8th May – The Number One Album in Australia – 1980 (Split Enz – True Colours)


Split Enz, who originally formed in New Zealand in 1972, had their commercial breakthrough with their 5th album True Colours in 1980.

True Colours was recorded in 1979 at Armstrongs Studios in Melbourne with producer David Tickle, an Englishman who fortuitously only a year earlier had answered an advertisement offering work for “the best engineer in England, money no object” which had been placed by famed Australian record producer and songwriter Michael Donald “Mike” Chapman.

Tickle was the successful candidate and worked with Chapman as a trainee producer.

This was a key turning point in Tickle’s production career development as he made engineering and mixing contributions to Chapman’s hit singles including My Sharona by The Knack and Heart of Glass by Blondie.

True Colours was released initially in four colour combinations – red and green, purple and yellow, yellow and blue, and blue and orange – and was given four further colour makeovers with releases to mark its sales milestones in lime green and pink, hot purple and burnt orange, gold and platinum, and finally yellow, blue and red.

The album was released on various record labels around the world including Mushroom for Australia, Polydor for New Zealand, Chrysalis for the USA and internationally A&M.

I Got You, the most commercially successful single from Split Enz, was written by Neil Finn and went to Number One in New Zealand and Australia upon its release in January 1980; becoming the first Split Enz single to chart in the USA and the UK and in turn breaking the band internationally.

Simply the album is a masterpiece – other stand out songs include the frenetic Shark Attack, the plaintive I Hope I Never and the emotive Poor Boy – and stands the test of time.

Album Track listing:

Side A:

Shark Attack

I Got You – Neil Finn

What’s the Matter with You – Neil Finn

Double Happy (Instrumental) – Eddie Rayner

I Wouldn’t Dream Of It

I Hope I Never

Side B:

Nobody Takes Me Seriously

Missing Person – Neil Finn

Poor Boy

How Can I Resist Her

The Choral Sea [Instrumental] Tim Finn, Neil Finn, Eddie Rayner, Noel Crombie, Malcolm Green, Nigel Griggs

All songs written and composed by Tim Finn unless noted.