10 songs about Michael Hutchence
Anyone who knows me knows all about my fascination with the late lead singer of Australian band INXS. I’m in Facebook groups devoted to his memory, I drink coffee from a custom-made INXS mug daily (thank you, Mister) and I devour all the information I can get my mitts on regarding The Loved One.
It was only recently, though, that I began to realise exactly how many songs have been written about music’s greatest ever frontman (in my book, anyway).
Some are well known, others not so much. Incredibly, I’ve come across no less than 10 tracks created with Michael Hutchence in mind. You may know some, most or even all of them. If you do happen to know of any others, please do comment and I will add them to the list!
Here are 10 songs about Michael Hutchence – from his bandmates, a former girlfriend and one of their biggest, so-called rivals in rock, among others…
The top 10 songs about Michael Hutchence
INXS – God’s Top Ten
The fifth single released from the Switch album is God’s Top Ten, penned by Michael’s mate and co-writer Andrew Farriss. Apparently the band have said that the track was intended as a gift to Tiger, Hutchence’s daughter.
The phrase ‘God’s Top Ten’ also features in Here Comes from Shabooh Shoobah, a song written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence.
Sample lyric: ‘He’s drifting with the stars’
Kylie Minogue – Bittersweet Goodbye
From Kylie’s 2014 album Light Years comes Bittersweet Goodbye, a song written as a final farewell to her former squeeze.
Michael and Kylie were the hottest couple around for a time during the late 80s and early 90s, and she’s never shied away from the fact that Mr H was a huge influence in her life.
Sample lyric: ‘All we have is until the dawn’
Smashing Pumpkins – Shame
It’s said that Billy Corgan wrote Shame as a tribute to Michael Hutchence, as he wondered what he could have said to the star in the times leading up to his untimely demise.
Sample lyric: ‘Hello, goodbye, you know you made us cry’
Berlin – Sacred And Profane
Terri Nunn from Berlin claimed to have been floored by seeing Michael Hutchence perform live, citing it as a life-changing experience that massively influenced her as a performer.
Sample lyric: ‘How do you know me and everything I feel’
U2 – Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
This is possibly the most famous of these songs about Michael Hutchence – and for me it sums it up. The singer did indeed, by all accounts, get caught in a groove that just sucked him down into the lowest end of a downward spiral. With tragic results.
For his part, Bono has said that writing the song took him down this path, and it ended up as a rather angry tirade at his friend for taking his own life. Bono said, though, that this was a more fitting tribute his pal than any ‘soppy’ song could have been.
Sample lyric: ‘I am still enchanted by the light you brought to me’
Andrew Farriss – My Brother
The second song Andrew Farriss wrote specifically for his bandmate has been performed live and dedicated to Michael.
How he actually managed to sing this track is a wonder – the lyrics are pretty emotional.
Sample lyric: ‘There ain’t no rhyme or reason but ya always shine on’
REM – Strange Currencies
This one isn’t strictly about Michael Hutchence, but Michael Stipe of REM was apparently a big fan and said that this tune was hugely influenced by both INXS and their frontman.
Sample lyric: ‘I tripped and fell, did I fall’
Duran Duran – Michael You’ve Got A Lot To Answer For
The album, Medazzaland, that this came from was released only around six weeks before Michael’s death. Simon Le Bon and Michael were friends, and neighbours in the South of France.
Clearly there is concern for Michael’s welfare within the lyrics – along with a hope that in time it all would pass. Alas, that wasn’t the case.
Sample lyric: ‘You got me wakin up wise to the world’
Powderfinger – Private Man
Internationalist – the album this track comes from – was released in 1998, the year after Michael’s passing. In it the Australian band reference the manner of his death, while mourning the fact that he had to fall when things spun so far out of his control.
Sample lyric: ‘I tell you he’s a private man, in a public circumstance’
The Church – This Is It
Fellow Sydneysiders The Church also recorded their tribute in 1998, and just from reading the lyrics it’s crystal clear who the song is about.
Sample lyric: ‘Split-second difference, one tiny percent’
Bonus track: INXS – Afterglow
As someone kindly pointed out to me on one of the INXS and Michael Hutchence Facebook groups I belong to, ‘Afterglow’ was missing from this list – also from Switch by INXS. This one’s about trying to find a way to follow in his footsteps – while, inevitably, living in his shadow.
Sample lyric: ‘I will follow in your afterglow’
Songs about Michael Hutchence | Final thoughts
While I was writing this I read all the lyrics from beginning to end, and what really struck me was the respect and understanding shown by these artists who have all in their way recorded a lasting tribute to one of the greatest lyricists ever.
It was perhaps but a mere moment, but instead of passing – as these things do – he passed. May he rest in peace. Whether he knows it or not, the man lives on. His legacy exists in the form of his music, the many, many lives he touched – and of course his only child.
- Top 10 INXS album covers
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- 10 tracks about Michael Hutchence
- Top ten INXS tunes
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