The iconic Australian rocker committed suicide in 1997
INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence died 22 years ago
Michael Hutchence was born Michael Kelland John Hutchence on January 22nd, 1960 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Hutchence was one of the most iconic and influential singers of the 1980’s and 1990’s. He co-founded INXS in 1977, the band quickly went on to become one of the biggest Rock bands in the world during the 1980’s with songs such as “Original Sin”, “Need You Tonight”, “Never Tear Us Appart”, “Listen Like Thieves” or “Mistify” among many others. Hutchence good looks and seductive vocals earned him the sexiest man in Rock reputation during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, often compared to Jim Morrison. Hutchence was also one of the main composers and lyricists in INXS, he co-wrote several most of the band’s songs and many of their hits. During the early 90’s INXS continued to rise in popularity and produced other hits including “Suicide Blonde”, “Disappear”, “By My Side”, “Heaven Sent”, “Baby Don’t Cry” and “Beautiful Girl”. During this period Hutchence’s increasing drug use started to get noticed by the press and those around him. The singer struggled with drug addiction for several years, also his personal life and relationships were often scavenged by tabloids and press, Hutchence dated Kylie Minogue and danish Top model Helena Christenson but in 1994 he started a relation with the then Bob Geldof’s wife, British TV host Paula Yates. Yates divorced Geldof in 1996 and the same year she gave birth to Michael’s only daughter Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence. Despite INXS career still going strong, Hutchence’s personal problems and struggles with addictions as well as his feuds with Bob Geldof were making more news than his music. In 1997 after the release of “Elegantly Wasted”, INXS went on a world tour to promote the new album and celebrate the band’s 20th Anniversary, in November he flew to Australia to rehearse for the final leg of the tour.
During the tour, Yates planned to visit Hutchence with his daughter and Yates’s three children, but Geldof was seeking legal action to prevent the visit. On the morning of 22 November 1997, Hutchence, aged 37, was found dead in Room 524 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Double Bay, Sydney. Hutchence’s death was ruled a suicide while depressed and under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Reportedly, Michael killed himself shortly after an intense phone call with Bob Geldof. Geldof’s police statements and evidence to the coroner indicated that he patiently listened to Hutchence who was “hectoring and abusive and threatening”. A friend of Yates and Geldof confirmed the substance of this call and added that Geldof had said, “I know what time the call ended, it was 20 to 7, I was going to log it as a threatening call”. The occupant in the room next to Room 524 heard a loud male voice and swearing at about 5 am; the coroner was satisfied that this was Hutchence arguing with Geldof. Michael Hutchence still remains one of the most relevant figures in Rock history, INXS timeless music gets new fans and followers every day. His influence on other musicians also is notable as several tributes were made by artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Duran Duran, Prince and U2 among others. Nick Cave sang “Into My Arms” at Michael’s funeral on 27 November 1997, which was broadcast live on Australian TV. Out of respect, Cave requested the song not be televised.
Look back at the 1987 INXS music video for “Never Tear Us Appart”
Listen to “The Very Best of INXS” on Spotify
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