Formed in 1977 as the Farriss Brothers in Sydney, Australia, INXS originally comprised the three Farriss brothers Tim (guitar), Jon (drums) and Andrew (keyboards), Michael Hutchence (lead vocals), Kirk Pengilly (guitar, saxophone, vocals), and Garry Beers (bass/vocals). The band moved to Perth, Western Australia to develop their own distinctive rock sound, which incorporated both black dance music and white soul influences. INXS began its recording career in 1980 with a single, 'Simple Simon'/'We Are The Vegetables' on the independent Deluxe label. Over the next three years, half a dozen singles reached the Top 30 in Australia, and the second album, 1981's Underneath The Colours sold well, and the next Shabooh Shoobah reached the Top 5. The single 'The One Thing' also reached the US Top 30. It was with the 'Original Sin' single of early 1985 and its accompanying album, The Swing, that the band finally hit the top of the charts in Australia. The album and single generated interest in the band from the USA, Europe and South America, and the follow-up album, Listen Like Thieves, consolidated their worldwide success, except in the UK where critics savaged the band, but it would not be long before sales finally took off there as well.
In 1986, Hutchence made his acting debut in Dogs In Space. One song from the film, 'Rooms For The Memory', earned him a solo Australian Top 10 single. INXS finally broke into the UK Top 20 the same year with the Jimmy Barnes collaboration 'Good Times', featured on the soundtrack to The Lost Boys. The band toured the USA and Europe constantly, and MTV aired their videos; as a result, Kick achieved over 1 million sales on advance orders in the USA alone and the band finally gained a number 1 US hit with 'Need You Tonight' in January 1988. The album also included the transatlantic hits 'Devil Inside', 'New Sensation', 'Never Tear Us Apart' and 'Mystify'. The band's success could be attributed to many factors, including an unchanged line-up from the beginning, the sultry good looks of vocalist Hutchence, unstinting touring schedules, diverse songwriters in the band and consistently fresh production with a new producer for each album.
After Kick and before the release of the band's bestselling album, 1990's X, all the members had a 12-month break and became involved with other projects - Hutchence with Max Q; Andrew Farriss in production work with Jenny Morris; and Garry Beers joined a loose collection of friends for a tour and recording as Absent Friends. Hutchence's much publicized, fleeting romance with Kylie Minogue brought the band's name to the attention of a whole new generation of potential fans. X, meanwhile, generated a whole new series of modern rock hits, including 'Suicide Blonde','Disappear','By My Side', 'Bitter Tears' and 'The Stairs'. INXS' 1993 set, Full Moon, Dirty Hearts, included a Hutchence/Chrissie Hynde (the Pretenders) duet on 'Kill The Pain', and the single 'The Gift'. The video of the latter was banned by MTV, formerly INXS' greatest ally, owing to its use of Holocaust and Gulf War footage.
Hutchence subsequently embarked on a highly-publicized relationship with Paula Yates, being cited in her divorce from Bob Geldof. Over the next few years, until his untimely death in 1997, Hutchence and Geldof were at loggerheads over the custody of the latter's children with Yates. Hutchence was found hanged in his hotel room in Sydney, Australia, on 22 November 1997. Yates died almost three years later, completing the tragic cycle. The remaining members of INXS resumed live work in 2000, recruiting Jon Stevens (ex-Noiseworks) as their temporary lead singer. In January 2005, the band announced they would be picking a new singer through the CBS reality television show Rock Star. Following a 13-week run, J.D. Fortune was announced as the band's new frontman. Fortune wrote the lyrics to the band's new single, 'Pretty Vegas', which reached the US Top 40 in late 2005. A new INXS album, Switch was released the same November but clearly lacked the stamp of Hutchence. Tribute album Original Sin followed in 2010 featuring guest vocalist on each track. In November 2012, during a concert in Perth, Australia, the band announced it would be their final live show.
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