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INXS (pronounced "in excess", In-X-S) are an Australian rock band, formed as The Farriss Brothers in 1977 in Sydney, New South Wales.[1][2] Mainstays are Garry Gary Beers on bass guitar, Andrew Farriss on keyboards, Jon Farriss on drums, Tim Farriss on lead guitar and Kirk Pengilly on guitar/sax.[3] For twenty years, they were fronted by Michael Hutchence on lead vocals, whose "sultry good looks" and magnetic stage presence made him the focal point of the band.[1][3] Initially known for their New Wave/ska/pop style, they later developed a harder pub rock style,[1] including funk and dance elements.

INXS achieved international success with a series of hit recordings through the 1980s and 1990s, including the albums Listen Like Thieves, Kick, X and Welcome to Wherever You Are and the singles "Original Sin", "Need You Tonight", "Devil Inside" and "New Sensation".[4][5][6][7]

Hutchence died in 1997 and INXS did not perform publicly for a year.[1] The band made appearances with several guest singers including Jimmy Barnes, Terence Trent D'Arby, and Jon Stevens; Stevens formally joined the band for a tour and recording session in 2002.[2] In 2005, members of INXS participated in a reality television series, broadcast worldwide, culminating in the selection of their new lead singer, Canadian J. D. Fortune, and the release of "Pretty Vegas" and "Afterglow" as singles, and its album Switch.[7][6][8]

INXS has won six Australian Recording Industry Association awards including three for 'Best Group' in 1987, 1989 and 1992[9], and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001.[10][11] To date INXS have sold more than 30 million records.


Early years

The origins of the band began with Andrew Farriss convincing his fellow Davidson High School classmate, Michael Hutchence, to join his band, Doctor Dolphin.[12] The band contained two other classmates, Kent Kerny and Neil Sanders and a bass player, Garry Beers and Geoff Kennely, from a nearby high school, Forest High School.[12] In 1977, Tim Farriss, Andrew's older brother, invited Andrew, Hutchence and Beers to join him and his schoolmate Kirk Pengilly. Tim and Pengilly had been playing together since 1971 as either an acoustic duo or as a four-piece band called Guinness[12] (named after their bass player's dog[13]). Together with younger brother Jon Farriss they formed the Farriss Brothers, who consisted of Garry Beers on bass guitar, Andrew Farriss on keyboards, Jon Farriss on drums, Tim Farriss on lead guitar, Geoff Kennelly on Drums, Michael Hutchence on lead vocals and Kirk Pengilly on guitar and saxophone.[1][3][14][15] The band made their debut on 16 August 1977 at Whale Beach,[16] 40 km (25 mi) north of Sydney. Andrew Farriss remembers:

I thought the show went really well, but I think my dad summed it up the next day: 'Great show, but everyone was asleep when we left.' I think everyone might have been stoned.—Andrew Farriss

The parents of the Farriss boys relocated to Perth, Western Australia in 1978, taking Jon to continue his schooling and, as soon as Hutchence and Andrew finished school, the rest of the band followed.[2][16] They briefly performed as The Vegetables, singing "We Are the Vegetables", before returning to Sydney ten months later,[16] where they recorded a set of demos.[12] At a chance meeting in the car park of the Narabeen Antler, a pub in North Narrabeen. Tim was approached by Gary Morris, the manager of Midnight Oil.[12]

I remember him coming up to me and saying 'Who are you working for, mate?' and I kind of went, 'Oh, we have this band and we're called The Farriss Brothers'. He offered to give us some work supporting Midnight Oil on the spot.—Tim Farriss

The band began to regularly support Midnight Oil and other local bands. Morris advised that a member of the Oils crew had come up with a new name and suggested they change it to INXS.[12] The name INXS was inspired by English band XTC and Australian jam makers IXL.[2][16]

"I saw a commercial for a brand of jam called IXL. Their ad featured a guy who said, 'I excel in all I do.' I'd recently seen the English band XTC when they toured Australia, and I loved their name: XTC - Ecstasy. In that moment, I put all those thoughts together. The name needed to be letters, but make a word. I put the IXL jam commercial together with XTC and the concept of a band that was inaccessible and I had it: INXS—Gary Morris

Pengilly explained that Morris had some other ideas:

Gary [Morris] was a great marketer, and I think he also had this idea of us being 'inaccessible'. He said we could be on stage in a cage of lights. It was a mystery thing ... He told us that unless we wanted to change our ways and become the world's biggest Christian band, he could no longer manage us ... He wanted us to write songs about Christ and to promote a drug-and-alcohol-free and no-sex-before-marriage, proper Christian lifestyle. He was very convincing and for a moment I think we might have done it. Then he got on to strange terrain.—Kirk Pengilly

