INXS

INXS was an Australian rock band from Sydney that started in a new wave/post-punk vein with two albums on Deluxe/ATCO in 1980/81. Adopting a more streamlined approach, they scored an international hit with “The One Thing” from their 1982 release Shabooh Shoobah, their first of five albums on WEA/Mercury.

In late 1985, INXS scored a huge stateside hit with “What You Need,” a pop-funk single from their fifth album, Listen Like Thieves. They consolidated their global major-league status with their 1987 release Kick, which spawned the hits “Need You Tonight,” “The Devil Inside,” “New Sensation,” and “Never Tear Us Apart.”

Members: Michael Hutchence (vocals, 1977-97), Andrew Farriss (keyboards, guitar), Tim Farriss (guitar), Kirk Pengilly (saxophone, guitar, vocals), Garry Gary Beers (bass, vocals), Jon Farriss (drums)


Background

INXS formed through a merger of two bands, Doctor Dolphin and Guinness. Doctor Dolphin formed the prior year in Frenchs Forest, Sydney, when two classmates, keyboardist Andrew Farriss (b. 1959) and singer Michael Hutchence (1960–1997), assembled a pop band that also included bassist Gary Beers (b. 1957).

In 1977, Andrew’s older brother Tim Farriss (b. 1957) invited the three to join his band, Guinness, which grew from a six-year partnership with saxophonist Kirk Pengilly (b. 1958). With younger brother Jon Farriss (b. 1961) brought into the fold, the new sextet played its first show at Whale Beach on August 16, 1977 (the day Elvis Presley died).

After a 10-month stay in Perth during 1978, the band demoed material in Sydney as The Vegetables. They caught wind as a frequent opening act for Midnight Oil, whose manager, Gary Morris, suggested a new name for the young band: INXS (“in excess”), inspired by the phonetic acronym name of English new wavers XTC. Their first concert as INXS occurred on September 1, 1979, at the Ocean Beach Hotel in Umina, New South Wales.

By Christmas, Morris-associate Chris “CM” Murphy signed on as manager of INXS. In early 1980, he secured them a five-album deal with Sydney indie Deluxe Records, a nascent new wave label established by AC/DC manager Michael Browning.

On May 14, 1980, INXS released their first single: “Simple Simon” backed with “We Are the Vegetables,” both group-written originals.

A. “Simple Simon”
B. “We Are the Vegetables”


INXS

INXS released their self-titled debut album on October 13, 1980, on Deluxe (Australia) and ATCO (Canada).

The album features ten group-credited originals, including “On a Bus,” “Learn to Smile,” “Newsreel Babies,” and their second a-side, “Just Keep Walking.”

Musicially, INXS echoes recent UK innovations in proto-zolo (Barry Andrews-era XTC), post-punk funk (Gang of Four), and minimal wave (John Foxx).

A1. “On a Bus” (3:49)
A2. “Doctor” (2:35)
A3. “Just Keep Walking” (2:42)
A4. “Learn to Smile” (3:57)
A5. “Jumping” (3:22)
B1. “In Vain” (4:35)
B2. “Roller Skating” (2:44)
B3. “Body Language” (2:02)
B4. “Newsreel Babies” (2:42)
B5. “Wishy Washy” (3:50)

Sessions took place in mid-1980 at Trafalgar Studios in Annandale, New South Wales, where INXS co-produced the album with Duncan McGuire, the onetime bassist of Ayers Rock.

A. “Just Keep Walking” 2:42
B. “Scratch” (2:10)

INXS appeared as the fourth Deluxe LP release (VPL1 6529) after the debut albums by The Dugites, Toy Love, and The Numbers. In 1984, INXS appeared in the US on ATCO.

In March 1981, INXS teamed with Richard Clapton, who produced their non-album single “The Loved One,” a sixties cover backed with “The Unloved One.”


Underneath the Colours

INXS released their second album, Underneath the Colours, on October 19, 1981, on Deluxe (Oceania) and ATCO (Canada).

Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence co-wrote the title track, “Horizons,” and the lead single “Stay Young.” They joint-wrote “Just to Learn Again” with Garry Gary Beers and collaborated with Kirk Pengilly on “Night of Rebellion,” the album’s second single. Pengilly  and Hutchence co-wrote “Follow.”

Underneath the Colours also contains four group-composed songs: “Big Go Go,” “Fair Weather Ahead,” “Barbarian,” and “What Would You Do.” Two tracks (“Stay Young,” “Big Go Go”) feature backing vocals by Reels Dave Mason and Karen Ansell.

A1. “Stay Young” (3:27)
A2. “Horizons” (6:13)
A3. “Big Go Go” (3:12)
A4. “Underneath the Colours” (3:58)
A5. “Fair Weather Ahead” (4:20)
B1. “Night of Rebellion” (3:46)
B2. “Follow” (3:52)
B3. “Barbarian” (2:59)
B4. “What Would You Do” (3:08)
B5. “Just to Learn Again” (4:43)

Recorded at EMI Studios 301, July 1981.
Producer – Richard Clapton
Engineer – Alex Vertikoff, David Walsh
Percussion – Keith Casey (A3, B5)

Artwork By – Art ’79
Photography By – Garry Gary Beers, Jon Farriss, Tim Farriss


Shabooh Shoobah

INXS released their third album, Shabooh Shoobah, on October 13, 1982, on WEA (Oceania), Mercury (Europe), and ATCO (North America).

