Who would have thought that in 1991 while doing backing vocals for Stryper’s album ‘Against the Law’, that would lead to Jeff Scott Soto doing the singing vocals for a movie in 2001 called ‘Rock Star’ starring Mark Wahlberg That is what happened. The producer on the Stryper album was Tom Werman and Tom brought Jeff in for a ton of albums he worked on after Stryper’s album and when ‘Rock Star’ came up, he had Jeff come in and audition.
He originally auditioned for the singing voice of Mark Wahlberg’s character, but the producers of the movie thought his voice was too good actually. They wanted a less seasoned voice, but one that could rip in those 80’s styles so they brought in Miljenko ‘Mike’ Matijevic another Tom vocal favorite. Mike is the lead singer of the band Steelheart and man does he have some pipes as well. Jeff actually did backing vocals on Steelheart’s debut album as well.
The movie ‘Rock Star’ was inspired by what went on with Judas Priest after Rob Halford left the band. They brought in a Judas Priest Tribute band singer by the name of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. Mark Wahlberg’s character, Chris Cole, is a massive Steel Dragon fan and was in a tribute band called ‘Blood Pollution’. When the lead singer of Steel Dragon, Bobby Beers, quit (sung by Jeff Scott Soto), Chris Cole was hired (sung by Ike Matijevic) and then the movie chronicles the ups and downs of Chris Cole’s life as a result of this move.
For My Sunday Song #250, we are going to discuss the song “Never Tear Us Apart” by the band INXS. The song was released on August 8, 1988 and was off the bands 1987 album ‘Kick’. It was the fourth single off an album that has now sold over 20,000,000 albums worldwide. Their biggest selling album and one of the greatest songs they have ever written. It was written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence.
The song is about two people that find an instant connection. A very passionate and lifelong connection. I guess you could say it is about love at first site. I always believed that when you saw the person you were supposed to spend the rest of your life with you would know it. I know I did with my wife so I guess that is why this song always had connected with me. No matter what is thrown at you, that bond won’t be broken. I wonder for Michael, if this was something he was looking for or if it was something he never found. He never did marry, but he did love deeply.
What I found interesting about the song is that Andrew wrote the music which was originally more a blues number. I believe when he got the lyrics, he turned it in to this very seductive ballad. It’s tempo is very much like a waltz and it glides like a dance as it flows through you ears, your heart and your consciousness. The synthesizers layered in helps with the glamorous textures of the song. One of the highlights in Kirk Pengilly and the beautiful, sexy, saxophone that he plays near the end of the song. Michael, well, he sings the song in such a sultry voice and you can feel the love and the passion in his delivery. It is stellar all around.
For My Sunday Song #249 and the site’s 1,500th post, we are talking about the song “Listen Like Thieves” by INXS. The song is the title track to the album ‘Listen Like Thieves which was released on October 14, 1985. The album went to #11 in the U.S. and sold over 2 million thanks to songs like this one. This song was the final single off the album and went to #54 on the Billboard Hot 100 just missing the Top 40 in large part due to a lack of a video which I am not sure why one wasn’t done as these guys were quite a hit with the ladies and a video would’ve helped immensely.
The song was written by the whole band…or at least they whole band got credit for this one. The lyrics were written by Michael Hutchence as he was learning quickly how the press were shaping his and the band’s image. He new what the media was good for, but he also didn’t trust them. It doesn’t look like he mistrusted them for the band’s image, but it was more along the lines of how the media interpreted the world events. He saw that they shaped a certain narrative and this was back in 1985. Imagine what he would think about the media today. The song is basically a warning that we need to “really” listen to the media don’t trust everything you hear. Question everything. If you listen like thieves then you are stealing what the media is telling you and making that what you actually believe without doing your own research and coming to the conclusion for yourself. It is basically a call to people to stop being sheep. Stop following other people, stealing their thoughts as your own. Be your own self. Your future is yours and that it is all in your hands. No one is going to do it for you. You are all you need to make things happen. Get off your ass and do it for yourself.
