In Episode 1 of Radio New Zealand National's story of Split Enz we hear about the formation of the band as Split Ends and the songwriting partnership of Tim Finn and Phil Judd.
The programme covers their earliest gigs in New Zealand and the origins of the Split Enz look and sound.
Songs in this programme include Split Ends‚ Time For A Change, 129, No Bother To Me and Lovey Dovey, plus rarities Near Hosts and The Instrumental. It also features rare pre-Enz recordings from as early as 1968 and Split Ends in concert, 1973-75.
Album Trivia: Beginning Of The Enz
The album is a 1979 compilation of early Split Ends singles and demos. These were produced by their early 70s manager Barry Coburn at Auckland’s Stebbings Studios and released on various record labels in New Zealand and Australia.
'For You' and 'Split Ends' made up the first single, on Vertigo Records, under the original band name Split Ends. The second verse of 'For You' was edited out on the single but is included on the album.
129 was recorded in mid-1973 for NZBC TV’s New Faces talent show. Split Ends’ mimed performance aired on Sunday evening, November 18th, 1973. Sweet Talking Spoon Song was recorded for the grand final, televised on November 25th. Both shows began at the precise time of 7.38pm!
Sweet Talking Spoon Song and 129 were released as an EMI single, with Spoon oddly sped up and equalised, presumably for maximum impact on AM radio. The album version of '129' omits the voice from the control room announcing “Recording!” at the beginning of the track.
Wally Wilkinson recorded the guitar harmonics at the end of '129', though he admits it wasn’t as easy to play as he’d hoped. His style of sonic flavouring, rather than hard rock guitar, began with this track. Rob Gillies played sax on the record but wasn’t an official member yet.
'129' refers to Phil and Rob’s room number at O’Rourke hostel. Well known New Zealand chef Ray McVinnie was their room-mate.
Sweet Talking Spoon Song features Phil playing the spoons at the end. Spoons percussion used to be his Dad’s party trick. Phil’s love of the ukulele was also influenced by his Dad.
The third Split Enz single was released on Barry Coburn’s own White Cloud label. Both sides, 'No Bother To Me' and 'Home Sweet Home', were remixed for the single, with Tim’s vocal on 'No Bother' oddly obscured with too much Beatle-inspired rotating speaker effect. Both songs appear on the album in their original mixes. The single mix of 'Home Sweet Home' runs fast and omits the closing bagpipes.
The four songs on Side 2 of The Beginning Of The Enz were recorded in 1974 for an NZBC TV special, Six of the Best, which never aired. Phil Judd played acoustic guitar but chose not to sing, so all the vocals are Tim Finn’s.
When Split Enz performed for a 30th Anniversary special in 2003, Eddie Rayner and Mike Chunn realised they’d both been playing 'Lovey Dovey' in different keys since day one!
Geoff Chunn’s pick for untapped hit is 'Spellbound' . “It was the first time I rode the high hats. It was a funk sort of thing. I thought it was quite revolutionary at the time. The guitar was a little bit Maori. That was so different to everything else.”
'Spellbound' is also one of Mike Chunn’s favourite Enz songs.
UK label Chrysalis also released a compilation album with the same name, but with completely different tracks. Songs from Mental Notes (UK version) and Dizrythmia were substituted.