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  • Essential Album: Kick
  • INXS

About INXS

INXS were one of the most versatile rock bands of the ’80s and ’90s. The Australian group shapeshifted between sinewy New Wave (“Original Sin”), dramatic piano ballads (“Never Tear Us Apart”), and stomping funk rock (“Suicide Blonde”), and they boasted one of the era’s most commanding frontmen: vocalist/lyricist Michael Hutchence, who possessed a soulful voice and magnetic charisma and sex appeal. INXS formed in 1977 around the nucleus of Hutchence, the three Farriss brothers (keyboardist Andrew, drummer Jon, and guitarist Tim), guitarist/saxophonist Kirk Pengilly, and bassist Garry Beers. The band made waves with their worldwide debut, 1982’s Shabooh Shoobah (which contained the sparkling “The One Thing”), and their first Top 5 hit in the U.S., 1985’s “What You Need.” INXS rode this momentum to the 1987 blockbuster Kick, which spawned four Top 10 U.S. pop hits, including the No. 1 single “Need You Tonight.” Although the band never reached those commercial heights again, tracks such as 1993’s delicate “Beautiful Girl” showed off a tender side of a continually evolving group. Tragically, Hutchence died in 1997, but INXS carried on with new singers. Most notably, they chose new vocalist J. D. Fortune from the music reality show Rock Star: INXS and had a Top 40 hit in 2005 with the bluesy, gritty “Pretty Vegas.” Although INXS stopped touring in the early 2010s, they have remained popular: The 1975 count them as an influence—frontman Matt Healy channeling Hutchence’s lithe presence—while a 2019 documentary on Hutchence’s life, Mystify, and an accompanying soundtrack have showcased the band’s greatness to a new generation.

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
August 16, 1977

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