Skip to main content
Select Source:

INXS

INXS

Rock band

For the Record

Started as the Farris Brothers

Sparked Interest in Australia

Reached Out to Global Audience

INXS Goes Global

Kicked into High Gear

Subjected to Post-Peak Gravity

Selected discography

Sources

Few rock bands have achieved the success and longevity that INXS has enjoyed. Fewer still can claim this without a single personnel change. All six members recorded and performed together for more over 20 years before the death of singer Michael Hutchence on November 22, 1997.

Beginning in Australia, INXS released several albums before making a splash in the United States in 1983. From then on, they shot up the charts with singles like The One Thing, Original Sin and What You Need, before launching into astounding worldwide sales and recognition with their 1988 release Kick. With this album, they swept the charts, received many awards, and completed a 16-month, worldwide tour. We seemed to be around the corner every month in America, it was hard to ignore us, singer Michael Hutchence told Glenn A. Baker in Billboard. Following Kicks success, rumors of a breakup began to circulate.

Although the band did experience some difficulties as a result of their overwhelming success, they relied on

For the Record

Members include Garry Gary Beers, bass; Andrew Farris, keyboards; Jon Farris, drums; Tim Farris, guitar; Michael Hutchence (died November 22, 1997) vocals; and Kirk Pengilly, guitar/saxophone.

Band formed in Sydney, Australia, 1977; signed with Australian label Deluxe Records, 1979; released self-titled debut in Australia, 1980; signed with WEA Records in Australia and released Shabooh Shoobah, 1982; signed North American recording contract with Atlantic Records, 1983; released multi-platinum album Kick, 1988; released four more albums on Atlantic, 1990-93; signed with Mercury/Polygram Records, 1993; released two more albums, 1994-97.

Awards: Best International Band and Best International Male (Hutchence), BPI Awards (Britian), 1991; Best International Band, Australian Music Awards, 1991.

Addresses: Record company Mercury/Polygram Records, 825 8th Ave., New York, NY 10019.

their relationship as friends to keep them together. INXS was one of the few bands to emerge into rock stardom in the 1980s and survive into the late 1990s. They attributed their stability to a competitive air of democracy and the ability to keep each other grounded in reality.

Keyboard player Andrew Farris and singer Michael Hutchence met in high school in Sydney, Australia. Farris broke up a fight between Hutchence and a school bully, and the two budding musicians became fast friends. Hutchence, whose father was an Australian importer, grew up in Sydney, as well as Hong Kong, and Los Angeles, California. His mother had taken him to L.A. when his parents split up. I spent most of my time in the States by myself, writing prose, poems, and stories, Hutchence told Edwin Morris in Seventeen. I came back home with a large collection of things.

Andrew Farris two brothers, Tim and Jon, were also aspiring musicians. While the Farris brothers were growing up in Perth, Australia, Tim Farris began taking guitar lessons at the age of eight. When he was 13 years old, the family moved to Sydney. Tim and guitar ist/saxophone player Kirk Pengilly met and played in a band together. At the time, they attended Forest High School, where they met bassist Garry Gary Beers. Hutchence, Andrew, and drummer Jon Farris attended Davidson High School.

Started as the Farris Brothers

By 1977 Tim Farris and Kirk Pengillys band had broken up. They decided to form a band with Andrew and Jon, Beers, and Hutchence called The Farris Brothers. According to INXS legend, the band formed on the night Elvis Presley died. The day I left school was the day I left home was the day I joined the band, Hutchence recalled to Nina Malkin in Mademoiselle.

The following year, The Farris Brothers moved to Perth, where they wrote songs, rehearsed, and performed in local hotels and mining towns. After ten months, they returned to Sydney, where their performances grabbed the attention of Garry Morris, who managed the Australian band Midnight Oil. Morris began working with them and was the first to suggest that they change the name of the band.

Although Morris devoted the majority of his time to Midnight Oil, The Farris Brothers had also met booking agent CM. Murphy. At the time, Murphy was in the process of starting up an independent record label called Deluxe Records, which had a distribution deal with RCA Records. Murphy agreed that the bands name needed to be changed. Our record company suggested In Excess, Tim Farris told Steve Dougherty in People magazine. The group liked the idea, but wanted the name to really stand out on their posters. So they shortened it to INXS. Jay Cocks later reinforced the same concept in Time magazine, In excess would be phonetically correct, but it lacks the cool mystery of those four uppercase letters, which make the lads loom large, like something mythic: six electrified Druids with some new rhythmic spells to weave.

Sparked Interest in Australia

On September 1, 1979, INXS made its performing debut at the Oceanview Hotel in Toukley, Australia. The following May, the group released its first single, Simple Simon/We Are the Vegetables on Deluxe Records. In October of 1980, they released their self-titled debut album in Australia, which included the single Just Keep Walking. The band embarked on a 300-show tour throughout Australia to promote the album. A year later, they released their second LP, Underneath the Colors, which climbed to the Top 15 on the Australian charts.