We thought that would be a bit much - but it was a good name.—Tim Farriss

The band's first performance as INXS was on 1 September 1979 at the Oceanview Hotel in Umina, New South Wales[17] and by the end of 1979, after passing on the Christian band image, they hired Chris Murphy as their manager and continued taking on the Oz pub circuit.[2][13][16][18]

The night Morris offered them to me, I told him I'd take them midway through their third song. I stood there thinking, "This is pretty funky.' This kid up front is pretty weird. This band plays really, really well ... What Morris didn't realise was that I only intended to take them on as their booking agent. I didn't want to be their manager.—Chris Murphy

Murphy was an adept business manager and negotiator. By early 1980 the band had signed a five-album record deal with a Sydney independent label, Deluxe Records, run by Michael Browning, a former manager of AC/DC.[1][2][12]


From "Simple Simon" to Shabooh Shoobah

INXS released their first single, "Simple Simon"/"We Are the Vegetables", in Australia and France in May 1980.[1][13][19] The single had its debut TV performance on Simon Townsend's Wonder World.[16] Their self-titled debut album, INXS, was recorded at Trafalgar Studios in Annandale, Sydney, it was co-produced by the band and Duncan McGuire (ex-Ayers Rock), with all songs attributed to the entire band, at the insistence of Murphy.[12][13] Deluxe gave them a budget of $10,000 to record the album, so to keep within the budget they had to record from midnight to dawn, usually after doing one or more performances earlier that night.[13] The album was released in October 1980. It featured "Just Keep Walking" which was their first Australian Top 40 single,[1][4] with the album peaking in the Top 30 of the Kent Music Report for Australian albums.[1][3][4] The album eventually went gold (selling over 35,000 units) but it took a number of years to do so.[12]

I'm not a great fan of the first album. It's naïve and kinda cute, almost. It's these young guys struggling for a sound. All I can hear is what was going to happen later and it's probably an interesting album because of that. "Just Keep Walking" was the first time we thought we'd written a song. And that became an anthem around town. It's funny, I remember kids in pubs saying it and hearing it on the radio the first time. We'd never heard that before.—Michael Hutchence

These early records demonstrated their New Wave/ska/pop style, and were followed by near constant touring with almost 300 shows during 1981 as the band developed their status as a live act.[1][2]

After a year of playing pub gigs, I made sure that INXS only did tours, whether it was just a few cities or across the whole of Australia. We choose a theme, made posters, printed T-shirts, and gave it a mood that created excitement. It made an INXS show into an event, not just another pub gig.—Chris Murphy

In 1981, they signed Gary Grant as their tour manager, who then became co-manager a year later.[12] Between touring commitments, the band released their third single in May 1981, "The Loved One", which was a cover of a 1966 song by Australian group The Loved Ones. The song was recorded at Studios 301 in Sydney,[12] produced by Richard Clapton,[3] and peaked in the Top 20.[1][4][19]

Richard had never produced before and wasn't sure if he wanted to. I didn't care; I knew his songwriting capabilities would be a good influence to give INXS more structure. In the early days the band would jam in rehearsal until a song just happened. Then they'd stand in front of an audience and play that song and see whether or not the audience jumped around. Then they'd go back and chop it up until it worked. And if it continued to work live, they'd go and record it.—Chris Murphy

The success of the single led to Clapton and the band returning to Studio s 301 between July and August 1981 to create an album. In October 1981, their second album Underneath the Colours was released and became a hit in Australia peaking at #15.[4][20]

I was completely enamored with them. I really thought that they could become one of the biggest bands in the world, completely out of nowhere. I mean, at that point, they didn't even have an audience.—Richard Clapton

Most of the songs on
Underneath the Colours
were written in a relatively short space of time. Most bands shudder at the prospect of having 20 years to write their first album and four days to write their second. For us, though, it was good. It left less room for us to go off on all sorts of tangents.—Michael Hutchence

Soon after recording sessions had finished, band members started work on outside projects. Beers, Jon and Andrew Farriss played on Clapton's solo album, The Great Escape. Hutchence recorded "Speed Kills", written by Don Walker of Cold Chisel for the soundtrack of the film Freedom directed by Scott Hicks. It was his first solo single and was released by WEA in early 1982.[12] In January, INXS toured New Zealand as support act for Cold Chisel. Band manager, Murphy, became convinced their future no longer lay with Deluxe Records, who had been unable to attract international interest, and decided to record a new song, "The One Thing" at their own expense, with Mark Opitz at Paradise Studios.[12] The song turned out so well that Murphy hired Opitz to produce three more songs.[13] Murphy approached WEA Australia with copies of the song, leading to INXS signing a recording deal in July 1982 with WEA for releases in Australia, South East Asia, Japan and New Zealand, Atco Records (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records) for North America and Polygram for Europe and the UK.[1][2][3][12]

