Neil Finn - Musician
At last, in person, a man who has long been a staple in the remodeled Dayglo Two Paddocks Virtual Disco ("Interior design for the visually impaired" --The Guardian), yes, a staple and favourite here since the beginning of rock. The great Neil Finn, a man who has transcended the unfortunate misspelling of his first name, and risen from the shibeens of Te Awamutu to grace the stages of the world’s biggest stadiums; an ambassador for his country, an inspiration to millions, a luminous creative force driving in the heart of New Zealand, collaborator and spur to his brother Tim as well as hundreds of other musicians, a father to two rising stars Liam and Elroy, a husband to Sharon (she of the chandeliers and The Pajama Club), as prone to gaffes as he is to mysterious inspired creativity ... here he is, he lives just up the road, but we decided as a courtesy in deference to his mana, to fly him First Class by Two Paddocks Virtual Air (Is that Paris out the window, or is it just me?) here he is finally after a journey of five months, (It should have been three hours, but sometimes if you’re lucky, we don’t just lose your bags, we lose you, too.) Up you come Neil ... the eternally youthful, the great guy, our Two Paddocks friend ... the wonderful ... Neil Finn!
Top 10 Tunes
Your Song - Elton JohnThe first Elton song I learnt on piano at 14 after the his concert at Western Springs in 1972, my first ever concert; recently played and remembered (except for 3rd verse) in Largo nightclub with John Brion
Marquis Moon - TelevisionI saw Television and Blondie at Hammersmith Odeon in 1977 and this song was amazing, still play the vinyl.
Ramble On - Led ZeppelinThe best bassline ever, reminds me of summer holdays at Mt Maunganui. I never listened to the lyrics in those days but I suspect he was singing about Mordor. Oh well.
Ashes To Ashes - David BowieWhat a record, what a video, what a song, what does it mean, who cares! The absolute benchmark for me in pop music
Summertime - Ella FitzgeraldWith a voice like a dreamy zephyr on a sultry afternoon Ella Fitzgerald (and Louis Armstrong) do Gershwin that way it should be done.
God Only Knows - Beach BoysI suspect this is on Sam's list as well. I saw Brian Wilson perform this recently and it made me cry, it feels like its alway existed this song as a piece of songwriting perfection but to think, he actually wrote it one day on his piano, the bastard.
Once In A Lifetime - Talking HeadsI had the pleasure and privelige of performing this song with David Byrne in NY recently and I got a cramp in my fingers playing the floaty jangly keyboard bit for 3 minutes before he walked on stage. I thought he'd changed his mind and gone home.
Harvest Moon - Neil YoungOne of the most romantic songs ever, we all danced to it at our 20th anniversary party and couples were cavorting and carousing left right and centre.
Message Of Love - PretendersChrissie Hynde has such an extraordinary voice and James Honeyman Scott was a master of blurry chord and and stirring riff.
Waiting In Vain - Bob MarleyBob has the most positive life affirming music of all and this song reminds me of my first time in London and seeing him drive past on the Kings Road in his black BMW.
Okay, an immaculate songlist, as one might expect, and great notes Neil. Thanks, my man. And look, I’m going off the page now, but because we think he’s fantastic, and just because we can, here’s the Prop’s Top 10 guide to The Essential Neil Finn – if you happen to be one of the few who may not know every note, as we do at HQ.
- I Got You
- Take a Walk (Split Enz)
- Left Hand
- Not the Girl You Think You Are
- Chocolate Cake (Crowded House)
- Pineapple Head (Crowded House)
- She Will Have Her Way
- Turn and Run
- Don’t Ask Why (Neil Finn)
- Part of Me, Part of You (Finn Brothers)
Partial, we know, but that’s Top 10 world isn’t it? But oh my god, what a songwriter. So back to the floor Neil, do that awkward New Zealand bloke dancing thing, we are with you! Ladies and Gentlemen, a big hand , ecstatic applause please, for a man who is The Stuff of Legend ... The one and only ... Neil Finn!