Early Years / Split Enz Finn attended school at Sacred Heart College (a Catholic boarding school), and at Te Awamutu College. He decided at the age of 12 to become a musician, and throughout school performed in prisons, hospitals, as well as at home gatherings.
In 1976, he formed a group known as After Hours (with Mark Hough, Geoff Chunn and Alan Brown). He finished school in 1977. Not long after the debut performance of After Hours, Neil was invited to London to join Split Enz, the band formed by his elder brother, Tim Finn.
By 1981, Neil was sharing lead-singer's duties in Split Enz. He wrote their first international hit "I Got You", and contributed significantly to all their later albums, briefly assuming leadership of the band after Tim left in 1983.
The Mullanes / Crowded House Split Enz broke up in 1984. Finn formed a new band called The Mullanes (Mullane being both his middle name and his mother's maiden name) with Split Enz drummer Paul Hester, guitarist Craig Hooper of The Reels and bassist Nick Seymour, younger brother of Hunters & Collectors leader Mark Seymour. He had actually met Seymour on the final Split Enz tour.
Hooper left just before they recorded their first album, at which time the band was renamed Crowded House, after the rented accommodation they shared while recording in Los Angeles.
Crowded House went on to enormous success worldwide, in particular with two major hits: Don't Dream It's Over (U.S. #2, 1987) and Weather With You (U.K. #7, 1992).
After releasing four albums, Crowded House, Temple of Low Men, Woodface, and Together Alone, the group broke up in 1996, and followed this action by releasing a greatest hits album Recurring Dream: The Very Best Of Crowded House. Following this, Neil Finn went solo. At a later date, the album "Afterglow" was released which contained Crowded House tracks not previously found on Crowded House albums.
Solo years Finn has recorded two solo albums to date: Try Whistling This (1998) and One Nil (2001). (One Nil was released in the US and Canada as a remixed and reordered version named One All (2002).) In addition, he and brother Tim have collaborated on two Finn Brothers albums, Finn (1995) and Everyone Is Here (2004).
In 2001, he released a live album/DVD (7 Worlds Collide) consisting of songs recorded at St James Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand with the likes of Lisa Germano, Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing), Ed O'Brien (Radiohead), Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Phil Selway (Radiohead), Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Paul Jeffrey, Tim Finn, and Betchadupa.
Also in 2001, Finn was heavily involved in creating the soundtrack for the motion picture 'Rain'.
Finn has also produced and recorded with various New Zealand acts such as Bic Runga, The Mutton Birds and Dave Dobbyn.
Both Finn and his brother were made OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to New Zealand music in the 1993 Queen's Birthday Honours List.