In April of 1982, Andrew Farris, Hutchence, and Pengilly went on a pilgrimage to England and the United States. Armed with a tape of their music, they set out to spread the word on INXS. They signed a new contract with WEA Records in Australia in July of the same year. Their next release, Shabooh Shoobah reached the Top Five on the Australian charts. By the following January, they had signed a North American record contract with Atlantic Records.

Reached Out to Global Audience

They debuted in the United States with the single The One Thing, which quickly climbed to the Top 30 on the Billboard charts. The video went into high rotation on MTV, and INXS had begun to make their mark in America. Atlantic re-released Shabooh Shoobah in the United States to wide acclaim. David Fricke wrote in Rolling Stone, Most of Shabooh Shoobah, the groups American debut, is both novel in approach and stirring in execution.

After the albums release, INXS began a marathon U.S. tour. They played their first New York City headlining show at The Ritz in May of 1983. From there they went to the Us Festival in California, where they received two encore calls from over 300,000 attendees. Then, Atlantic released a mini-LP in August called Dekadance, with remixes of four songs from Shabooh Shoobah.

Meanwhile, the band continued to receive attention in their homeland. Their Original Sin single reached Number One on the Australian charts in January of 1984. The Swing was released in May of that year and included the singles Burn for You and Melting in the Sun. It reached double-platinum sales in Australia and became one of the top five selling albums in Australian music history. INXS also received seven Countdown Awards (Australias version of the Grammy Awards), more than any other group had ever received.

INXS Goes Global

The bands success also began to spread to the rest of the world. They performed their debut show in London, England at The Astoria. In the meantime, Atlantic re-released their earlier albums, INXS and Underneath the Colors in the United States. In September of 1984, INXS became the first international rock band to play in Guam. In July of 1985, the bands Sydney performance for the Live Aid benefit concert was broadcast worldwide.

Despite the groups growing popularity, they continued their intense recording and touring schedules. In October of 1985, they released their next album, Listen Like Thieves, and its first single, This Time. By the end of the year, they had taken off on their first headlining tour in the United States. After the hit single What You Need was released the following January, Listen Like Thieves reached gold status in the America and eventually went platinum. In May of 1986, INXS performed their If You Got It, Shake It world tour.

Kicked into High Gear

They went on to headline the Australian Made tour of their home country with eight other Australian bands. Three days before the release of Kick, INXS returned to the States for the Calling All Nations tour. In January of 1988, Kick was certified gold and platinum at the same time. Eventually, it sold ten million copies worldwide.

The single Need You Tonight became the bands first Number One song on the U.S. charts. The home video KickThe Video Flickalso had platinum sales. All three of the subsequent singles from KickDevil Inside, New Sensation, and Never Tear Us Apartreached Billboards Top 10. INXS swept the MTV Video Music Awards in September of 1988 with five awards for the Need You Tonight/Mediate video. In January, the group received its first Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Group.

After 16 months of touring and overwhelming success, the members decided to take a break from each other. Hutchence recorded an album with Ollie Olsen called Max Q and acted in his second feature film called Frankenstein Unbound (he had his film debut in Dogs in Space in 1986).

Andrew Farris produced Jenny Morris album Shiver. Tim Farris produced a documentary called Fish in Space, about big game fishing, for which Jon Farris and Kirk Pengilly performed the score. Beers co-produced the Heres Looking up Your Address album for the Australian band Absent Friends.

With all the side projects going on, rumors began to fly about the bands demise. But in November of 1989, INXS began rehearsals for their next album X. Released in 1990, the LP was named for the bands tenth anniversary of recording. The single Suicide Blonde hit the Top 10 on charts around the world, and Xwent double-platinum in both the United States and Australia. Weve had this Three Musketeers, or Six Musketeers, attitude for so long, and its still very strong, Hutchence said in Billboard. Theres never any talk or any question of ever replacing anybody or changing anything.

In 1991 INXS received another Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Group. USA Today reported that the band tied for second place in the list of musical artists with the most videos played on MTV. At the time, they had 37 different clips. On their tour, INXS became the first international rock band to play in Mexico since The Doors had performed there nearly 20 years before.

In March of 1991, INXS won BPI Awards in Britain for Best International Band and Hutchence was awarded Best International Male. They also received the award for Best International Band at the first Australian Music Awards. Before the end of the year, INXS released a live album and video titled Live Baby Live.

Subjected to Post-Peak Gravity

INXSs following release Welcome to Wherever You Are began to mark the groups downward slope from the success of Kick. Its sales fell just short of the platinum marka huge success for some bands, but nowhere near the popularity previously achieved by the band. Yet the group was not discouraged. They released Full Moon, Dirty Hearts in 1993, which included two duets with Hutchence: Please (Youve Got That) with veteran singer Ray Charles and Full Moon, Dirty Hearts with Chrissy Hynde of the rock band the Pretenders.

