October 1985: INXS Release 'Listen Like Thieves'

INXS in Munich, Germany in 1985.
Photo Credit
Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

Hey, here is the story: Australian rockers INXS continued their international breakthrough with the release of fifth album Listen Like Thieves on Oct. 14, 1985.

A year before, the group had its biggest success to date in their native country with The Swing. Anchored by the slinky, Nile Rodgers-produced "Original Sin," both the album and single topped the charts down under - but the group was ready to make an impact around the world. So they hired producer Chris Thomas, whose credits included hard-edged rock for the Sex Pistols and the Pretenders as well as polished pop for Elton John - the perfect sensitivity to help guide INXS to its destination.

The band came armed with some of their most solid material, including the bass-heavy title track, the aching-but-upbeat "This Time" and the insistent "Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)." But Thomas felt a signature song was missing. With only days left in the session, lead singer Michael Hutchence and keyboardist Andrew Farriss scoured their archive for a suitable contender. They found the answer in a demo tape labelled "Funk Song No. 13."

"He played me a thing that was just this riff - dink, dink, dink-a-dink - and it was great," Thomas later recalled. "I thought, 'I could listen to that groove for ten minutes!'" With a driving rhythm from bassist Garry Gary Beers and drummer Jon Farriss, funky guitars from Andrew and Tim Farriss and wailing saxophone riffs by Kirk Pengilly, the final song - "What You Need" - was poised to be their biggest yet.

Read More: January 1988: INXS Scores No. 1 with "Need You Tonight"

With an eye-catching video that showcased animated effects and stop-motion footage of the band, "What You Need" became exactly what INXS needed, It not only reached No. 2 on the Australian charts, but peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 12, 1986 - their first Top 5 from outside down under. (At No. 1 that week: Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus.") Listen Like Thieves became the band's second Australian chart-topper and also reached No. 11 in the United States. Best of all, it set the stage for an even bigger international breakthrough with 1987's Kick.

Artist Name

Read More

(Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)
Released Nov. 18, 1983, the most popular Christmas movie of all-time was almost a box office flop.
(Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Sting would later reveal that his 3-year-old son was behind the song's catchy title.
(Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
The song about hooking up topped the charts at the end of the '70s and the beginning of the '80s. Others know it from "Guardians in the Galaxy." Who remembers this ode to the original Tinder?

Facebook Comments