INXS got signed not because some A&R guy thought we'd sell a lot of records, but because we sold out so many venues.—Tim Farriss

Murphy and the band weren't entirely convinced that Opitz could produce an entire album that would attract international interest so prior to recording their third album Pengilly, Hutchence and Andrew Farriss visited the UK and USA, with a view to selecting a suitable producer, only to find that no-one they wanted was available and that most people advised them that Opitz's work on their single was as good as they could wish for.[12]

said to us, 'I love your music and I would definitely work with you guys, but I don't have any ideas better than the guy who recorded these for you. The best advice I have for you is to go back to Australia and record the whole album with him.—Kirk Pengilly

In mid-1982, they commenced recording at Rhinoceros Studios, with Opitz.[3]

Mark was the first producer that was able to capture some glimmer of what the band felt it was like live. Prior to us, Mark had done bands like
. Big guitar sounds, mighty drum beats.—Tim Farriss

In October 1982, Shabooh Shoobah was released internationally on Atlantic/Atco Records, peaking at #52 on the US Billboard 200 and #46 on the Hot Pop Albums chart.[7][8] In Australia it peaked at #5 and remained in the albums charts for 94 weeks.[4] The single "The One Thing" brought them their first Top 30 hit in United States peaking at #30 on 28 May 1983[21], it was a Top 20 hit in Canada,[6] and peaked at #14 in Australia on 23 August 1982.[4]"One Thing" was their first video to air on the fledgling MTV and siginficantly added to the ultimate success of the single.[13] INXS undertook their first US performance in San Diego in March, 1983, to a crowd of 24 patrons.[12] Their first tour was as support for Adam and the Ants, then support for Stray Cats, The Kinks,[1], Hall & Oates followed by The Go-Go's.[12][13] INXS played alongside many of their contemporaries on New Wave Day in May 1983, at the US Festival in Devore, California.[22] It was during this time that Grant, their co-manager, relocated permanently to New York to ensure a continual presence in the northern hemisphere.[12] The band remained on the road in the US for most of the year, including support for Men at Work and by mid-1983 were headlining venues such as The Ritz in New York.[12]

From "Original Sin" to Listen Like Thieves

Following a performance in Toronto, Canada, the band was approached by producer Nile Rodgers, and by September 1983, recorded "Original Sin", originally titled "Brand New Day", at New York's Power Station Studios.

We were fresh off the road. So we had the basic song completed and we'd been playing it live in the set. He was talking to us through the headphones, kind of saying things that were meant to encourage us, and we figured he was just getting levels and stuff on the whole band playing together, but after we'd run it down a couple of times he said 'OK, come in and have a listen'. We went in and the control room was sort of full of people dancing. Apart from adding background vocals and the sax solo, we were finished. We didn't even know he was recording.—Andrew Farriss

Three tracks from Shabooh Shoobah were featured in the soundtrack for the 1984 film Reckless.[23] The band then travelled to the UK to begin sessions on their fourth album with Nick Launay at the Manor Studios in Oxford.

Nick was always going to be the main production force behind
The Swing
. We had a really genuine interest in the stuff that he had done and we knew he was the right guy for us at the time. It was funny, actually, because we arrived at the Manor, which is up in Oxford, and we basically walked in and said, 'Nick, we've recorded one song for the album'. And he was like, 'Oh yeah, where did you do that?' And we said, 'New York.' "Who'd you do it with?' 'Nile Rodgers.' And his face just went white because he was a major Nile Rodgers fan himself. So he said 'Well, 'suppose we'd better listen to it', and we put it on and he was just blown away. I think that started poor old Nick off on a bit of a -- he wasn't as secure and confident as he probably would have been.—Andrew Farriss

The album The Swing released in April 1984,[3] received more significant attention from around the world, as "Original Sin" became their first #1 single and was a highly popular song worldwide with fans and reviewers.[24] During 1984 it was #1 in Australia (for two weeks in January)[4] as well as in Argentina and France, #6 in New Zealand, #11 in Canada, #23 in Switzerland,[25] #31 in the Netherlands and #58 in the U.S.[6] Yet "Original Sin" was largely ignored in the UK, where INXS was described in New Musical Express as a "depressingly definitive example of excruciating, boring, incredibly unimaginative MTV rock",[1][26][27] and INXS didn't have any Top 50 chart success until the 1985 album Listen Like Thieves.[28]

During 1984, INXS toured non-stop performing across Europe, the UK, the US and Australia and by December 1984, The Swing, was double platinum, making it, at the time, one of the five biggest domestic albums in the history of Australian music.[12] In March 1985 the band re-entered Sydney's Rhinoceros Studios to record their next album, together with producer Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols, Pink Floyd, The Pretenders, Elton John).

