I Got You

Album: True Colours (1980)
Charted: 12 53

Songfacts®:

  • The core of Split Enz were the brothers Neil (vocals) and Tim (guitar) Finn. Neil later formed Crowded House, which Tim joined for their third album. Neil and Tim have also made music together as The Finn Brothers.
  • Neil Finn wrote and sang lead on this song, which went to the top of the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian charts.

    In the song, Finn sings about that special someone who soothes him. When she's not around though, it's not a pretty sight:

    When I'm without, I stay in my room
    Where do you go, I get no answer
    You're always out, it gets on my nerves


    Finn was clearly writing in character and employing his expert songcraft. The big chorus creates an arresting contrast with the mellow verses, which gets our attention when it chimes in:

    I don't know why sometimes I get frightened
    You can see my eyes, you can tell that I'm not lyin'


    Note that the title is not in the chorus - it shows up only in the first line:

    I got you, that's all I want
  • Neil Finn described in an interview on the Johnny Walker show on BBC Radio 2 how this song started off with just the title: "Tim and I were having sessions where he'd throw me a title and I'd throw him a title and we'd go off to our respective rooms and write a song. And he gave me the title 'I Got You,' and I went in and I wrote it, and I thought the verse was pretty good but I thought the chorus was only a bit average and I should change it at some point, but in fact it was never changed. It just goes to show I don't know a hit when I hear one really."
  • Split Enz wore makeup and outlandish costumes in the '70s, but played it straight in the '80s, a move that got them taken more seriously. "I Got You," released in December 1979 ahead of the True Colours album, ushered in this new look for them to start the decade. The song was their first major hit, and their first to get noticed outside Oceana.
  • The video, directed by the Australian film-maker Chris Lofven, has a clever concept, with Neil Finn singing in front of the band, which is encased in a frame on the while like a painting. This was before MTV, but many acts from Australia and New Zealand made use of the medium because there were shows that broadcast them in those countries.
  • To the best of our knowledge, this is the first song by a New Zealand band to chart in America. The "nz" in Split Enz is a nod to the country.

Comments: 6

  • Dean from Birmingham, AlI was a freshman in college when this song came out and loved it! Can't believe it only went to #53. Should've gone much higher!
  • Chris from Germany great song.. maybe one of the best songs of all time. The refrain is awesome and unexpected
  • Chris from Germany I was born in the late 80s and knew of course CROWDED HOUSE and months ago I discovered this song. It happened and i was in love. It was the greatest success for the Band. The song even reached the Hot 100 at #53 in 1980. When MTV went on air this belonged to the staple of early MTV. The refrain is awesome and catchy.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 17th 1980, "I Got You" by Split Enz entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #88; and on September 28th, 1980 it peaked at #53 {for 1 week} and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on April 14th, 1980 {for 8 weeks} on the Australian Kent Music Report chart {it also peaked at #1 in New Zealand}.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaGreat song from a great era..
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzMan...I was 10 when this came out on video...I don't know why, but the video always creeped me out, but I always loved the song!
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