From humble beginnings on the pub music scene in Australia to one of the most iconic stadium bands of the 80s and early 90s, INXS has an absolute raft of great songs spanning two decades.
However, that all changed with the tragic descent and eventual suicide of their lead singer Michael Hutchence in 1997. Before that, INXS was one of the most successful singles bands of the era. And Hutchence was the Jagger of his time.
Their uncanny knack for crafting perfectly engineered and incredibly catchy Pop-Rock songs meant hit after hit followed. Let’s take a trip down memory lane with our list of the Top 45 INXS songs. I haven’t ranked them but rather placed them in chronological order. So, let’s enjoy the best INXS songs of all time, shall we?
Top 45 INXS Songs
Don’t Change (1982)
Before their musical style took a new direction in the mid to late-80s, INXS was more of a straight-up Rock band. They got their start in the Aussie pub music scene. “Don’t Change” from the 1982 album Shabooh Shoobah was the band’s first song that felt like a real Rock anthem.
The song starts slowly with a bit of light keyboard action before exploding into action thirty seconds in. It’s pedal to the metal from there for this high-octane 80s Rock classic. The boys let rip, and the result is pure unadulterated joy.
The song was a success for the band peaking at #14 on the Australian singles chart. It was also the band’s first international hit making it onto the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock charts at #8.
Original Sin (1984)
Here is INXS’s breakout hit song. However, it generated controversy for its thought-provoking lyrics. Musically, it’s catchy. But it’s the song’s powerful message and emotional overtones that make it so memorable and impactful.
The chorus, “Dream on black boy – Dream on white girl,” demonstrated lead singer Michael Hutchence’s clear intent on making a brave statement. Quite a departure from the band’s previous apolitical style. That said, the song remains relevant and serves as a testament to Hutchence’s bravery as a songwriter.
Nile Rodgers of Chic fame worked as a producer on this song, and you can hear his funky dance groove all over this one. “Original Sin” was the first release from The Swing, the band’s fourth studio album. It became their first #1 hit in their native Australia and broke into the Top 40 in multiple countries.
What You Need (1985)
This is one of the most memorable INXS songs. It boasts an irresistibly catchy tune whilst staying true to INXS’s Rock style. Hutchence’s powerful lyrics, accompanied by Pengilly’s saxophone, leave us in awe of his captivating presence. The uplifting nature of the song instills a sense of hope, suggesting that our struggles will soon come to an end.
Once again, each band member contributes unique energy to the song, coming together to create an orchestral-like sound. The song played a key role in the band’s breakthrough in the US. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 in Australia.
Taken from their 1985 studio album, Listen Like Thieves, “What You Need” was the only real big hit from that album. But, it kept the momentum going that the band had gained from hits like “Original Sin” the previous year.
Need You Tonight (1987)
The first single released from the remarkable album Kick. This was the track that put the band on the road to superstardom. It also signified experimenting with a more electronic sound, utilizing sequencers and drum tracks. This approach doesn’t often work for Rock bands; think U2 or Coldplay. But INXS pulled it off effortlessly in “Need You Tonight.”
If there was one song that established Michael Hutchence as an international sex symbol, this was it. This song is dripping with irresistible sexuality throughout, reaching Prince levels of carnality.
The melody for “Need You Tonight” was scrawled down in a hurry as Andrew Farriss kept a taxi waiting in Hong Kong. He wanted to write it down before he forgot. Fortunately, he did, because this song became the catalyst for the band’s worldwide success. It was a massive hit, reaching the Top 5 in many countries, #2 in the UK singles chart, and giving the band their only #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Never Tear Us Apart (1987)
This timeless ballad stands as a testament to the remarkable talent of INXS. “Never Tear Us Apart” is one of those perfectly crafted Pop songs that come along once in a while. Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” is another. From the symphonic arrangement that sets the stage, to the masterful blend of each band member’s abilities, the song is a triumph.
Andrew Farriss showcases his keyboard skills, Tim Farriss delivers a memorable guitar riff, and Pengilly shines with a mesmerizing saxophone solo. All of this is set to an orchestral arrangement that gives the whole song an epic feel.
However, the true star of the song is Hutchence’s emotive and powerful vocals. He immediately captures our attention from the moment he begins singing the very first line. “Never Tear Us Apart” remains one of the most iconic INXS songs and was created at a time when the band was up there with the world’s best.
A New Sensation (1987)
Showcasing their newer sound was this third single from 1987’s Kick. This Funk-infused track opens with force and maintains its intensity throughout.
