Happy 50th Birthday to [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]INXS[/lastfm] drummer Jon Farriss!!
And to celebrate, Jack FM will spend the entire day speaking with an Australian accent.
With more than 30 million albums sold worldwide, INXS are one of Australia’s greatest exports.
Formed in 1977 by the Farriss brothers, INXS rose to fame in their homeland with the release of their first two albums, INXS and Underneath the Colours.
Soon, the band set their sights on conquering the international music scene, and in 1982, they released their third album, Shabooh Shoobah. The album peaked at #52 on the Billboard 200 and gave the band their first U.S. Top 30 hit with “The One Thing.” The album’s second single was “Don’t Change,” and it’s Jack’s Song of the Day. “Don’t Change” has been covered by bands like [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Everclear[/lastfm] and the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Goo Goo Dolls[/lastfm] and was featured in the 2009 movie Adventureland.
In March 1983, INXS played their first stateside show in San Diego to a crowd of only 24. Not deterred, the band continued touring the U.S., opening for such big-name acts as [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Adam Ant[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type="artist_info"], Hall and Oates[/lastfm], the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Stray Cats[/lastfm] and the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Go-Gos[/lastfm].
After touring, INXS headed back to the studio and released their fourth album, The Swing, in 1984. With its harder-edged rock sound, the album was a huge success in their native country. The single, “Original Sin,” peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100.
A year later, the band released the follow-up, Listen Like Thieves. Considered to be their American breakthrough, the album went to #11 on the Billboard 200 chart, and the single, “What You Need,” became the band’s first Top 10 hit in the States.
Riding the wave of success, INXS embarked on an international tour that took them through North America, Europe and New Zealand. Audiences everywhere were mesmerized by the charismatic stage presence of lead singer [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Michael Hutchence[/lastfm], and the band’s popularity began to rise. In 1986, Musician magazine named them “the best live band in the world.”
INXS released their sixth studio album, Kick, in 1987. At first, the band’s record label was not happy with the end result and offered them one million dollars to return to Australia and re-record it. But the band refused, and Kick ended up selling six million copies, making it their best-selling album to date. The album went to #3 on the charts and gave the band four Top 10 singles in the U.S.: “New Sensation,” “Never Tear Us Apart,” “Devil Inside” and “Need You Tonight,” which went all the way to #1. In September 1988, INXS won five MTV Video Music Awards for their “Need You Tonight/Mediate” video, including one for Video of the Year.
After a two-year tour, the band decided to take a much-needed break in 1989. During this time, several band members embarked on side projects, but they soon reunited to record their next album.
X was released in 1990 and was another commercial success for the Australian rockers. The album sold two million copies and peaked at #5 on the charts. X featured the hits “Suicide Blonde” and “Disappear.”
However, by 1992, the American music scene had changed. With grunge at the forefront, many of the 1980s bands found it difficult to carry their success over into the new decade, including INXS. Changing their sound to remain competitive, INXS released the album Welcome to Wherever You Are. Although the album went to #1 in the U.K. and Sweden, it only peaked at #16 in the States, failing to match the sales of the band’s two previous albums.
Despite their waning popularity, the band released Full Moon, Dirty Hearts in 1993. The album received mixed reviews and was another commercial disappointment.
After the album’s release, INXS decided to take some time off to rest and to be with their families. Michael Hutchence, on the other hand, remained in the public’s eye through various modeling and acting gigs.
Four years later, the band regrouped for their tenth studio album. Celebrating 20 years as a band, INXS released Elegantly Wasted, and it was considered to be the band’s comeback. It charted respectably in Australia, Canada, France and the U.K., but only went as high as #41 on the Billboard 200. Sadly, it would be the band’s last album with their beloved frontman.
On November 22, 1997, Michael Hutchence was found dead in his Sydney hotel room. He had apparently hung himself. The official report ruled his death a suicide while depressed and under the influence of alcohol and drugs. However, many believed Michael’s death to be an accident.
After the death of their friend and bandmate, INXS did not perform publicly for almost a year. Then they began performing a few shows with different guest singers until 2000. In May, Australian singer Jon Stevens started fronting the band, and he was named an official member in 2002. INXS recorded material for a new album, but in 2003, Jon Stevens left the band to pursue a solo career.
In 2005, INXS began their search for a new lead singer. Teaming up with Survivor producer Mark Burnett, the band launched the TV show Rockstar: INXS. After several weeks of fierce competition, Canadian-born J.D. Fortune was crowned the winner and, together with the band, released the album, Switch, later that year. Switch was a huge success in Canada and went to #17 in the U.S. It produced the hit singles “Pretty Vegas” and “Afterglow.”
Earlier this year, INXS released their twelfth studio album, Original Sin. Calling it a tribute to Michael Hutchence, the album features re-workings of the band’s most notable songs and includes guest vocals from such artists as [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Rob Thomas[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Pat Monahan[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Ben Harper[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]John Mayer[/lastfm]. Original Sin debuted on the Australian Albums chart at #49, and the band just recently kicked off a summer tour.
Here’s INXS in a 1991 performance of “Never Tear Us Apart” at London’s Wembley Stadium. Only Michael Hutchence could get away with wearing pants like those.
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