Album: Time and Tide
. . .
While “I Got You” was their biggest and most enduring song, the Split Enz song that I well and truly loved the most was 1982’s much-more-obscure “Hello Sandy Allen,” which was based upon a true story. In 1981, Split Enz was a guest on Tom Synder’s Tomorrow show — Snyder had a shit-ton of punk and new wave artists on in those years — and the titular Sandy Allen was also a guest.
Neil Finn was so taken with Sandy Allen, he wrote a song about her. And it goes a little something like this:
Hello Sandy Allen
The world’s tallest woman
We made friends in New York
Don’t know if you’ll remember
I’m bound to say I felt uneasy
When I first laid eyes on you
But I liked the way you talked
Like a living hoper
Towering over our heads in more ways than one
The hand that shook my hand was awesome
It still amazes me
But I didn’t know any of this when I fell in love with “Hello Sandy Allen” the first time I heard it. Rather it was the opening of the song, an absolute hurricane of whirling Eddie Rayner keyboards, cracking Neil Finn guitar and Noel Crombie drum rolls that utterly blew me away from the start.
It also didn’t hurt that “Hello Sandy Allen” had a catchy chorus, and when you listened to the words, it was a genuine display of goodwill:
Hope you’re happy – Sandy Allen
Hope your garden is blooming
We’re all staring at the mirror
Tryin’ to put our faces on
Appearance never held you back
Must be when you’re number one
You don’t have to try so hard
After that first chorus, they return to the whirlwind opening, and follow that up with a near-psychedelic XTC-ish interlude where a echoing Finn murmurs “Hello Sandy Allen, hello Sandy Allen hello” before heading into the chorus again.
Also really helping is the ending, featuring more great drumming from Crombie and a jagged, searing guitar solo from Finn. It’s amazing from start to finish, and it was also the first of their singles since “I Got You” to totally stiff in their native New Zealand. How Allen felt about all of this, I couldn’t find.
Also, apparently Split Enz played the Warnors Theatre on this tour, in late June 1982. Because I didn’t go — I was probably saving up money for the US Festival — I totally forgot that it even happened, but more than one person brought it up, so I thought I’d mention it here.
“Hello Sandy Allen”
“Hello Sandy Allen” Live in Canada, 1982
Did you miss a Certain Song? Follow me on Twitter: @barefootjim
The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.
Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)
Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page