Reply to "Given Neil's Announcement, is CH Through?"

stuartjb posted:

2 thirds of the original line up play on the entire album , with four tracks by the current full line up . why shouldn't it be billed as Crowded House ?!

Here's my personal perspective on the tricky subject of billing: I think it has more to do with intent than with who actually played on the performance. I know that sounds daft but let me explain:

Yesterday was recorded by Paul McCartney. No other Beatle plays on it. And yet it is a Beatles recording. Why? Because it was recorded by a man who was part of that band during sessions for that band's next album. It was intended to be a Beatles track; it just so happened that the arrangement only needed one man.

Beautiful Night was recorded by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Heck, I'm The Greatest was recorded by Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison. And yet they are considered Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr songs respectively. Why? Because they were recorded by men who weren't in the Beatles at the time of the recordings, so the songs were intended to be solo songs, not songs to be released by the Beatles.

Now, if either of those guys had decided, after completing the recordings, to issue them as Beatles singles there would have been an outcry.

Cut to 2007, and Neil does exactly that: whilst not a member of Crowded House he records what he intends to be his third solo album and then announces that he's going to bill it as a Crowded House record "because bits of it sound like CH". Which is partly why I struggle to think of Time on Earth as a CH album. The determinant of how an album is billed ought to be the intent behind it: Time on Earth was a solo album until Neil decided he wanted to put the CH name to it. More to the point, though, it just has that latter-period songwriting that makes it sound more like a solo album. But then, so too does Intriguer. 

(Full disclosure: I was distraught when Neil broke up CH. I remember him saying in interview at the time of Try Whistling This that he was well aware of the bond between band and fans and had decided - despite pressure from his record company - to honour the integrity of the name and not use it for his solo recordings. I respected that greatly. It meant a lot to me. His decision to bill Time on Earth as a CH album was, to me, reneging on his promise to maintain the integrity of the band name. So, I'll be honest: I hold a mild resentment towards Neil's decision to do that. I say "mild" because, in the end it barely matters and there was little else he could do having decided he wanted to reform the group (I just felt sorry for poor Mark!). I mean, it wasn't as if he was going to scrap the entire set of recordings and start again...)

    All times London, UK.

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