Chris was one of the most talented, most eccentric and demanding people you'd ever want to meet. ...from the moment you walked into the control room, there was no doubt you were in the presence of greatness. INXS met their match with Chris Thomas. He was the only producer they've ever had who told them what they needed to hear.—Richard Clapton

This is what we've been trying to do one way or another for a few years now, that is to make an album that is purely just form and function of the songs. It has no artistic pretentions.—Michael Hutchence

As the band were finishing the recording sessions, Thomas told the band that the album was not good enough and still had no “killer” track:

We'd already finished the Listen Like Thieves album but Chris Thomas told us there was still no 'hit'. We left the studio that night knowing we had one day left and we had to deliver "a hit". Talk about pressure.—Andrew Farriss

Andrew produced a demo tape of a funk song he had been working on "Funk Song No. 13" and evolved it into "What You Need".

Then Andrew brought in three demos – two songs that had been completed and he played me a thing that was just this riff – dink, dink, dink-a-dink-and it was great. I thought, 'I could listen to that groove for ten minutes!' I said, 'Let's work with that groove.' So we went with that and in just two days it turned into the song that eventually broke them, "What You Need".—Chris Thomas

We wrote it on Saturday, rehearsed it on Sunday and recorded it on Monday.

Whilst the band was recording, WEA released Dekadance, a limited edition cassette only EP of INXS remixes from their album The Swing.[3]

On 19 May 1985, INXS won seven awards at the 1984 Countdown Music and Video Awards ceremony.[1] They performed "Burn for You", dressed in Akubras (hats) and Drizabones (outdoor coats/oilskin jackets). They performed five songs for the July 1985 Oz for Africa concert, in conjunction with the Live Aid benefit.[29] Two INXS songs, "What You Need" and "Don't Change", were also in the BBC broadcast and are contained on Live Aid's four DVD boxed set released in 2004.[30]

INXS had started out as a New Wave act, gradually moved in a more straight-ahead rock-oriented direction through the first half of the 1980s.[31] Listen Like Thieves was released in October 1985,[3] was approved of by critics[32], reaching #3 on the Australian charts and #11 on the US charts. With the release of Listen Like Thieves, the band had developed a rock sound influenced by Led Zeppelin and XTC, but remained true to the band's original roots in Aussie pubs. It was also the first album to feature songs written by a combination of band members, with Andrew Farris and Hutchence becoming the primary songwriters in the years to follow.[13] The first US single from the album, "This Time", stalled at #81 in late 1985, but the next single, "What You Need", released there in early 1986, became a top five Billboard hit,[6] bringing INXS their first breakout US success. The single was also a top 20 hit in Canada, reached #2 in Australia (September 1985)[4] but only #51 on the UK charts.[28]

The British press dismissed the album, with New Musical Express calling the band 'INX-cusable' and a reviewer declaring Listen Like Thieves to be a 'complete and utter turkey'.[12] In the United States however Rolling Stone Magazine wrote "INXS rocks with passion and seals the deal with a backbeat that'll blackmail your feet."[32]

In August 1985, they toured ahead of the album's release, before touring South America before returning to Melbourne to play for Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Wales at a concert in Australia, it was filmed and later released on home video entitled Living INXS[33], an edited version of the concert was played on MTV in the US in 1985 on their Saturday night concert series. In November, December, January, and February INXS toured North America, Europe, and New Zealand. The band then took a two month break, with Andrew Farriss writing and producing "You're Gonna Get Hurt" for Jenny Morris (who had previously been a backing vocalist with the band[34]), and Hutchence featuring in Richard Lowenstein's second feature film Dogs in Space.[35] Lowenstein had previously made the video clip for "Dancing on the Jetty". Whilst a song from the movie, "Rooms for the Memory", written by Ollie Olsen, with vocals by Hutchence[36] charted, the movie was received well by critics but was not a commercial success.

