (for Crowded House)Nominated
1994 Best Male ArtistBefore and AftersoloNominated
Song of the Year"Persuasion"soloNominated
1996 Song of the Year"Suffer Never"with Neil Finn (for The Finn Brothers)Nominated

Countdown Australian Music Awards

Countdown was an Australian pop music TV series on national broadcaster ABC-TV from 1974 to 1987, it presented music awards from 1979 to 1987, initially in conjunction with magazine TV Week . The TV Week / Countdown Awards were a combination of popular-voted and peer-voted awards. [23]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1981himselfBest Australian SongwriterNominated
1982himselfBest Australian SongwriterWon
1983EscapadeBest Australian AlbumWon
"Fraction too Much Friction"Best Australian SingleNominated
Best VideoWon
himselfSongwriter of the YearWon
Most Popular Male PerformerWon
1984himselfMost Popular Male PerformerNominated
1985himselfMost Popular Male PerformerWon

Helpmann Awards

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

2016 Best New Australian Work Ladies in Black Carolyn Burns and Tim Finn with Simon Phillips Won
Best Original Score soloNominated

Related Research Articles

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