The instrumentals serve as a backdrop for Hutchence to showcase one of his finest vocal performances. He exudes his signature sexual allure. But he also conveys charisma and defiance through his lyrics, announcing to the world that his band is now the top dog. Hutchence is in full rock star mode here. A new sensation had arrived.
Musically, it’s Funk riffs straight out of the Prince playbook and riotously good fun too. The song was a huge hit for INXS riding as high as #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and scoring #1 in Canada.
The title track from INXS’s 1987 album epitomizes the band’s unique Pop-Rock style. As one of the five top-charting songs from the album, the performance is brimming with energy and showcases the wide array of talent the band had at their disposal.
These include saxophonist Pengilly, guitarist Tim Farriss, and the brass section, who bring the song to a grand level. Lead singer Michael Hutchence’s upbeat chanting quickly captures the listener’s attention, setting the tone for an INXS classic. The lyrics, although not complicated, serve as a catchy chorus that is perfect for a good sing-along.
The song might have been more popular and successful commercially if it had been included in one of the band’s other albums. But it still did well as a single. Overall, the song is a blast and emblematic of the numerous hit tracks INXS created throughout their 20-year music career. For those reasons, it’s one of the Top 45 INXS songs.
This incredibly infectious Rock anthem is often overlooked but is a true gem in INXS’s discography. The music video brilliantly showcases the creative synergy between the songwriters Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss, making their songwriting seem effortless.
The last single from Kick features some of the catchiest piano chords of modern times accompanied by finger snaps, showcasing a band right at the top of their game. Everything comes together beautifully on this track, with each element contributing to the cohesive sound.
For some reason, this song was never released as a single in their native Australia. However, in the UK, it peaked at #14 in the singles chart and was a Top 40 hit elsewhere in Europe and North America.
By My Side (1990)
This track from the X album showcases Michael Hutchence’s lyrics at their most personal. They delve into the struggles faced by the INXS frontman. The song is a haunting tale of the loneliness that stardom can bring, always on the road surrounded by strangers in strange places.
Each word from Hutchence is delivered with raw emotion in this powerful piano ballad. Here is a man who means what he is singing. There’s no faking it here. The chorus is a powerful expression of his yearning, while the band builds to a climactic moment that mirrors his emotional turmoil.
“By My Side” wasn’t one of INXS’s biggest hit songs. That said, it’s the kind of song that was made for live stadium performances. Furthermore, it was also one of the two INXS songs to be played at Hutchence’s funeral.
Suicide Blonde (1990)
Following the tremendous success of Kick, INXS decided to stick with a similar formula for their next album, X. However, the repetition resulted in a lack of creative growth. By late 1990, it could be argued they had reached the peak of their powers and were just on the downside. But, for the time being, they still held a strong position in the music industry.
“Suicide Blonde,” the lead track from X, was a hit that even The Rolling Stones would have envied. The harmonica introduction and powerful vocals set the tone for the rest of the song, with Hutchence’s lyrics grimly foreshadowing the future that was to await him. The driving bass by Beers anchors the entire track.
The song was a worldwide hit making it to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. It also topped the singles charts in Canada and New Zealand.
Burn for You (1984)
Beautiful Girl (1992)
Dancing on the Jetty (1984)
Elegantly Wasted (1997)
Don’t Lose Your Head (1987)
Do Wot You Do (1992)
Faith in Each Other (1992)
Heaven Sent (1992)
I Send a Message (1984)
I’m Just a Man (1993)
In Vain (1992)
Johnson’s Aeroplane (1983)
Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain) (1986)
Live Baby Live (1991)
Melting in the Sun (1984)
Move On (1984)
Never Let You Go (1993)
New Sensation (1987)
One of My Kind (1992)
Perfect Strangers (1987)
Pretty Vegas (2005)
Shine Like it Does (1985)
Spy of Love (1985)
Stay Young (1982)
Strange Desire (1992)
Suicide Blonde (1990)
The Gift (1993)
The Loved One (1980)
The One Thing (1982)
This Time (1991)
To Look at You (1982)
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Top 45 INXS Songs – Final Thoughts
INXS was a legendary Rock band that left a lasting legacy in the music industry. With numerous hit songs and albums, they captured the hearts of millions of fans around the world.
My list of INXS’s Top 45 songs is just a sample of their incredible talent and musical prowess. If you were around at the time, these songs are sure to bring back some golden memories. Likewise, if you are new to the band, then a world of discovery awaits. So, let us know what you think of our selection in the comments, and thanks for reading.
Until next time, happy listening.