Hello Sandy Allen

Album: Time And Tide (1982)
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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.

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