Andrew Farriss wrote “To Look at You” and collaborated with Michael Hutchence on five songs, including “Soul Mistake” and their breakthrough international hit “The Good Thing.”

Shabooh Shoobah also includes Hutchence co-writes with Tim Farriss (“Spy of Love”), Jon Farriss (“Old World New World”), and Kirk Pengilly (“Golden Playpen”), plus the group-written “Don’t Change.”

A1. “The One Thing” (3:23)
A2. “To Look at You” (3:54)
A3. “Spy of Love” (3:55)
A4. “Soul Mistake” (2:56)
A5. “Here Comes” (2:59)
B1. “Black and White” (3:39)
B2. “Golden Playpen” (3:02)
B3. “Jan’s Song” (3:19)
B4. “Old World New World” (3:37)
B5. “Don’t Change” (4:24)

Sessions took place at Sydney’s newly opened Rhinoceros Studios, also used for 1982 recordings by Goanna, Swanee, and the Machinations.
Producer – Mark Opitz
Engineer – Andrew Scott and David Nicholas (A2–B5), David Walsh (A1)

Cover: photographer Grant Matthews, based on a concept by Hutchence.


The Swing

INXS released their fourth album, The Swing, on March 19, 1984, on WEA, Mercury, and ATCO.

Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence co-wrote the epic closer “All The Voices” and the album’s four singles: “Original Sin,” “I Send a Message,” “Dancing on the Jetty,” and “Burn for You.”

Hutchence also co-wrote tracks with Tim and Jon Farriss (“Melting in the Sun”) and Jon and Kirk Pengilly (“Face the Change”). Andrew lone-wrote “Johnson’s Aeroplane.” INXS group-wrote “Love Is (What I Say)” and the album’s title track.

Chic mastermined Nile Rodgers produced the lead single “Original Sin,” which features vocal backing by Daryl Hall. The Swing has eight additional backing vocalists, including the singers of Models (Sean Kelly) and QED (Jenny Morris).

A1. “Original Sin” (5:16)
A2. “Melting In The Sun” (3:22)
A3. “I Send A Message ” (3:21)
A4. “Dancing On The Jetty” (4:30)
A5. “The Swing” (3:49)
B1. “Johnson’s Aeroplane” (3:50)
B2. “Love Is (What I Say)” (3:40)
B3. “Face The Change” (3:33)
B4. “Burn For You” (4:56)
B5. “All The Voices” (6:06)

Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Nick Launay (A2 to B5)
“Original Sin” – Engineer – Jason Porcaro, Producer – Nile Rodgers

Recorded September–December 1983
Studio Power Station, New York City, US
The Manor, Oxfordshire, UK
Rhinoceros, Sydney, Australia
Emerald City, Sydney, Australia
Paradise, Sydney, Australia

Arranged By [Strings] – Bill Motzing, Andrew Farriss

Backing Vocals – Andrew Duffield, Daryl Hall, Dave Spinner, Frank Simms, Jenny Morris, Kim-Liat Edwards, Norma Lewis, Sean Kelly, Sherine

Artwork [Art] – Jon Watkins
Design [Cover Design], Photography By – Philip Mortlock
Photography By – Paul Clarke
Photography By [Front Group Pic And Individual B&w Pics Taken By] – Michael Putland
Photography By, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals – Kirk Pengilly

Charted at #1 on debut 2 April 1984 (based on sales info 19-24 March 1984)
Gatefold sleeve


Listen Like Thieves

INXS released their fifth album, Listen Like Thieves, on October 14, 1985, on WEA, Mercury, and Atlantic (North America).

Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence co-wrote five tracks, including “Same Direction,” “Shine Like It Does,” the US mega-hit “What You Need.”

Farriss himself wrote “This Time,” the jangly lead-off single in the Northern Hemisphere. Andrew and Jon Ferriss co-wrote the album closer “Red Red Sun.” Brother Tim Ferriss submitted “Three Sisters.”

Hutchence co-wrote two songs (“Good + Bad Times,” “Biting Bullets”) with Kirk Pengilly. INXS group wrote the album’s title track.

A1. “What You Need” (3:33)
A2. “Listen Like Thieves” (3:58)
A3. “Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain)” (3:52)
A4. “Shine Like It Does” (3:05)
A5. “Good + Bad Times” (2:44)
B1. “Biting Bullets” (2:47)
B2. “This Time” (3:08)
B3. “Three Sisters” (3:26)
B4. “Same Direction” (4:56) features guest percussionist Ray Cooper, a longtime Elton John sideman.
B5. “One X One” (3:06)
B6. “Red Red Sun” (3:32)

Recorded August 1985
Studio Rhinoceros Studios (Sydney, Australia)
Producer Chris Thomas
Engineer – Steve Churchyard
Arranged By [Strings] – Ann O’Dell

Art Direction [Cover] – INXS
Design [Cover], Artwork By [Cover] – Philip Mortlock
Photography By [Back Cover Group Shot] – Stuart Spence
Photography By [Cover] – Philip Mortlock
Photography By [Inner Spread] – Andy Rosen


Discography:

  • INXS (1980)
  • Underneath the Colours (1981)
  • Shabooh Shoobah (1982)
  • The Swing (1984)
  • Listen Like Thieves (1985)
  • Kick (1987)
  • X (1990)

Sources:

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