INXS also made a video album to accompany Full Moon, Dirty Hearts with videos for every song. Nine film directors contributed to the project for the 12 songs on the album. It was showcased on MTV, Australias Channel Nine, and selected movie theaters. Some of the videos were designed in traditional fashion, while others were produced like mini-movies.

By 1994, INXS had switched record labels from Atlantic to Mercury/Polygram, but not before releasing a greatest hits album simply titled INXS: The Greatest Hits, on Atlanta, with the addition of two new songs. The band took another long break before releasing their next effort, Elegantly Wasted in 1997. The release received some criticism for continuing in the bands same 1980s style. In the bands record company biography, Andrew Farris admitted that their musical style had not progressed: Some of it could be us 12, 13 years ago! But added that, To keep changing just because you think you have to is not necessarily a good thing.

Some critics commented that they never fit into the musical fashion of their time. They called them ahead of their time and dated all in the same few paragraphs. I dont think weve ever fit in, Hutchence said in the bands bio. Maybe its a generational thing. Or maybe its because theres always been the six of us, pulling in six different directions.

On November 22, 1997, INXS received an unexpected shock. Singer Hutchence committed suicide in a hotel room in Sydney, Australia. The band had gathered in their hometown to begin rehearsals for their twentieth anniversary tour. Michael was the consummate rock star, Australian rock historian Glenn A. Baker told Associated Press. He took upon the role of a rock star comfortably; he floated above the pressures. Why he would choose this moment to throw in the towel I think will always remain a mystery.

Selected discography

INXS, Deluxe Records, 1980; reissued, Atlantic Records, 1984.

Underneath the Colors, Deluxe Records, 1981; reissued, Atlantic Records, 1984.

Shabooh Shoobah, WEA Records, 1982; reissued, Atlantic Records, 1983.

Dekadance, Atlantic Records, 1983.

The Swing, Atlantic Records, 1984.

Listen Like Thieves, Atlantic Records, 1985.

Kick, Atlantic Records, 1987.

X, Atlantic Records, 1990.

Live Baby Live, Atlantic Records, 1991.

Welcome to Wherever You Are, Atlantic Records, 1992.

Full Moon, Dirty Hearts, Atlantic Records, 1993.

INXS: The Greatest Hits, Atlantic Records, 1994.

Elegantly Wasted, Mercury/Polygram, 1997.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, November 26, 1988; October 13, 1990; May 9, 1992; November 13, 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, July 24, 1992; November 5, 1993; April 18, 1997.

Guitar Player, March 1991.

Los Angeles Times, August 11, 1997.

Mademoiselle, April 1990.

People, February 1, 1988; July 11, 1988; October 22, 1990; August 17, 1992; May 12, 1997.

Rolling Stone, April 28, 1983; January 14, 1988; June 16, 1988; April 4, 1991; December 9, 1993; February 24, 1994; May 1, 1997.

Seventeen, August 1986.

Time, December 17, 1990.

Online

http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/9224/inxs-bio

http://www.nytimes.eom/aponline/l/AP-Obit-Hutchence.html

http://www.umdnj.edu/~kotharne/inxs/inxsology

Sonya Shelton

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/inxs

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/inxs

INXS

INXS

Rock group

Few rock bands have achieved the success and longevity that INXS has enjoyed. All six original members recorded and performed together for more than 20 years before the death of singer Michael Hutchence on November 22, 1997. And even that tragic event was not enough to stop the group's momentum; after auditioning a new lead vocalist on a reality show, INXS bounced back with a new release in 2005.

Beginning in Australia, INXS released several albums before making a splash in the United States in 1983. From then on, they shot up the charts with singles like "The One Thing," "Original Sin" and "What You Need," before launching into astounding worldwide sales and recognition with their 1988 release Kick. With this album they swept the charts, received many awards, and completed a 16-month worldwide tour.

"We seemed to be around the corner every month in America, it was hard to ignore us," singer Michael Hutchence told Glenn A. Baker in Billboard. Following Kick's success, rumors of a breakup began to circulate.

Although the band did experience some difficulties as a result of their overwhelming success, they relied on their relationship as friends to keep them together. INXS was one of the few bands to emerge into rock stardom in the 1980s and survive into the late 1990s. They attributed their stability to a competitive air of democracy and the ability to keep each other grounded in reality.

Keyboard player Andrew Farriss and singer Michael Hutchence met in high school in Sydney, Australia. Farriss broke up a fight between Hutchence and a school bully, and the two budding musicians became fast friends. Hutchence, whose father was an Australian importer, grew up in Sydney, as well as in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, California. His mother had taken him to L.A. when his parents split up. "I spent most of my time in the States by myself, writing prose, poems, and stories," Hutchence told Edwin Morris in Seventeen. "I came back home with a large collection of things."

Andrew Farriss had two brothers, Tim and Jon, who were also aspiring musicians. While the Farriss brothers were growing up in Perth, Australia, Tim Farriss began taking guitar lessons at the age of eight. When he was 13 years old the family moved to Sydney. Tim and guitarist/saxophone player Kirk Pengilly met and played in a band together. At the time, they attended Forest High School, where they met bassist Garry Gary Beers. Hutchence, Andrew, and drummer Jon Farriss attended Davidson High School.

