Split Enz true colours

Why would anyone want eight copies of the same LP, even if it is one the greatest Australian albums of all time?

Well if you are a mad fan and collector of Split Enz, you may want to own all of the variants of True Colours. (Not to be confused with the Cyndi Lauper thing.)Yes, yes,yes  I know Split Enz are New Zealanders, but the record was recorded and published here in OZ so I’m calling it an Aussie record by a Kiwi band. In a year where the album charts were dominated by Michael Jackson and the Village People, this one reached #1 in both Australia and New Zealand. It was top 10 in Canada, and top 40 in both America and Britain.

This album has everything. It opens with the perfect pop song, I Got You. Not perfect grammar though.  ‘I Have Got You’ is better, while ‘I Have You’ would have been sufficient and would have still fitted. Five singles were lifted from the album, three by Tim Finn and two from Neil: I Got YouI Hope I NeverNobody Takes Me SeriouslyWhat’s the Matter with You; and Poor Boy. The latter has one of the best opening lines of a song ever, “My love is alien, I picked her up by chance, she speaks to me on an ultra-high frequency.” The album even has two cracker instrumentals.

So if you want to collect all eight variations, it will not be a cheap exercise. Split Enz LPs are becoming harder to come by and therefore their prices are going up.  Ten years ago I had plenty on my racks, but now I am down to the odd one or two that turn up.

Initially there were four different covers available: yellow with blue triangles; red with green triangles; purple with yellow triangles; and blue with orange triangles. These are the most common and you should be able to pick them up for around $10 – $20.

The later ones are harder to find and came in the sort of colours reminiscent of the Leyland P76 range: lime green and pink; and hot purple with burnt orange. You would be lucky to find one of these under $20.

Then there are commemorative editions. There was a limited edition New Zealand pressing which is all silver celebrating 30,000 units sold in Kiwiland – that is a hell of a lot for them. These have been known to bring up to $80. After the album achieved platinum sales in Australia, we made a silver and gold one.  This is worth maybe $20 – $50.

Then there is my favourite, the laser-etched edition. The cover of this one was yellow with red triangles. There are a few other laser etched records out there. I often see the one by the band Styx. Apparently one of the Superman soundtrack albums has Superman’s ‘S’ logo etched into the vinyl – I’ve never seen one though. But Spit Enz were reputedly the first to do it. The theory being that it would make it difficult to counterfeit. I just think it looks cool.

The rarest variant of all was an all-white cover, which sold on eBay last year for over $600. A mis-pressing maybe?

If you liked this article you will love my new book, Tait’s Modern Guide to Record Collecting, available in book stores and record shops or direct from either me or the publisher, Melbourne Books… www.melbournebooks.com.au