In May 1986, the band returned to the United States and over the next six months performed 32 European shows, including support for Queen at their Live at Wembley '86 concert on July 12th, 42 US shows and 12 Australian shows. America's influential Musician magazine calling them "the best live band in the world."[12]

From "Good Times" to Kick

Whilst supposedly taking an eight month break before commencing work on a new album, their manager Murphy decided to stage a series of major outdoor concerts across Australia, featuring INXS, Jimmy Barnes, Models, The Divinyls, Mental as Anything, The Triffids and I'm Talking.[16] To promote the tour INXS recorded two songs with Jimmy Barnes of Cold Chisel: The Easybeats cover "Good Times" and "Laying Down the Law" which Barnes co-wrote with Beers, Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, Hutchence and Pengilly.[37] "Good Times" was used as the theme song for the Australian Made series of concerts in the summer of 1986–1987.[16] It peaked at #2 on the Australian charts,[4] and months later was featured in the Joel Schumacher film The Lost Boys and its soundtrack,[38][39] allowing it to peak at #47 in the US on 1 August 1987.[6][21]

After the success of "What You Need" and Listen Like Thieves, the band knew their new material would have to be even better, according to Pengilly,

We wanted an album where all the songs were possible singles.—Kirk Pengilly

They recorded Kick in Sydney and Paris, it was produced by Thomas again,[3] but Atlantic Records was not happy with the result, as manager Chris Murphy remembers:

They hated it, absolutely hated it. They said there was no way they could get this music on rock radio. They said it was suited for black radio, but they didn't want to promote it that way. The president of the label told me that he'd give us $1 million to go back to Australia and make another album.—Chris Murphy

Despite Atlantic's protests, Kick was released in October 1987 and provided the band with worldwide popularity, it peaked at #1 in Australia,[4] #3 on the US Billboard 200,[8] #9 in UK,[28] and #15 in Austria.[40] It was an upbeat, confident album that yielded four Top 10 US singles, "New Sensation", "Never Tear Us Apart", "Devil Inside" and #1 "Need You Tonight".[6] "Need You Tonight" peaked #2 on the UK charts,[28] #3 in Australia,[4] and #10 in France.[41] They toured heavily behind the album throughout 1987 and 1988. The video for the 1987 INXS track "Mediate" (which played after the video for "Need You Tonight") replicated the format of Bob Dylan's video for "Subterranean Homesick Blues", even in its use of apparently deliberate errors. In September 1988 the band swept the MTV Video Music Awards with the video for "Need You Tonight/Mediate" winning in 5 categories.[42]

During 1989, Hutchence collaborated with Ian 'Ollie' Olsen on a side project, Max Q,[1] the two had previously worked together on Lowenstein's film Dogs in Space. The rest of the band also took a break to work on side projects, but soon returned to the studio to record their follow-up album to Kick.

1990 to 1997: from X to Elegantly Wasted

In October 1990, INXS released X which was produced by Thomas again and it peaked at #3 in Australia,[5] #5 in the US,[8] #2 in the UK,[28] #5 in Switzerland and #10 in Sweden.[7][43] It followed in the same vein as Kick, and added harmonica to some songs. X scored hits with "Suicide Blonde" and "Disappear" (both Top 10 in the US),[6] "Suicide Blonde" peaked at #2 in Australia, #11 in the UK[28] and in Switzerland.[44] Other singles from X were "Bitter Tears" and "By My Side" but they had less chart success.[1]

Hutchence's romance with Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue brought the group a new audience of fans.[1][45] INXS performed at Wembley Stadium on 13 July 1991, during their "Summer XS" tour stop in London to a sold out audience of 74,000 fans.[1] This performance was recorded and filmed to become their live album Live Baby Live (a video version was also released under the same title), which was released in November 1991 and peaked in the Top 30 in both Australia and UK album charts,[5][28] but had less success on The Billboard 200.[8]

On 28 March 1992 INXS performed at the controversial 'Concert for Life' at Centennial Park in Sydney (a fund raiser for the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Centre), together with Crowded House, Yothu Yindi, Jenny Morris, Diesel, Ratcat and Def FX. Due to inclement weather the expected attendance of 100,000 never came through and the event only raising $500,000.[46]

Welcome to Wherever You Are, produced by Mark Opitz and released in August 1992,[3] was an experimental album using sitars and a 60-piece orchestra while adding a much more "raw" sound to their music. It received good critical reviews and went #1 in the UK[28] and in Sweden;[47] #2 in Australia and Switzerland,[47] and #3 in Norway,[47] but had less chart success in the US peaking at #16.[8] Singles from the album included, "Taste It" and "Baby Don't Cry" which were Top 20 successes in UK but had less success in US or Australian markets.[5][6][28]

Full Moon, Dirty Hearts', produced by Opitz again, was released in November 1993 and peaked at #3 on the UK charts,[28] #4 in Australia,[5] #8 in Sweden,[48] #9 in Switzerland,[48] #14 in Norway,[48] but did not reach the Top 50 in the US.[8] The title track featured The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde and another track, "Please (You Got That)", featured Ray Charles. The band made a full video album for the record using unknown Australian students to direct with help by Richard Lowenstein. Full Moon, Dirty Hearts received mixed reviews and was the last record under INXS' contract with Atlantic. The band took time off to rest and be with their families, while Hutchence remained in the public eye through modelling and film acting.[1]