Started as the Farriss Brothers

By 1977 Tim Farriss and Kirk Pengilly's band had broken up. They decided to form a band with Andrew and Jon, Beers, and Hutchence, called the Farriss Brothers. According to INXS legend, the band formed on the night Elvis Presley died. "The day I left school was the day I left home was the day I joined the band," Hutchence recalled to Nina Malkin in Mademoiselle.

The following year the Farriss Brothers moved to Perth, where they wrote songs, rehearsed, and performed in local hotels and mining towns. After ten months they returned to Sydney, where their performances grabbed the attention of Garry Morris, who managed the Australian band Midnight Oil. Morris began working with them and was the first to suggest that they change the name of the band.

Although Morris decided to devote the majority of his time to Midnight Oil, the Farriss Brothers had also met booking agent C.M. Murphy. At the time, Murphy was in the process of starting an independent record label called Deluxe Records, which had a distribution deal with RCA. Murphy agreed that the band's name needed to be changed. "Our record company suggested 'In Excess,'" Tim Farriss told Steve Dougherty in People. The group liked the idea, but shortened it to INXS.

Sparked Interest in Australia

On September 1, 1979, INXS made its performing debut at the Oceanview Hotel in Toukley, Australia. The following May the group released its first single, "Simple Simon/We Are the Vegetables" on Deluxe Records. In October of 1980 they released their self-titled debut album in Australia, which included the single "Just Keep Walking." The band embarked on a 300-show tour throughout Australia to promote the album. A year later they released their second album, Underneath the Colors, which climbed to the Top 15 on the Australian charts.

For the Record …

Members include Garry Gary Beers, bass; Andrew Farriss, keyboards; Jon Farriss, drums; Tim Farriss, guitar; Michael Hutchence (died on November 22, 1997), vocals; Kirk Pengilly, guitar, saxophone; J.D. Fortune (replaced Hutchence, 2005), vocals.

Band formed in Sydney, Australia, 1977; signed with Australian label Deluxe Records, 1979; released self-titled debut in Australia, 1980; signed with WEA Records in Australia, released Shabooh Shoobah, 1982; signed North American recording contract with Atlantic Records, 1983; released multi-platinum album Kick, 1988; released four more albums on Atlantic, 1990–93; signed with Mercury/Polygram Records, 1993; released two more albums, 1994–97; continued touring after death of lead singer Michael Hutchence in 1997; auditioned new singer on Rock Star: INXS and released album Switch with new vocalist J.D. Fortune, 2005.

Addresses: Record company—Sony/BMG, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022. Website—INXS Official Website: http://www.inxs.com.

In April of 1982 Andrew Farriss, Hutchence, and Pengilly went on a "pilgrimage" to England and the United States. Armed with a tape of their music, they set out to spread the word on INXS. They signed a new contract with WEA Records in Australia in July of the same year, and their next release, Shabooh Shoobah, reached the Top Five on the Australian charts. By the following January they had signed a North American record contract with Atlantic Records.

Reached Out to Global Audience

They debuted in the United States with the single "The One Thing," which quickly climbed to the Top 30 on the Billboard charts. The video went into high rotation on MTV, and INXS had begun to make their mark in America. Atlantic re-released Shabooh Shoobah in the United States to wide acclaim. David Fricke wrote in Rolling Stone, "Most of Shabooh Shoobah, the group's American debut, is both novel in approach and stirring in execution."

After the album's release, INXS began a marathon U.S. tour. They played their first New York City headlining show at The Ritz in May of 1983. From there they went to the Us Festival in California, where they received two encore calls from over 300,000 attendees. Atlantic released a mini-LP in August called Dekadance, with remixes of four songs from Shabooh Shoobah.

Meanwhile the band continued to receive attention in their homeland. Their "Original Sin" single reached number one on the Australian charts in January of 1984. The Swing was released in May of that year and included the singles "Burn for You" and "Melting in the Sun." It reached double-platinum sales in Australia and became one of the top five selling albums in Australian music history. INXS also received seven Countdown Awards (Australia's version of the Grammy Awards), more than any other group had ever received.

The band's success also began to spread to the rest of the world. They performed their debut show in London, England, at The Astoria. In the meantime, Atlantic re-released their earlier albums INXS and Underneath the Colors in the United States. In September of 1984 INXS became the first international rock band to play in Guam. In July of 1985 the band's Sydney performance for the Live Aid benefit concert was broadcast worldwide.

Despite the group's growing popularity, they continued their intense recording and touring schedules. In October of 1985 they released Listen Like Thieves, and its first single, "This Time." By the end of the year they had taken off on their first headlining tour in the United States. After the hit single "What You Need" was released the following January, Listen Like Thieves reached gold status in the America and eventually went platinum. In May of 1986 INXS performed their "If You Got It, Shake It" world tour.

