INXS and Those 4 Hits From ‘Kick’

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There was a period of time beginning in the late 1980s when a new single from INXS was a lock for the hard-working Atlantic Records radio promotion team to reach the Top 10 of the pop charts. The Australian classic rock band had their U.S. breakthrough with 1985’s “What You Need,” which reached #5. After a four-song stumble, the band delivered the Kick album on October 19, 1987.

Should’ve been called Kick-ass.

Because starting with lead single “Need You Tonight,” the album had four straight smash hits off the album. “Need You Tonight” became the band’s first – and only – #1 pop single in the U.S.

The follow-up, “Devil Inside,” reached #2. “New Sensation” hit #3 and “Never Tear Us Apart” peaked at #7. Okay, the label got greedy: two other singles were released and neither charted. But the success of the four hits led to huge sales for Kick. Their videos got significant play on MTV. (INXS’ telegenic lead vocalist Michael Hutchence, born Jan. 22, 1960, bore more than a passing resemblance to Jim Morrison.) Though the album peaked at #3 on Billboard, it has sold over six million copies in the U.S. alone.

The group’s core lineup also featured three brothers – Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss and Tim Farriss – plus Kirk Pengilly and Garry Gary Beers.

The video for the 1988 single, “Devil Inside,” was directed by Joel Schumacher. The filmmaker had already helmed the hit features St. Elmo’s Fire and The Lost Boys, but had yet to set up camp at Warner Bros. Pictures. Once he did, he directed four back-to-back blockbusters for the studio: The Client (1994), Batman Forever (1995), A Time to Kill (1996), and Batman & Robin (1997). Schumacher died June 22, 2020, at 80.

Back to INXS. The band’s 1990 Top 10 “Disappear” single was oddly prophetic. For a variety of reasons, that’s pretty much what the band did. After their final studio album for Atlantic in 1993, they left the label.

On November 22, 1997, their frontman, lead singer and lyricist Hutchence was found dead in a Sydney, Australia hotel room. He was just 37 years old.

Related: A Hutchence documentary has been released

Funny thing about the success of those four Kick singles… Each one performed better on the U.S. singles charts than they did in Australia.

On what would have been Hutchence’s 60th birthday in 2020, INXS posted a remembrance tweet.

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