In 1997, the group released a comeback album titled Elegantly Wasted, which garnered mixed reviews. It fared respectably in Australia (#14),[5][49] Canada (#14),[8] France (#30),[49] UK (#16)[28] (where INXS had ironically more success in the 1990s than in the 1980s), Belgium (#7),[49] Switzerland (#13),[49] but only #41 in US.[8]

On 22 November 1997, Hutchence was found dead in his Sydney Ritz-Carlton hotel room.[50] On 6 February 1998, after an autopsy and coronial inquest, New South Wales State Coroner, Derrick Hand, presented his report which ruled that Hutchence's death was a suicide while depressed and under the influence of drugs and alcohol.[50][51][52] Despite the official coroner's report, fans and relatives considered his death accidental.[53][54][55]

1997 to 2003: transitional years

After Hutchence's death, INXS did not perform publicly for almost a year and then only made a few one-off performances with different guest singers until 2000.[2] On 28 November 1998, they played at the Mushroom 25 Concert with Jimmy Barnes fronting for two songs: "The Loved One" and "Good Times".[2][17] On 12 June 1999, they headlined the opening of Stadium Australia in Sydney, with US singer-songwriter Terence Trent D'Arby as guest vocalist, they performed "New Sensation", "Kick", "Never Tear Us Apart" and "What You Need".[2][17]

Former lead singer of Australian band Noiseworks, Jon Stevens began singing with INXS in May 2000.[2] They played as one of the headline acts at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and then toured through South America and Europe.[17] Stevens was officially named a member of INXS in 2002 and they started recording new material in November.[2] Stevens left in October 2003 to pursue a solo career,[2] only recording a contractual obligation song called "I Get Up", it was not officially released as a charting single due to it being part of the game EA Sports Rugby 2004 this does not constitute a charting single. All sales of this single were not tallied in comparison to the ARIA charts of the time. The song was used in the Rugby Union World Cup 2003 and the EA Sports Rugby 2004 video game.

2004 to 2005: Rock Star: INXS

INXS returned to the news in 2004, when it was announced that a new reality television program titled Rock Star: INXS would feature a contest to find a new lead vocalist for the band. The show, which had its debut on the CBS network 11 July 2005, (on Global in Canada, VH1 in the UK and FOX8 in Australia), featured 15 contestants vying for the position of lead singer. The show was executive produced by Survivor's Mark Burnett and hosted by Brooke Burke and former Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro.

On 20 September 2005, J. D. Fortune (born Jason Dean Bennison, but uses his mother's maiden name) of Salt Springs, Nova Scotia, Canada won the eleven-week competition, which culminated in his singing the Rolling Stones's "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and INXS' "What You Need" in the finale of the show to become the new lead singer of INXS. With Fortune they recorded their 2005 album, Switch produced by Guy Chambers and went on a world tour in 2006. Runner-up Marty Casey was the opening act during the first leg of the tour, along with his band, The Lovehammers.[56]

During the Rock Star: INXS competition, the contestants were challenged to write the lyrics and melody to music written by Andrew Farriss. Originally this challenge was divided up into two teams. When Fortune did not see eye-to-eye with his team (that included Casey), he decided to venture out on his own and write his own lyrics. At first Fortune's move seemed to have doomed his chances to win the competition (because it was perceived he couldn't work in a team), but it was this move that resulted in his creation of the lyrics to "Pretty Vegas". This song became a favourite of both fans and INXS and played a major role in Fortune being able to win the competition [citation needed]. "Pretty Vegas" was released 4 October 2005 and reached #5 on the iTunes Store ranking of top downloaded songs on its first day, it peaked at #9 in Australia,[5] #37 on the Billboard Hot 100,[6] and became a huge radio airplay hit (going platinum and reaching number one) in Fortune's native Canada.

2005 to 2008 Reworked line up JD Fortune era

On 29 November 2005, the band's first album with Fortune as lead singer, entitled Switch, was released in the United States via Epic Records. The new lineup started touring in support of Switch in January 2006. Fortune revealed he was working on material for the next INXS album after Switch,[57] but it would turn out that Fortune would not participate in INXS's next album, and Fortune's songs would later appear on his solo album.