Kicked into High Gear

They went on to headline the "Australian Made" tour of their home country with eight other Australian bands. Three days before the release of Kick, INXS returned to the United States for the "Calling All Nations" tour. In January of 1988 Kick was certified gold and platinum at the same time, and eventually sold ten million copies worldwide.

The single "Need You Tonight" became the band's first number one song on the U.S. charts. The home video Kick—The Video Flick also had platinum sales. All three of the subsequent singles from Kick—"Devil Inside," "New Sensation," and "Never Tear Us Apart"—reached Billboard's Top Ten. INXS swept the MTV Video Music Awards in September of 1988 with five awards for the "Need You Tonight/Mediate" video. In January the group received its first Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Group.

After 16 months of touring and overwhelming success, the members decided to take a break from each other to pursue their own projects, and rumors began to fly about the band's demise. But in November of 1989 INXS began rehearsals for their next album, X. Released in 1990, the LP was named for the band's tenth anniversary of recording. The single "Suicide Blonde" hit the Top Ten on charts around the world, and X went double-platinum in both the United States and Australia. "We've had this Three Musketeers, or Six Musketeers, attitude for so long, and it's still very strong," Hutchence said in Billboard. "There's never any talk or any question of ever replacing anybody or changing anything."

In 1991 INXS received another Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Performance by a Group." USA Today reported that the band tied for second place in the list of musical artists with the most videos played on MTV. At the time, they had 37 different clips. On tour, INXS became the first international rock band to play in Mexico since the Doors had performed there nearly 20 years before.

In March of 1991, INXS won BPI Awards in Britain for Best International Band, and Hutchence was awarded Best International Male Vocalist. They also received the award for Best International Band at the first Australian Music Awards. Before the end of the year, INXS released a live album and video titled Live Baby Live.

Subjected to Post-Peak Gravity

INXS's next release, Welcome to Wherever You Are, began to mark the group's downward slope from the success of Kick. Its sales fell just short of the platinum mark—a huge success for some bands, but nowhere near the popularity previously achieved by the band. Yet the group was not discouraged. They released Full Moon, Dirty Hearts in 1993, which included two duets for Hutchence: "Please (You've Got That …)" with veteran singer Ray Charles and "Full Moon, Dirty Hearts" with Chrissie Hynde of the rock band the Pretenders.

INXS also made a video album to accompany Full Moon, Dirty Hearts, and nine film directors contributed to the project for the 12 songs on the album. It was showcased on MTV, Australia's Channel Nine, and in selected movie theaters.

By 1994 INXS had switched record labels from Atlantic to Mercury/Polygram. They released a greatest hits album simply titled INXS: The Greatest Hits, with the addition of two new songs. The band took another long break before releasing their next effort, Elegantly Wasted, in 1997. The release received some criticism for continuing in the band's 1980s style. In the band's record company biography, Andrew Farriss admitted that their musical style had not progressed: "Some of it could be us 12, 13 years ago!" But he added that "to keep changing just because you think you have to is not necessarily a good thing."

Some critics commented that the group never fit into the musical fashion of their time. They called them "ahead of their time" and "dated" all in the same few paragraphs. "I don't think we've ever fit in," Hutchence said in the band's bio. "Maybe it's a generational thing. Or maybe it's because there's always been the six of us, pulling in six different directions."

A Tragic Ending

On November 22, 1997, INXS received an unexpected shock. Singer Hutchence had committed suicide in a hotel room in Sydney, Australia. The band had gathered in their hometown to begin rehearsals for their 20th anniversary tour. "Michael was the consummate rock star," Australian rock historian Glenn A. Baker told the Associated Press. "He floated above the pressures. Why he would choose this moment to throw in the towel I think will always remain a mystery."

INXS had plowed through records and tours for 20 years, cemented by the relationships of its six members. At the time of Hutchence's death, they weren't quite at the peak of popularity they had achieved in the late 1980s, but they were still one of the world's top live draws. INXS limped on, with vocalist Terence Trent D'Arby fronting the band for a 1999 tour and Jon Stephens filling Hutchence's spot for some appearances in the early 2000s before departing to go solo. In 2005 the band made the controversial decision to seek out a new frontman via auditions on a U.S. reality television show. Rock Star: INXS was broadcast on the CBS network in the summer of 2005.

"We figured our old fans would be pissed off, but, in the end, we finally had great rock and roll on television, and someone had to come along and knock that American Idol crap out of the way," Tim Farriss explained to Michael Molenda of Guitar Player. On September 20, 2005, INXS took on new lead vocalist, J.D. Fortune, formerly a radio operator in Canada's armed forces. The revitalized band signed with the Epic label and released the album Switch.

Critical and fan consensus held that Hutchence could never really be replaced, but Matt Collar of All Music Guide conceded that "vocally, Fortune does match some of Hutchence's deep soul leanings, although he's more leaden and doesn't have any of the higher-end, blue-eyed soul that was Hutchence's trademark." With Switch rising to number 17 on Billboard's album chart, the durable group that was INXS seemed not to have reached the end of its run.

