INXS

  • Rock/New Wave band from Sydney Australia, formed in 1977. The classic lineup was Michael Hutchence (front man, lead vocals, songwriting), Tim Farriss (lead guitar, backing vocals, songwriting), Kirk Pengilly (rhythm guitar, saxophone, backing vocals, songwriting), Andrew Ferriss (keyboards, rhythm guitar, harmonica, percussion, backing vocals, songwriting), Garry Gary Beers (bass guitar, backing vocals, songwriting) and Jon Ferriss (drums, songwriting).
  • While in high school, Andrew Ferriss convinced Hutchence to join his band, called Doctor Dolphin. Beers also was in the band. In 1977, Tim Farriss invited Andrew, Hutchence and Beers to move to his band, which already included Pengilly. Soon, Jon Ferriss joined, and the band chose the name The Farriss Brothers. They began to play at venues around Sydney. In 1979, a roadie for another band that they were playing with suggested a new name for The Farriss Brothers – INXS. They briefly considered performing as a Christian rock band, but they opted to continue to play new wave/pop music. They hired a manager, and in 1980, they were signed to a record deal with an Australian independent label.
  • INXS released their first single, Simple Simon, in 1980, and later that year, their debut album was released – the self titled INXS. They gained momentum in Australia by constant touring in 1981, and a second album was released in 1981, called Underneath The Colours. This album reached #15 in Australia, but did not chart in the rest of the world. That changed in 1982, with their third album, Shabooh Shabooh. Two songs charted in the U.S. from this album – The One Thing reached #30 on the Hot 100 chart and #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart, and Don’t Change reached #17 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The One Thing included a music video that got airtime on MTV – as the 80s progressed, INXS would become a mainstay on the music channel.
  • Next up was the album The Swing, in 1984. It was their first #1 album in Australia, and while it did not chart highly in the U.S., it ultimately sold over 1 million copies. Their first top 10 song, What You Need, came with their next album, Listen Like Thieves. The single peaked at #5 in 1985, and the album was certified 2x platinum in the U.S.
  • Their most successful albums were 1987’s Kick and 1989’s X. Kick sold over 6 million copies in the U.S., peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart. was 2x platinum, and peaked at #5. Kick had 4 consecutive top 10 singles – Need You Tonight (reaching #1), Devil Inside (#2), New Sensation (#3), and Never Tear Us Apart (#7). Hits from included Suicide Blonde and Disappear. The video for Need You Tonight won 5 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year.
  • By now, Hutchence was a global sex symbol, and his vocals were admired by critics and fans alike. Three albums were released between 1992 to 1997. They remained huge in Australia, but with each album, they became less popular elsewhere. While touring to support their 1997 album Elegantly Wasted, Hutchence was found dead – officially it was ruled a “suicide while depressed under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”
  • After Hutchence’s death, INXS remained active until 2012. They performed with 7 different vocalists over the years, and new albums were released in 2005 and 2010. One single from these records, Pretty Vegas, managed to chart in the top 40, and was certified gold. After their final concert in November 2012, they announced that, after 35 years, they would no longer tour. They have suggested that a reunion might occur in the future.
  • INXS is the third best selling Australian music act in the U.S., with over 15 million records sold – they are behind AC/DC and The Bee Gees. Never Tear Us Apart is considered one of the definitive rock ballads of the 80s. Here’s the video to the classic song.

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