KICK (INXS album)

Kick (INXS album) 1987

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Kick is the sixth studio album by the Australian rock band INXS, released in 1987 by WEA in Australia, Atlantic Records in the United States and Phonogram Records in the United Kingdom on Audio CD, Compact Cassette and Gramophone record. As the band’s most successful studio album, it is certified six times platinum by the RIAA, and spawned four US top 10 singles, “New Sensation”, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Devil Inside” and “Need You Tonight”, the last of which reached the top of the Billboard singles charts. At the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards, the band took home five Moonmen for the “Need You Tonight”/”Mediate” video.

The album was produced by Chris Thomas and recorded by David Nicholas in Sydney, Australia, and in Paris, France. The album was mixed by Bob Clearmountain at Air Studios in London.

After the success of their fifth studio album, Listen Like Thieves (1985), and its second single “What You Need” (1986), INXS knew their new material would have to be even better, according to guitarist Kirk Pengilly, “We wanted an album where all the songs were possible singles”. They recorded Kick in Sydney and Paris, it was produced by Chris Thomas again, but Atlantic Records was not happy with the result, as manager Chris Murphy remembers:

They hated it, absolutely hated it. They said there was no way they could get this music on rock radio. They said it was suited for black radio, but they didn’t want to promote it that way. The president of the label told me that he’d give us $1 million to go back to Australia and make another album.

Despite Atlantic’s protests, Kick was released in October 1987 and provided the band with worldwide popularity; it peaked at No. 1 in Australia, No. 3 on the US Billboard 200, No. 9 in UK, and No. 15 in Austria.[ t was an upbeat, confident album that yielded four Top 10 US singles, “New Sensation”, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Devil Inside” and No. 1 “Need You Tonight”. “Need You Tonight” peaked No. 2 on the UK charts, No. 3 in Australia,and No. 10 in France. They toured heavily behind the album throughout 1987 and 1988. The video for the 1987 INXS track “Mediate” (which played after the video for “Need You Tonight”) replicated the format of Bob Dylan’s video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” even in its use of apparently deliberate errors. In September 1988 the band won 5 categories in the MTV Video Music Awards with the video for “Need You Tonight/Mediate”.

It was stated on an interview disc that the name of the album was considered halfway through production when it was seen that the word “Kick” was featured in a couple of tracks at that point. There was also the appeal that the word had four letters like the band name. During the second half of the production a song of the same name was written, thus the song was named after the album as opposed to the usual naming of the album after a song.

During 1989, Hutchence collaborated with Ian ‘Ollie’ Olsen on a side project, Max Q, the two had previously worked together on Lowenstein’s film Dogs in Space. The rest of the band also took a break to work on side projects, but returned to the studio to record their follow-up album X (1990).

In 2002 Rhino Entertainment released a remastered reissue of ‘Kick’, with four previously unreleased bonus tracks. Mercury/Universal reissued the album in 2004 as part of their Deluxe Edition series of albums. The two-disc collection was bolstered by a disc of remixes, B-sides and outtakes. Kick is the band’s best-selling album and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it as 6× Platinum, with shipments of six million units, in 1997. According to INXS: Story to Story: The Official Autobiography (2005) it has sold more than 10 million copies in the US alone.

In March 2010, as part of his Record Club series where he covers classic albums in their entirety, Beck released the first video of his cover version of Kick on his website. The videos were submitted weekly in the same track order as the original release, although the whole album was recorded in just twelve hours on 3 March. In October, it was listed at No. 11 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.

Track listing

All tracks written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Guns in the Sky” Michael Hutchence 2:21
2. “New Sensation” 3:39
3. “Devil Inside” 5:14
4. “Need You Tonight” 3:01
5. “Mediate” A. Farriss 2:36
6. “The Loved One” Ian Clyne, Gerry Humphreys and Rob Lovett 3:37
7. “Wild Life” 3:10
8. “Never Tear Us Apart” 3:05
9. “Mystify” 3:17
10. “Kick” Kirk Pengilly and Andrew Farriss [24] 3:14
11. “Calling All Nations” 3:02
12. “Tiny Daggers”



Michael Hutchence – lead vocals
Andrew Farriss – keyboards, guitar
Jon Farriss – drums, percussion
Tim Farriss – guitar
Kirk Pengilly – guitar, saxophone, vocals
Garry Gary Beers – bass guitar


Bob Clearmountain – engineer, mixing
Paula Jones – assistant engineer
Richard Moakes – assistant engineer
David Nicholas – engineer
Chris Thomas – producer

Nick Egan – art direction, design, cover art concept
Michael Hutchence – cover art concept
Grant Matthews – photography
Ken Smith – art direction, design
Bob Withers – art direction, design