Selected discography

INXS, Deluxe Records, 1980; reissued, Atlantic Records, 1984.
Underneath the Colors, Deluxe Records, 1981; reissued, Atlantic Records, 1984.
Shabooh Shoobah, WEA Records, 1982; reissued, Atlantic Records, 1983.
Dekadance, Atlantic Records, 1983.
The Swing, Atlantic Records, 1984.
Listen Like Thieves, Atlantic Records, 1985.
Kick, Atlantic Records, 1987.
X, Atlantic Records, 1990.
Live Baby Live, Atlantic Records, 1991.
Welcome to Wherever You Are, Atlantic Records, 1992.
Full Moon, Dirty Hearts, Atlantic Records, 1993.
INXS: The Greatest Hits, Atlantic Records, 1994.
Elegantly Wasted, Mercury/Polygram, 1997.
The Years 1979–1997, Universal International, 2002.
Need You Tonight and Other Hits, Rhino, 2004.
Original Sin: The Collection, Spectrum, 2004.
Switch, Epic, 2005.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, November 26, 1988; October 13, 1990; May 9, 1992; November 13, 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, July 24, 1992; November 5, 1993; April 18, 1997.

Guitar Player, March 1991; January 2006, p. 74.

Los Angeles Times, August 11, 1997.

Mademoiselle, April 1990.

People, February 1, 1988; July 11, 1988; October 22, 1990; August 17, 1992; May 12, 1997; February 13, 2006, p. 81.

Rolling Stone, April 28, 1983; January 14, 1988; June 16, 1988; April 4, 1991; December 9, 1993; February 24, 1994; May 1, 1997.

Seventeen, August 1986.

Time, December 17, 1990.

Online

"INXS," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (July 15, 2006).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/inxs-1

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/inxs-1

Inxs

INXS

Formed: 1977, Sydney, Australia; Disbanded 1997; Reformed 2001

Members: Garry Gary Beers, bass (born Sydney, Australia, 22 June 1957); Andrew Farriss, keyboard, guitars (born Sydney, Australia, 27 March 1959); Jon Farriss, drums (born Sydney, Australia, 18 August 1961); Tim Farriss, guitar (born Sydney, Australia, 16 August 1957); Kirk Pengilly, saxophone, guitar, vocals (born Sydney, Australia, 4 July 1958); Jon Stevens, vocals (born Upper Hut, New Zealand). Former member: Michael Hutchence, vocals (born Sydney, Australia, 22 January 1960; died Australia, 22 November 1997).

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Kick (1987)

Hit songs since 1990: "Suicide Blonde," "Disappear," "Beautiful Girl"


The Australian band INXS (pronounced in-excess) toiled away for ten years with moderate success throughout the 1980s, and made its biggest impact on the pop music landscape with its album Kick (1987). Thanks to the band's strong guitar-based sound, danceable sensibility, sultry appeal of its lead singer Michael Hutchence, and quirky, jazzy touch, Kick went on to sell more than 9 million albums worldwide. INXS approached the 1990s after having already launched a successful album, and spent much of the 1990s trying to keep its rock-based act relevant in the changing musical landscape that began to favor alternative music. The band continued on, despite a decline in sales toward the mid-1990s and personal troubles of lead singer Hutchence. The album X (1990) brought the band on a tour around the world and it eventually disbanded in 1997 after the tragic suicide of Hutchence, who hung himself in his Sydney, Australia, hotel room. Though INXS officially broke up shortly thereafter, in 2002, band members decided to carry on, and added vocalist Jon Stevens of the Australian band Noiseworks. INXS once again set upon a world tour that, despite its success, appeared a little distasteful and disrespectful in the eyes of some fans; Hutchence, as the lead singer, was the essence of the band.

Few bands rival INXS's longevity and success, and the fact that all six members remained committed to the music and their mission up until the untimely death of their lead singer is remarkable. The band formed in the late 1970s with three brothers, Tim, Jon, and Andrew Farriss, in Perth, Australia, and at first called themselves the Farriss Brothers. After Jon graduated high school, the three teamed up with schoolmates Kirk Pengilly, Michael Hutchence, and Garry Beers, moved to Sydney, and renamed themselves INXS. At the time of its emergence, INXS rivaled bands such as Irish rockers U2 and the U.S. rock band R.E.M. The sonic palette of INXS is a mix of the swagger and rock-star guitar stylings of the Rolling Stones, the synthetic dance beats of the 1980s New Wave trend, and its own personal imprint of layered guitars, slinky bass lines, and the slithering, smoldering vocals of Hutchence.

INXS developed a loyal following in its native Australia, starting off with placement in the Top 40 with "Underneath the Colors," and then with its third album, Shabooh Shoobah, which reached the Australian Top 5. However, The Swing, a sassy, guitar-driven album, brought the band the breakthrough hit "Original Sin" that landed it at the top of the Australian charts. Throughout the early and mid-1980s, INXS laid the foundation for a big breakthrough in 1987, with the October release of Kick.