Musically, the song is pop/new wave perfection. Opening with a quick guitar riff from Tim Farriss and then Jon Farris does a barrage of drum hits and then song immediately kicks in to gear. It is happy, uplifting tempo and sound that gets you moving with a driving beat throughout. The keyboards from Andrew Farriss are used sparingly for added effect and impact. Michael Hutchence on vocals, sings with a charm and swagger that will make the ladies swoon and the guys jealous. The song is an example of a band that was up and coming and finding their voice both literally and figuratively.
For My Sunday Song #248, we are tackling the song “Suicide Blonde” off the band’s 1990 album ‘X’. The follow-up album to the very successful ‘Kick’ saw the band willing to stretch themselves even more and push the limits. The first single off the album went to #9 in the U.S. and #11 in the U.K., but it did go to #1 in Canada…way to go Canucks!!. The song was written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence as usual as they were the primary writers for the band.
The song title was inspired by Kylie Minogue who was dating Michael at the time. She told him she was going to dye her hair “suicide blonde” for a movie and all that means was that was she was going to color her hair herself. Michael loved the saying and turned it in to this wonderful pop tune. The song is not about suicide so you can get that out of your mind quickly. The only I can figure is the song is about their relationship and let me tell you that was an odd pair has Michael was a little wild and Kylie’s image was pretty squeaky clean.
Musically, the song sees the band push a little more to the electronic sounds. There is a great blues harmonica that was played by Charlie Musselwhite, but he didn’t play it live for the song. He played it and then they sampled it through Andrew’s synthesizer. Jon Farriss’ drums took on a more electronic dance beat almost acid house style. I love the fearlessness they had in willing to try new things. Michael is amazing as usual and makes the song as exciting as the beat tells you it should be. I always want to get up and start dancing when I hear this one. And let me tell you, I can’t dance.
For My Sunday Song #247, we are going to dive in to “Devil Inside” by INXS. Another track off the fantastic album ‘Kick” from 1987. The song was a massive success for INXS going all the way to #2 on the US Charts. INXS was exploding in the States and I was gladly jumping on board at the time as this is one of my favorite albums from the 80’s. The song was written by Andrew Farriss and the late Michael Hutchence.
The song is about excess, but it is also about the battle of good and evil in us all. We have a good side and we definitely have a dark side. The side that wants to come out and be really bad. When we start to wonder how the other half lives and jealousy starts rearing her ugly head, when we want the taste of flesh or lust…either of these things are lying it wait at the tip of our minds ready to explode out and let the dark side take over.
For me, the best part of the song is not the lyrics, but the opening guitar riff by Tim Farriss. It is simple and short, but so recognizable and for a band that always has some cool riffs in their songs, this is one of their best. Also, the other thing I love is the sexiness of Hutchence and they way he delivers those lyrics. The sultriness of the way they roll of his tongue it turns this pop/rock song into a sexy beast…roar!! Okay that was over-the-top, sorry. This album saw a band gel together and become so tight and this song is a perfect example, every guitar note, every keyboard strike and every bass thump and every pounding drum beat came together in a perfect combination to bring us this masterful pop song.
For My Sunday Song #246, we are going to review the song “Need You Tonight” by INXS. The song is off their massive hit album, ‘Kick’, which was released in 1987. The song was the first single off the album and took the band in to the stratosphere. The song went to #1 in the US and ended at #2 in the year end chart. It became a mainstay on MTV and the band were the new darlings of the time. The song was written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence and would boost their confidence and turn them in to the main song writers for the band.
The music was written by Andrew who had come up with the rhythm section of the song while waiting on the cab. When the cab driver arrived he asked the driver to wait as he had to get something from his room. An hour later Andrew came back down. I don’t think the driver was very pleased, but the rest of us are because in that hour, he demoed the song much to the dismay of the taxi driver. When Andrew played the song to Michael, Michael wrote those lyrics in about an hour. Now, the lyrics aren’t real deep as it is basically Michael trying to get a booty call which I am sure was pretty easy for him to get one as they were quickly becoming one of the biggest bands in the world.
The song is mostly an electronic track with a drum machine and a click track with a little cymbal hit every so often. But is that guitar riff that takes the song up a notch. It is very recognizable riff which the band was actually quite adept at coming up with those riffs in their songs. When you take the sexiness of that riff and through in the sultry vocals of Michael, it is no wonder that the women swooned over this band. The song had a bounce to it, a slick groove and was over-the-top sexy and made for a perfect combination to make this a #1 song.