In September 2006, the band and Epic Records parted ways.[58]

INXS toured Australia and New Zealand in March 2007, with Simple Minds and support band Arrested Development.[59] After the cancellation of a 31 August 2007 show in Cleveland, Ohio, INXS placed a statement on their website stating "Due to ongoing medical issues with Garry Beers' hand, the band's doctor has urged the band to not play more than three shows in a row or risk permanent damage to Garry's hand."[60]

2009 to present

The band is once again without a frontman. The band signed with Petrol Records in December 2008, reuniting them with former manager Chris Murphy.[61] The band was preparing to enter the studio in March 2009 to record a new project without a singer.[62]

On 16 February 2009, J. D. Fortune revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada that INXS let him go from the band with a shake of the hand at an airport in Hong Kong.[63] Fortune admits to becoming addicted to cocaine during his stint with the band.[64]

On 23 February 2009, Chris Murphy, INXS creative director and global business strategist and former manager, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, said J. D. was not sacked and, in fact, "the band made it known to him that they had not ruled out seeing a return by Fortune." He also states JD was next on his list to call regarding a major recording contract he was negotiating for the band.[65] In an interview with Confidential on March 1, 2009, Murphy stated "The whole thing has been bizarre - he was basically a contractor and his contract had ended." [62] Speaking with Billboard, Murphy stated that he would rather part ways with the band than work with Fortune. "If the band said to me tomorrow, 'We'd still like you to make that call and talk to him about working on a project,' I'd have to say 'Sorry, I have to go.'[66]

In an interview with Sun Media published on 6 March 2009, J. D. Fortune clarified his claim that he had been fired at an airport. After returning to Canada from Hong Kong, Fortune believed there were still two more legs of the INXS 2007 tour to complete. When the rest of the tour was cancelled and the band did not return his calls for 10 months, he believed he was out of the band.[67]

The band is currently recording an album in memory of Michael Hutchence. Brandon Flowers of the band The Killers revealed that he recorded the song "Beautiful Girl" with the band.[68]. Rob Thomas from the band Matchbox Twenty recorded the song "Never Tear Us Apart" and "Original Sin" with the band.[69][70] Australian singer-songwriter Vanessa Amorosi has also been reported to have recorded a version of "Devil Inside".[71] Oddly, Ben Harper has also reportedly recorded a version of "Devil Inside".[72] Gabriella Cilmi, Nikka Costa, Tricky, and Eskimo Joe's Kavyen Temperley have recorded tracks for the project, although it is not yet known what songs that have performed on.[72][73] Deborah de Corral is also slated to perform on the album.[72] Patrick Monahan of Train will be recording an as-yet undecided track. [74] The album is being produced by James Ash of Rogue Traders.[75] C. M. Murphy revealed in November 2009 that the band will release some singles in the early part of 2010, culminating in a new album release in October 2010. [76] Other reports have the album coming out in May 2010. [72]

On 30 November 2009, Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, and Kirk Pengilly performed an acoustic version of Don't Change with the Qantas Choir at the Pride of Australia Awards. [76]

On 8 December 2009, INXS announced they will be embarking on a large scale world tour, commencing with a performance in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.[77] The band announced on 11 February 2010 that J. D. Fortune would be vocalist for the performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics, but it will be a one-off performance with Fortune, and a vocalist for the subsequent world tour has yet to be announced. [78] The band performed at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on 24 February 2010 with guest singers J. D. Fortune and Argentine singer Deborah de Corral.[79]

On April 22, 2010, INXS announced that Fortune would again front the band for a performance on July 10, 2010 at Townsville, QLD, Australia.[80]

Influence and recognition

Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, INXS was a major force in Australian popular music, leading the way into worldwide popularity for several Australian bands. The band worked closely with several other Australian artists, such as Models and ex-patriate New Zealander Jenny Morris, helping to establish their careers. By the mid-nineties, however, their popularity had waned, especially in the US, where their Greatest Hits compilation failed to reach the Top 100. At the 1996 BRIT Awards, Michael Hutchence presented Oasis with an award, after which their lead guitarist Noel Gallagher remarked "Has-beens shouldn't be presenting awards to gonna-bes" INXS was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame on 30 October 2001.[10][11][81] INXS has won six other ARIA Awards including three for 'Best Group' in 1987, 1989 and 1992.[9] The band has also received three Grammy nominations over their 30-year career. In 2007, The Farriss Brothers were inducted into the West Australian Music Industry Awards Hall of Fame. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), INXS have sold 15 million units in the United States alone, making them the third-highest selling Australian music act in the United States, behind AC/DC and The Bee Gees.[82]

Featured in

In 2002 in America, McDonald's and Toyota used "New Sensation" for a promo campaign. "New Sensation" also was featured in the 2003 movie Shattered Glass It is also currently in a sofa advert in the UK. "What You Need" featured in a Chevy trucks advertising campaign. In Australia, "By My Side" has been used by NRMA Insurance on and off for eight years. "The One Thing" is featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories under the fictional radio station Flash FM.