Thanks in part to the sultry good looks and hushed vocals of Hutchence, "Need You Tonight" soared to the number one slot in the United States and helped propel Kick to number three on the Billboard 200. The video for the complete song "Need You Tonight/Mediate" was also prominent and garnered the band much attention. The "Mediate" portion of the song, which operates kind of like a postscript, recreates scenes from legendary rocker Bob Dylan's documentary Don't Look Back. Throughout the video band members take turns flipping cue cards with select lyrics as the song progresses. The video certainly caught people's attention and established an association between INXS and the iconic political voice of Dylan. At the end of the video, Pengilly wails away on an empty, dirty street. Part of what made the band so popular and unusual at the time was its liberal use of saxophone, heretofore nonexistent. Other tracks from Kick, such as the Rolling Stones-like riffs on "Devil Inside," the adrenaline-fueled "New Sensation," and the jazzy rocker "Mystify," became hits in the United States and helped expand the group's audience.

After the unprecedented sales of Kick, the band took about a year off and reconvened for X, which abandoned the band's previous synthesizer-dance-pop tendencies and adopted a more liberal use of guitars. The sassy, unusual "Suicide Blonde" continued their trademark hooks, deft combination of guitar and saxophone. After Kick, X is INXS's best albumthe albums the band released after X did not fare as well with fans or critics. X has been certified multiplatinum.


Tragic Finish

The release of the band's fourteenth album, Elegantly Wasted (1997), turned out to be oddly prescient with its hedonistic dance-rock vibe that curried little favor with fans and critics alike. On the heels of the album's release, band members planned to rehearse in their hometown, Sydney, when tragic events intervened. In November 1997, Hutchence was discovered dead in his hotel room. After his death it was revealed that Hutchence had been at odds with his girlfriend, Paula Yates, for some months; there were also rumors circulating of drug abuse. The band broke up, more or less, but reconvened in 2001.

Overall, INXS scored seven Top 10 hits in the United States from the 1980s through the mid-1990s. Part of its success can be attributed to the fact that the band brought on a different producer for every album, which insured that its sound would never become stale; it also toured the world in support of each release. Oddly, although the band won scores of awards in its native country, in the United Kingdom, and from magazines such as Rolling Stone, it never earned a Grammy Award in the United States, though it was nominated three times. INXS had a sizable impact on the transformation of 1980s new wave music into a more full-fledged rock sound, complete with guitars and keyboards, and the occasional blast from a saxophone.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Listen Like Thieves (Atlantic,1985); Kick (Atlantic, 1987); X (Atlantic, 1990); Live Baby Live (1991); Welcome to Wherever You Are (Atlantic, 1992); Full Moon, Dirty Hearts (Atlantic, 1993); Elegantly Wasted (Mercury, 1997); Shine Like It Does: The Anthology (19791997) (Rhino, 2001).

carrie havranek

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Inxs." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Inxs." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/inxs

"Inxs." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/inxs

INXS

INXS

Australian rock group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Noted for their blend of rock and funk, Australias INXS is still composed of the same members who started the band, in 1977Michael Hutchence, Tim, Andrew, and Jon Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, and Garry Gary Beers. After struggling for years on the Australian pub scene, the group began to attract international attention in the early 1980s and had what Rob Tannenbaum labeled in Rolling Stone a breakthrough hit in the United States with 1986s What You Need. This taste of fame was small, however, compared to the phenomenal popularity INXS experienced after the release of their 1987 album Kick. Aided by wide music video exposure on networks such as MTV, Kicks first single, Need You Tonight, thrust INXS, and especially lead singer Hutchence, into the limelight. As critic Cathleen McGuigan announced in Newsweek, INXS has a hard-driving, irresistibly danceable sound and a sexy, live-for-the-moment attitudetempered with just a dash of social consciousness. She concluded that the band possessed all the right ingredients for late 80s success.

Perhaps part of the reason that INXS has remained

For the Record

Band started in 1977 as the Farris Brothers; briefly called the Vegetables; became INXS (pronounced in excess) in 1979; consists of Michael Hutchence (born c. 1960, in Sidney, Australia; fathers occupation: an importer; mothers occupation: a make-up artist; unmarried; homeHong Kong) lead vocals, also groups lyricist, appeared in film Dogs in Space; Tim Farriss (born c. 1958, in Perth, Australia; married with two sons; homeSidney, Australia) lead guitar; Andrew Farriss (born c. 1959, in Perth, Australia; unmarried; homeSidney, Australia) keyboards, groups primary composer; Jon Farriss (born c. 1961, in Perth, Australia; unmarried; homeHong Kong) drummer; Kirk Pengilly (born c. 1959; unmarried, one daughter; homeSidney, Australia) guitar, saxophone; Garry Gary Beers (born c. 1957; unmarried; homeSidney, Australia) bass; musical speciality: rock-funk, pop.

