Michael Hutchence’s Legacy: 15 Years On

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the death of legendary Aussie band INXS’ lead singer Michael Hutchence, who committed suicide in a Sydney hotel on 22 November 1997. It was a real bloody shame he committed suicide (the autoerotic asphyxiation rumours sound too silly to be true); not only was he was one of the best rock singers ever, but INXS were the best band Australia ever unleashed onto the world. With a voice both rough and sensual at the same time, girls wanted him and guys wanted to be him, and who can blame them, Hutchence was a good looking and charismatic guy.

It’s odd timing, as the remaining members of INXS recently announced they have retired. I had always wanted to see them live, though it probably wouldn’t have been the same without Hutchence (which is unfortunately the opinion the music industry had too, as INXS only released one album of new material after Hutchence died). Oh well.

Despite Hutchence’s death, INXS have had a huge impact on pop culture during the past 30 years. Though many dismiss them as “an ’80s band”, their music still made an impact since that decade of mullets and AIDS.

1. Numerous Cover Versions
There have been many cover versions of INXS’ songs throughout the past 10 or so years. Aussie dance group Rogue Traders did a remix of ‘Need You Tonight’, but renamed the song ‘One Of My Kind’, in 2003. It hit the number 10 position in the ARIA singles charts, and it’s very catchy.

Also in 2003, Grinspoon covered INXS’ early hit ‘Don’t Change’. It’s essentially the same as the original, but with an early ’00s sound to it. While I still definitely prefer INXS’ version, Grinspoon’s attempt wasn’t bad:

But their 2010 album Original Sin is full of cover versions of their hits from huge artists like Rob Thomas and Ben Harper who wanted to pay their respects to a band that inspired them to become musos.

2. Music Featured In Movies
Heaps of movies sets in the ’80s have an INXS song in the soundtrack, especially ‘What You Need’, making it a quintessential ’80s song. Movies like Donnie Darko, Hot Tub Time Machine and Take Me Home Tonight feature INXS hits and are all set in the ’80s. No coincidence there.

3. Music Featured In Grand Theft Auto Games
‘Kiss The Dirt’ and ‘The One Thing’ were featured on the soundtracks of Grand Theft Auto games Vice City and Vice City Stories respectively. These two editions are set in the mid-’80s, the height of INXS’ popularity. The Grand Theft Auto games are renown for their awesome soundtracks as well as their gratuitous violence, and the fact they chose to include not one but two INXS songs speaks volumes about the band’s impact on the music industry in the ’80s.

So whenever you hear either an original or remixed version of an INXS song when clubbing or elsewhere, consider how much impact this band’s had in their 30+ year tenure.

R.I.P. Michael. 22 January 1960 – 22 November 1997.

Originally published here at barsandnightclubs.com.au on Thursday 22 November 2012

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