Hello Sandy Allen

Album: Time And Tide (1982)

Songfacts®:

  • Sandy Allen, at 7 feet 7 inches tall, was the world's tallest woman, her extraordinary height the result of a problem with her pituitary gland that caused her body to keep growing. She was shy and lived a quiet life until 1976 when she was entered into the Guinness Book Of World Records. Over the next several years, she made many media appearances, showing up in movies, at events, and on talk shows. Split Enz met her in 1981 when they were all guests on Tom Snyder's Coast to Coast show in New York.

    The band was struck by how gentle and down-to-Earth Allen was, leading their singer-guitarist Neil Finn to write this song about her. "Physically, the size was mind-boggling, but after a while we forgot that," he told the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. "You immediately make assumptions when you meet somebody like that, it's almost freakish. And then you suddenly realize that she's just a person, and a very nice person at that."

    Allen passed away in 2008 at age 53.
  • The lyric is very literal, recounting in plain detail the group's encounter with Sandy Allen:

    The hand that shook my hand was awesome
    It still amazes me


    Neil Finn goes on to wish her well:

    Hope you're happy Sandy Allen
    Hope your garden is blooming


    It's very sincere, and a great example of Finn's compassionate songwriting.
  • This song is a bit of an outlier on the Time And Tide album, which has a loose nautical theme ("Six Months In A Leaky Boat") and little in the line of interpersonal relationships. By this time, the group was huge in Australia and in their native New Zealand, and was garnering attention in America and the UK, but they were showing fissures that led to their demise two years later. After they disbanded, Neil Finn formed Crowded House, which his brother, Split Enz leader Tim Finn, later joined.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

La La Brooks of The Crystals

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

Al Jourgensen of Ministry

Al Jourgensen of MinistrySongwriter Interviews

In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.

Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes

Chris Robinson of The Black CrowesSongwriter Interviews

"Great songwriters don't necessarily have hit songs," says Chris. He's written a bunch, but his fans are more interested in the intricate jams.

Scott Stapp

Scott StappSongwriter Interviews

The Creed lead singer reveals the "ego and self-fulfillment" he now sees in one of the band's biggest hits.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.