- Split Enz was a successful New Zealand band during the late 1970s and early 1980s featuring brothers Tim and Neil Finn. Their musical style was eclectic and original, incorporating influences from art rock, vaudeville, swing, punk, rock and pop.
The band started life in 1971 at the Auckland University, where Tim met up with (old friend) Mike Chunn, Robert Gillies, Philip Judd and Noel Crombie. From 1972 the band became a full-time occupation for the friends, and they called the band Split Ends. The spelling was later changed to Split Enz when they went on their first trip to Australia, to signify their New Zealand roots.
They were widely known for their unique visual presentation. Their costumes and hair were like nothing else, wild and colourful and inventive. The costumes were designed by Noel Crombie, who also designed most of the group's other visual material, such as stage sets, posters, stickers and album covers, as well as directing many of the band's music videos.
The group's career falls into two distinct phases. The first was firmly rooted in the progressive rock scene of the early 1970s. The Enz started out as an adventurous, flamboyant art-rock band -- although their music was generally far more accessible than some of their more grandiose European 'prog-rock' counterparts. This first incarnation lasted about five years, through their move to Australia and the early part of their stay in England, and closed with the departure of co-founder Philip Judd in 1977. During the transitional period of 1978-79, a new line-up consolidated behind Tim Finn, and though they struggled to survive, they gradually reined in the more extreme aspects of their music and presentation without sacrificing their individuality. In 1980, Split Enz (Mark II) scored major successes with a superb trio of early 80's albums -- True Colours, Waiata (released as Corroboree in Australia) and Time & Tide -- which made them one of the most successful and popular Australasian groups, a position they held until their final split in 1984.
It is also notable that Split Enz only recorded original material; every song on every Enz album and single was written by members of the group.
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