My Sunday Song – “What You Need” by INXS

For My Sunday Song #245, we are going to discuss the song “What You Need” by INXS. The song was written by Andres Farriss and Michael Hutchence and the first single off their 1985 album ‘Listen Like Thieves’ (2nd single in the US). The song was the band’s first Top Ten hit in the States as it went all the way to #5. I think it was probably the first time I started to take notice of this band and the lead singer Michael Hutchence. I could tell there was something special about them and they proved me right as they would blow up on the next album.

“What You Need” was the last song recorded for the album. The were pretty much done with the album when the producer, Chris Thomas, didn’t feel there was a “HIT” on the album. The band had one more day left and they needed to come up with a hit. Talk about pressure, dang!! Well, as you already know, they succeeded above all expectations. Now don’t think they pulled rabbit out of the hat with the song. Andrew Farris had a demo laying around called “Funk Song No. 13” and Chris really liked the groove and they worked it in to this beauty of a song.

Lyrically, I’ve never really seen what they’ve said it meant. There aren’t a lot of lyrics, but they seem pretty straight forward. They are about Michael Hutchence saying all you need is him or it is about needing God in your life and only He can give you what you really need. Or, it can be about whatever you want it to be about. Completely up to you.

The crash type opening of the song was perfectly suited to open the album. Musically, the bass groove is fantastic and full of funk elements. It is the driving force behind the song. The song has a really great and catchy guitar riff throughout that is one of the best they have done. They always seem to have a cool riff in their songs. To accompany that groove they even through in some saxophone played by Kirk Pengilly that will adds a cool element to the song. When you have that great music backing you, Michael easily lays down a stellar vocal performance that takes the song to another level. This song is the band hitting on all cylinders and delivering a single that made the world take notice.

Give the song a listen and let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful and Happy Sunday!!

“What You Need”

Hey, here is the story
Forget about the trouble in life
Don’t you know, it’s not easy
When you gotta walk upon that line

That’s why – You need
That’s why – This is what you need
I’ll give you what you need

Don’t you get sad and lonely
You need a change from
What you do all day
Ain’t no sense in all your crying
Just pick it up and throw it into shape

Hey you, won’t you listen
This is not the end of it all
Don’t you see there is a rhythm
I’ll take you where you
Really need to be

Written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence

22 thoughts on “My Sunday Song – “What You Need” by INXS

  1. Love the energy on this. This album is when I got into the band. Had Listen like thieves on cassette.
    U inspired me to dig up Inxs. Listening to st first album at the moment. Have any from this been featured yet?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One of my favourite Australian bands. Interestingly Michael Hutchene died on the day I married my sweetheart. It was so hot that day that my best man hid in an air conditioned car during a photo shoot. It wasn’t long before he burst out of the car squaking that Hutchene had died.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes! Another great pick. One of their best. So many good songs and this would be high among the favourites. Really like the grit on the guitar and the sax line… brilliant stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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