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.
For My Sunday Song #244, we are going to discuss the song “Elegantly Wasted” by the band INXS. The song is the title track to the 1997 album of the same same. The album and song were produced by the great Bruce Fairbairn and was written by Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss. The song was the first single off the album but the song did not chart on the Billboard Top 40.
It is believe the song was inspired by a night out that Michael had with Bono from the band U2. And from the lyrics it sounds like they had a good time. It sounds like Bono lives the good life and they saw a lot of things that weren’t actually morally decent. Michael realizes that it really isn’t the good life. I don’t know if it is really about Bono or just Michael blasting the media for the trashy coverage he received from the tabloids. Either way, it is a fun song to play when on the dance floor.
An interesting story I have read about the song, apparently Michael went back in to the studio after the song was finished and added another line to the chorus after an altercation he had with the Gallagher brothers from Oasis at the 1996 Brit Awards. When accepting an award presented to him by Michael, Noel made the following statement…”Has-beens should not be presenting awards to gonna-be’s.” This pissed off Michael and he went and added the line “I’m Better than Oasis” to the song. Now, I don’t know if I believe it or not as it is really hard to tell.
For My Sunday Song #243, we are going to discuss the song “God’s Top Ten” by the band INXS. The song is off their 2005 album ‘Switch’ which features their new singer J. D. Fortune who the band hired off the TV contest show they did called “Rockstar: INXS” where they set out to hire a new lead singer. The song was released as a single, but didn’t chart in the US. It did go to #88 in Canada and 18 in Poland…cool.
The song was written by keyboardist, Andrew Farriss, who wrote the song to honor Michael Hutchence who died about 8 years earlier. It is a tribute to Michael, his partner Paula Yates (who died 3 years after Michael) and their daughter Tiger Lily. They have said the song is really a gift to Tiger Lily. The verses seem to speak to her saying that when you hear his songs on the radio, know that he is one of God’s Top 10 meaning he is one of the best singers out there and now God has him in his Top 10 list. I think the lyrics are sweet, touching and so personal. It is a beautiful gift to her as a reminder of how great he was and how much he loved her.
Musically, the song is a ballad played effortlessly and tenderly on keyboard with a nice bass groove and drum beat. The guitars are only an enhancement to the song. Nothing overpowers anything else, everyone plays in sweet harmony and bliss. The drumbeat at the beginning is the sound of a heartbeat. The song is a duet between Suzie McNeil, also from ‘Rockstar: INXS’ and J. D. Fortune. Her vocals are angelic and J. D.’s is as tender as the music. So much heart, so much love and so much passion comes through in their delivery. It might be the best song on the album and one of the best they’ve ever done.
For My Sunday Song #242, we are going to tackle one of my favorite tracks by the band called “The Stairs” off the band’s 1990 album ‘X’. It was the final single off the album and didn’t chart, but there was something about it that I fell in love with. They did end up releasing a live version of the song as a single for their 1991 Live album ‘Live Baby Live’ album.
The song is one that Michael thought was the most ambitious song he had ever written. And he might be right. I find the song to be a sad commentary on life in the big city. The cities are filled with so many people and all these buildings, but no one is communicating. No one is building a relationship. They casually pass each other in “the stairs” of their buildings and don’t say a word. Cities need to have more town squares like the small towns have so people can meet up and talk, build that relationship and make life better. And what I find most troubling about this song is that it is even more true today. With Facebook, Twitter and all these other so called social sites, we still are not truly social or communicating. You’re posting for the world to see how you want to be seen not who you really are. You are not actually saying anything that builds people up or to even build a relationship you are hiding behind a mask so no one truly sees you. This song makes me sad, but in a beautiful way.
Musically, it is a ballad and actually has a slow instrumental piece in the first minute that builds and builds until Hutchence comes in with the vocals. You can hear it in his voice how much this song means to him as he sings with such a tenderness and with such heart. It is songs like this that made me appreciate his greatness. When I think of great frontmen for a band, Michael is always on my list. There is a sadness to the music that comes through and matches with the lyrics. As I said earlier, it is sad but beautiful.