There's possibly no other band that reflects my young adulthood better. I loved INXS - from the moment I first saw them on Countdown, performing their third single, their cover of The Loved One. For some reason I missed the first two singles, but I made up for that shortly afterwards by buying their first album and playing it to death.
Then, just before they hit worldwide, I took a trip overseas and caught up with a friend who was living in Paris. I bought her Shabooh Shoobah as a gift - some real Aussie music she wouldn't get in France. And then they first began to get some UK heat with that album and the next - the one we're reviewing right now. Of course they didn't make it big in the US till Listen Like Thieves, but their back catalogue in a lot of ways I find more full of life, more entertaining, than anything they did for the stadium crowd.
I've seen them play in a small pub in Canberra, when all my girlfriends thought Michael Hutchence was ugly, because he was rather a spotty-faced youth back then. Having suffered badly from acne myself, I just looked at the charisma. I met my first husband at an INXS gig at the Uni bar in Canberra. One of my friends was working at a Sydney bar where Michael got into a lot of strife by turning up wasted and pulling the "Don't you know who I am?" deal with the bouncer who wasn't about to let him in. And I was working on radio the day he was found dead in his Sydney hotel room. That hurt.
Although YourZ and I watched the TV show the band put on to "find their new lead singer" and thoroughly enjoyed it, INXS without Michael just isn't INXS. Sorry, guys.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
In the 70s, I lived on the northern beaches of Sydney, the same area where bands like Midnight Oil and INXS first started. I remember sneaking into the Royal Antler hotel at Narrabeen to see the Oils perform a blistering set. I don't recall if INXS supported them at this gig but to be honest, I wasn't really interested in any one else other than the Oils. But INXS got there start doing lots of supports with them, so it is feasible they were on the same bill that night. It wasn't until some years later that I 'discovered' them for myself.
Like Mine, this discovery started when I heard The Loved One. Not too long after, I got a copy of their first compilation, INXSIVE, featuring their first singles as well as highlights from their first two albums. Listening to this compilation and their third album, Shaboo Shoobah, sold me completely on the band. The follow up, The Swing, was every bit as good as their previous but even more so. By now, the band had developed a sound and style completely their own and, as it usually goes, spawned a whole bunch of imitators. But none of those could hold a candle to INXS.
The Swing was the first album the band recorded overseas, enlisting the production skills of Nile Rodgers for the first single, Original Sin, and Nick Launay for the rest of the album. It became their first major hit album, both in Australia and overseas and produced some of their most enduring hits with tracks like Dancing On The Jetty, I Send A Message and the title track. And while the follow-up, Listen Like Thieves, is considered the album that broke them world wide, for me, it is the raw energy of both Shaboo Shoobah and The Swing that I still find unbeatable.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information: http://www.inxs.com/
In our collection, we also have Shaboo Shoobah