INXS is an Australian rock
group. The band was formed in 1977 and comprised Michael
Hutchence (lead vocals), Andrew Farriss (guitar and keyboards), Tim Farriss (lead guitar), Jon Farriss (drums), Gary
Beers (bass) and Kirk Pengilly (saxophone and guitar).
INXS began under the name The Farriss Brothers
but the band changed their name to INXS in 1979, just prior to the
release of their self-titled debut album in 1980. INXS
and its follow-up, 1981’s Underneath the Colours (produced by Richard Clapton) were hits in their native
Australia, and their third album was released worldwide. The single, “The One
Thing”, brought them their first top 40 hit in America, while “Don’t Change”
became a staple in the set list of college rock bands who played the frat
circuit. With the Nick Launay-produced fourth album, The Swing in 1983, the band received
significant attention in the U.S. and UK, as the single “Original Sin” became a
minor pop radio hit and the band’s charismatic singer Michael
Hutchence gained attention for his looks. The band, which had started out as a New
Wave act featuring more synthesizers than guitar, gradually moved in a more
straight-ahead Rock-oriented direction through the first half of the
1980s. By 1985’s breakthrough album, Listen Like Thieves, the band had perfected
a matured sound influenced by the Rolling Stones and U2
but true to the band’s original roots in the Aussie pubs. In the U.S., the
first single, “This Time” stalled at number 81 in late 1985, but the band
literally roared out of nowhere with the second, “What You Need”, which in
early 1986 became a top five hit, bringing the band their first breakout U.S.
band’s worldwide peak of popularity came with 1987’s Kick,
a punchy, confident set of pop-rock gems that yielded four top-ten U.S. singles,
including the number-one hit, “Need You Tonight”. They toured heavily behind
the album throughout 1987 and 1988. Afterwards, they took a break and Hutchence
released a side project of sorts called Max Q, which received decent
reviews, but at best attained a cult status.
the band’s belated attempts to follow up on the success of Kick, 1990’s X
and 1992’s Welcome to Wherever You Are found
them struggling to stay relevant as alternative
rock began to dominate the airwaves and more traditional rockers like INXS
fell out of favor. Full Moon, Dirty Hearts (1993) was
their attempt to capitalize on the grunge movement, and while it received mixed
reviews, it plunged the band further into obscurity, despite the track “Please
(You Got That)” featuring the legendary Ray Charles.
The first Greatest Hits compilation was released in 1994.
the 1980s and into
the 1990s, INXS
was a major force in Australian popular music, leading the way into
worldwide popularity for several Australian bands. The band worked closely with
several other Australian artists, such as the Models
Morris, helping to establish their careers. By the mid-nineties, however,
their popularity had waned, especially in the U.S., where their “Greatest Hits”
compilation failed to reach the top 100. In 1997, the group released a comeback
album titled Elegantly Wasted, which garnered mixed reviews. It fared
respectably in Australia, Canada and Great Britain, but floundered in the U.S.
Hutchence was found dead in his Sydney hotel room, an apparent victim of suicide (some
speculate his death was actually an accident, the result of autoerotic asphyxiation). Since Hutchence’s
death, INXS has continued, using Terence Trent D’Arby, Suze DeMarchi and Jimmy
Barnes as temporary lead singers. Jon Stevens began singing with INXS in 2000 and was officially
named a member of the band in 2002. However, he left INXS in 2003, only recording a
song called I Get Up, released as a single (which charted in the top 100
on the Australian ARIAnet Singles Chart) in the same year, and it was used in
the Rugby Union World Cup 2003.
returned to the news
in 2004 when it was
announced that a new reality television program titled Rock Star: INXS
would feature a contest
to find a new frontman for the band. The show, which debuted on the CBS network July 11th,
2005 (and on VH1 in
the UK and on FOX 8 in Australia), featured fifteen contestants vying for the
position of lead singer. The band is new and complete with the addition of
“Rock Star” winner, JD Fortune.