Addresses: Record company c/o Atlantic Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10019.

intact long enough to reach that pinnacle is that half of the group is composed of family members. Tim Farriss on lead guitar, Andrew Farriss playing keyboards and writing most of the groups music, and Jon Farriss on drums, are all brothers. The Farrisses grew up in Perth, Australia, where their early interest in music was supported by their parents. Tim, the eldest, told Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone: When we were really young, we used to stand around with tennis rackets and mime records, the three of us. Like Dont Sleep in the Subway and Mr. Pleasant, by the Kinksand the Monkees, even Herb Alpert! Later, their father bought them instruments and made sure that we could play them, that we got taught, Tim added. By the time the Farrisses had moved to Sidney and all of INXSs members had joined together, Jon Farriss explained to DeCurtis, their parents were still exceptionally helpful in accommodating everything we needed. If Kirks parents or someones parents were against it, theyd have them over to stay the night so theyd feel really kosher about it. Theyd allow us to play until eleven at night so we could develop.

Michael Hutchence was born in Sidney, but spent much of his childhood in Hong Kong while his father was in the import business. During a return to Sidney at the age of fourteen, he met Andrew Farriss, and, after Farriss rescued Hutchence from the persecutions of a neighborhood bully, the two became good friends. As Hutchence confided to Tannenbaum, the relationship was based on hang[ing] around living rooms and record[ing] obscure music on this four-track recorder and try[ing] to impress girls with this. Despite the fact that Hutchence moved to Los Angeles, California, a year laterhis mother became a make-up artist there after his parents were divorcedthe boys remained in contact with each other through a steady correspondence. After a year in the United States, Hutchence returned yet again to Sidney. He recalled for DeCurtis: The day I got back, I rang Andrew, and he said, Yeah, great, come around. It was funny . Most people fifteen, you split them up for a while and they come back completely different people. We still had a strong friendship.

Hutchence and Andrew Farriss began playing in a band that also featured bassist Garry Gary Beers; meanwhile, Tim Farriss, who, according to Tannenbaum, had been a Christian youth-group leader until a copy of Roxy Musics For Your Pleasure changed [his] life, was performing in a group that included guitar and saxophone player Kirk Pengilly. In 1977 after both groups broke up, the five young men joined together, and invited Jon Farriss, the youngest, to serve as their drummer. Though they were not yet INXSearly names included the Vegetables and the Farriss Brothersall concerned felt sufficiently committed to the new combination to move to Perth rather than lose Jon, who, because of his age, had to go with his parents when they decided to return to the familys earlier home. When Jon graduated from high school in 1979, the band decided to come back to Sidney and start playing in pubsand used its moniker for the first time. Tim Farriss recounted for Steve Dougherty in People: Our record company suggested In Excess. But without a record out, it seemed people came to shows if your name was really big on your posters. We wanted ours huge, so we shortened it [to INXS].

While playing pubs throughout Australia, where audiences were so rough that success was based on whether or not a band was peppered by hurled beer bottles, INXS also managed to release a few albums, including INXS and Underneath the Colours. They had attracted more widespread attention (and better arenas for their concert performances) by 1984, when they recorded The Swing and its single Original Sin. Featuring the controversial theme of interracial love, Original Sin was denied airplay by many radio stations. INXS followed The Swing with Listen Like Thieves, which included the hit song What You Need. But most critics agree that 1987s Kick is the bands best effort. In addition to the hit Need You Tonight, songs like Devil Inside which Hutchence has been known to dedicate in concerts to televangelist Jimmy Swaggartand Guns in the Sky help make up Kick. Though Hutchence, who writes the words to most of the groups songs, made clear to DeCurtis that he was not a great political lyricist and that he dislikes knee-jerk politics, Guns in the Sky is a protest song against the United States proposed Strategic Defense Initiative.

The success of Kick and the sex-symbol status that it has gained Hutchence as INXSs lead singer have led to speculation that he would separate from the band. True, he has outside interestshe was featured in the Australian film Dogs in Space, in which he played what Dougherty described as a feral, half-naked junkie who spends most of his time crawling around the floor of a squalid commune. But Garry Gary Beers assured DeCurtis that Hutchence has gone out of his way to make us all realize that INXS is his number-one priority. I feel more confident in him than ever. Hutchence himself summed up the bands probable future for DeCurtis: Weve got a lot more to say, a lot more to do and a lot more songs to write.

Selected discography

INXS, Atco, 1980.

Underneath the Colours, Atco, 1982.

The Swing, Atco, 1984.

Listen Like Theives, Atlantic, 1985.

Kick (includes Need You Tonight, Devil Inside, New Sensation, and Guns in the Sky), Atlantic, 1987.

Also released Dekadance and Shabooh Shoobah.

Sources

Newsweek, April 11, 1988.

People, July 11, 1988.

Rolling Stone, January 14, 1988; June 16, 1988.

Elizabeth Thomas

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/inxs-0

"INXS." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/inxs-0