Aussies claim our music legends

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 14:46 19/06/2014
Split Enz

NOT AN AUSSIE BAND: Split Enz

 Ray Columbus
150,000 PER CENT NEW ZEALAND: Ray Columbus

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Those Aussies have done it again - they've claimed Kiwi music legends Ray Columbus and Split Enz as their own.

In an article published in The Australian looking at 50 years of Australian music, music writer Iain Shedden refers to "local names" Ray Columbus and the Invaders, and Split Enz.

"They do this all the time - it's annoying, it's frustrating," said Simon Grigg, director of New Zealand music history website AudioCulture.

"They can have Russell Crowe though."

Grigg admitted Australia could possibly lay a loose claim to artists like Split Enz, because their initial success came out of that country, and they were signed to Australian label Mushroom Records for much of their career.

Crowded House also features in the article, with single Into Temptation coming in at No 9 on Shedden's list of "top 10 Aussie songs".

In 2006, frontman Neil Finn, also Split Enz co-frontman, told the Melbourne Age newspaper that Australia was the "birthplace" of Crowded House, and most of its songs were inspired there.

Grigg said it was accepted that Crowded House was an Australian band.

"But when Split Enz broke up, where did the Finn brothers return to? They came back to New Zealand - they're New Zealanders," he said.

As for Christchurch-born and bred Columbus, the Australians had "zero claim", Grigg said.

"Ray's 150,000 per cent New Zealand," he said.

"I really doubt he would be particularly happy about somebody claiming he was Australian."

While the slip-ups were unlikely to garner too much controversy, it would have been "a different matter altogether" if the Australians had tried to claim Lorde, Grigg said.

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