Best song covers by INXS &/ Michael Hutchence
While there here are numerous live and recorded cover versions of INXS songs by other artists – including the likes of Kylie Minogue, Snow Patrol and Bruce Springsteen, what about the songs they covered themselves?
INXS – and Michael Hutchence alone – did in fact cover a number of tracks that were originally written and performed by other acts. The best known example is a tune from the Kick album that was played at Wembley in 1991, but there are other lesser known ones too.
This post was inspired by discovering an INXS cover of Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water, which was particularly pertinent to me as they are my dad’s all time favourite band. Just as INXS is mine. That one also stood out as I’d only recently written about the Montreux Jazz Festival for a client (I’m a copywriter by trade).
So here they are. 8 of the best song covers by INXS – or Michael Hutchence performing solo.
8 of the best song covers by INXS &/ Michael Hutchence
INXS & Jimmy Barnes – Good Times
Original artist: The Easybeats, 1968
The Kick track aside, this is the most famous cover by INXS and was featured on the film soundtrack for The Lost Boys. Michael Hutchence goes head to head with fellow Aussie icon Jimmy Barnes of Cold Chisel – and both gave a performance worthy of a standing ovation every time.
Michael Hutchence – Baby Let’s Play House
Original artist: Arthur Gunter, 1954; covered by Elvis Presley in 1955
I adore this cover – Michael Hutchence really does Elvis justice here. That growl, those shakin’ hips, those vocals… it’s a swoon-worthy performance for sure. Somehow Elvis is very present, yet Michael makes this version his own.
Michael Hutchence & LSO – Under My Thumb
Original artist: The Rolling Stones, 1966
From taking on an Australian icon or arguably the mightiest musical American of all to accompanying the London Symphony Orchestra. Some of the covers Michael Hutchence performed really showcase his versatility as a vocalist, and this understated version of The Rolling Stones’ Under My Thumb is a classic(al) example.
INXS – Smoke On The Water
Original artist: Deep Purple, 1973
I love this one, as it’s my top band ever covering my dad’s favourite. ‘Proper music’, as he calls it (but of course, we’re no nonsense Northumbrians). The true story behind this song is amazing – the smoke is drifting across Lake Montreux after a flare gun was thrown in the Swiss venue Frank Zappa was playing at the time. Deep Purple were due to begin recording there next, but the fire scuppered those plans.
INXS – Born To Be Wild
Original artist: Steppenwolf, 1968
Another cover of a rock classic here. Appropriate actually, for me – Michael Hutchence was certainly born to be wild, both in terms of his stage presence and his bohemian lifestyle. By all accounts, his daughter seems to be leaning in the same direction (see what I did there? Track from the Listen Like Thieves album?)
Michael Hutchence – The Passenger
Original artist: Iggy Pop, 1977
Michael recorded his version of Iggy Pop’s The Passenger to feature on the Batman Forever soundtrack in 1995. Other artists have also been associated with the song: David Bowie was a producer on the Iggy Pop version, and Siouxsie and the Banshees also recorded a version in 1987 for their album Through The Looking Glass.
INXS – The Loved One
Original artist: The Loved Ones, 1966
The most famous INXS cover of all – though I didn’t realise that until I heard Michael say so on the Live Baby Live album. Among all the songs performed at the phenomenal Wembley gig, this one truly stands out for me. It was seemingly made for the band, who took it to the world via their massively successful 1987 album.
INXS – War
Original artist: The Temptations, 1970 covered by Edwin Starr in 1970, Frankie Goes To Hollywood in 1984 & Bruce Springsteen in 1986
War? What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Too right, Michael, Andrew, Kirk, Jon, Garry and Tim. (Very apt at the time of writing, with what’s going on in Ukraine.)
Which is the best song cover by INXS &/ Michael Hutchence?
Apart from the best-known INXS covers – namely The Loved One and Good Times – the band have been more about their music than other people’s. There are some cracking versions of classics here, though, when they have taken one on.
My personal favourite outside of those big two (both of which I love) is the Elvis cover. You can see the work Michael’s put into perfecting it, and boy has that paid off. In fact I might just have to watch it on YouTube now, just to make sure…
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