TypeTitleSongMovieReckless"The One Thing" [83]MovieReckless"To Look At You" [83]MovieThe Lost Boys"Good Times" [83]MovieReckless"Soul Mistake" [83]MovieBeverly Hills Cop III"Keep The Peace" [84]MovieDonnie Darko (director's cut)"Never Tear Us Apart"Movie40 Days and 40 Nights"New Sensation"MovieCoyote Ugly"Need You Tonight"MovieCrocodile Dundee"Different World"MovieFace/Off"Don't Lose Your Head"MovieHysterical Blindness"What You Need"MovieIn The Land Of Women"Beautiful Girl"MovieMystery Date"Disappear"MovieMystery Date"On My Way"MovieMystery Date"Suicide Blonde"MoviePretty in Pink"Do Wot You Do"MovieShattered Glass"New Sensation"MovieRock Star"Devil Inside"MovieDrop Zone"Strangest Party (These Are The Times)"MovieTowelhead"New Sensation"MovieAdventureland"Don't Change"MovieYoung Guns 3"Don't Change"MovieHot Tub Time Machine"What You Need"AdChevy Trucks"What You Need"AdNRMA Insurance"By My Side"AdMcDonalds"New Sensation"AdToyota"New Sensation"GameGrand Theft Auto: Vice City"Kiss the Dirt"GameGrand Theft Auto: Vice City"The One Thing"GameName That Tune Eighties"Need You Tonight"GameName That Tune Eighties"New Sensation"GameName That Tune Eighties"Never Tear Us Apart"GameName That Tune Eighties"What You Need"


For a complete discography, see INXS discography.[1][4][5]


Listed chronologically:[1][2][3]

On tour/special performances:

Awards and nominations

INXS has won and been nominated for numerous music awards. These include ARIA Awards,[9] Grammys,[85], MTV Awards.[85]

ARIA Awards

INXS has won seven Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards.[9] The band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001 alongside The Saints.[10][81] This induction recognised their achievement of a "significant body of recorded work" and that they "had a cultural impact within Australia".[81] INXS has won six other ARIA Awards including three for 'Best Group' in 1987, 1989 and 1992.[9]

YearNominated workAwardResult1987INXSBest GroupWon1989INXSOutstanding AchievementWon"Never Tear Us Apart"[nb 1]Best VideoWonINXSBest GroupWon1992Live Baby LiveBest GroupWon1993"Baby Don't Cry", "Heaven Sent", "Taste It"[nb 2]Engineer of the YearNominatedWelcome to Wherever You AreBest GroupNominated1994"The Gift"[nb 3]Best VideoWonFull Moon, Dirty HeartsBest GroupNominated2001INXSHall of FameWon2004I'm Only LookingBest Music DVDNominated

Countdown Awards

Countdown was an Australian pop music TV series on national broadcaster ABC-TV from 1974–1987, it presented music awards from 1979–1987, initially in conjunction with magazine TV Week but then independently.[89] The Countdown Music and Video Awards were succeeded by the ARIA Awards.[89] INXS won seven awards at the 1984 awards ceremony,[1] which was broadcast on 25 May 1985.[90] On 20 April 1986 they won three further Countdown awards for 1985.[91]

YearNominated workAwardResult1980INXSJohnny O'Keefe New Talent[92]Nominated1984"Burn for You"Best Group Performance in a Video[90]WonThe SwingBest Album[90]WonINXSMost Popular Australian Group[90]WonAndrew Farriss, Michael HutchenceBest Songwriter[90]Won"Burn for You"[nb 4]Best Promotional Video[90]WonINXSMost Outstanding Achievement[90]WonMichael HutchenceMost Popular Male[90]Won1985"What You Need"[nb 5]Best Video[91]WonINXSMost Popular Australian Group[91]WonINXSMost Outstanding Achievement[91]Won

Grammy Awards

INXS received two nominations for 'Rock Vocal Group' at the Grammys.[85]

YearNominated workAwardResult1988KickRock Vocal GroupNominated1990"Suicide Blonde"Rock Vocal GroupNominated

MTV Video Music Awards

INXS won five MTV Video Music Awards for their 1988 song "Need You Tonight".[85]

YearNominated workAwardResult1986"What You Need"Best Group VideoNominated1988"Need You Tonight"Viewer's ChoiceWon"Need You Tonight"Video of the YearWon"Need You Tonight"Best Special EffectsNominated"Need You Tonight"Best Group VideoWon"Need You Tonight"Best Concept VideoNominated"Need You Tonight"Best Art DirectionNominated"Need You Tonight"Best EditingWon"Need You Tonight"Best Breakthrough VideoWon"Devil Inside"Best EditingNominated1989"New Sensation"Best Art DirectionNominated

Brit Awards

YearNominated workAwardResult1989INXSBest International Group[93]Nominated1991INXSBest International Group[94]Won1992INXSBest International Group[95]Nominated

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