MTV was worthwhile back in the day. I may have never heard of INXS without being exposed to them via the videos for “The One Thing” and “Dont’ Change” from the 1982 album Shabooh Shoobah. I loved those songs, still do to this day and played that disc over and over when I purchased it.
There were some great Australian bands from the eighties that I was a big fan of, including The Lime Spiders, Hoodoo Gurus and of course Midnight Oil. INXS is right around the top of that list and by far they were the most successful. This is one of those instances though where the people who were too cool to like INXS because they weren’t “punk enough” or “too poppy” are out of their minds.
INXS delivered a string of hits that were not only monsters on the charts but possessed such strong hooks that the tracks resonate decades later. When I pop in my copy of The Best of INXS songs such as “What You Need”, “New Sensation”, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Disappear”, “Original Sin”, “This Time”, “Listen Like Thieves” and “Devil Inside” take me back to my high school and college years. All the tunes I just listed appeared on five straight albums released by INXS from 1982-1990: Shabooh Shoobah in 1982; The Swing in 1984; Listen Like Thieves in 1985; Kick in 1987 and X in 1990. All five of those records charted in the Top Five in Australia with three hitting #1, while Kick and X both reached the Top Five in the U.S..
I am willing to believe that it is a toss-up between INXS and U2 for what band the Sunnyslope Class of 87 liked most. After U2 had played two sold out shows at the ASU Activity Center the spring of 1987 one of my friends argued that they couldn’t touch INXS live. Maybe. They were tremendous live, the energy they delivered was infectious and Michael Hutchence hands down has to be considered one of rock and roll’s all-time best frontmen. Add in the fact every song was stellar and you had all the ingredients for a great concert.
I really do miss this band and probably enjoy their music even more now then when they were active. The passing of Michael Hutchence in November 1997 may not have been the official end of the band but let’s face it, INXS lost a lot of steam and the multiple vocalists that admirably tried to fill his shoes just could not recreate the magic he delivered. Sad.
Rather than one of their videos (and INXS made a lot of great ones) I give you their live performance from the 1983 US Festival. Spectacular.
Album(s) Inspiration: The Best of INXS and Shabooh Shoobah