May 14 – International Success The One Thing For INXS

A gamble paid off well for Australian band INXS this day in 1983. That’s when their single “The One Thing” became their first to make the top 40 charts (or any really) in the U.S. Which is doubtless what they hoped to accomplish and were so confident of, they paid to make it themselves.

By that time INXS were quite well-established in their homeland, having a small record deal, and two albums out that each went gold there and garnered them a trio of charting singles. But they felt they were destined for bigger and better, and weren’t sure their small label, Deluxe, was designed to accommodate that. So they rented a studio and recorded this song themselves. They liked the result so they kept the producer, Mark Opitz, around to do three more. These they used as a demo to shop themselves around to international companies, soon getting signed by Warner Bros. for much of the globe, and Polygram for Europe.

They kept “The One Thing” for their international debut album, Shabooh Shoobah – a title allmusic note is “one of the most annoying…ever” and supposedly derived from the sound of the rhythm of one of the songs on it. Thankfully, most agreed the music was better than the name of the record. Allmusic called it “a talented bunch of performers still finding their identity” but loved this song, “a strutting number that gives (Michael) Hutchence a real chance to shine as a singer” with “synth/guitar/sax hooks” that made it “instantly memorable.”

Hutchence wrote the lyrics about the guy obsessed with a girl who has lots of suitors (and provided his girlfriend as one of the many models for the video) , and though it was short of words, Andrew Farriss thought that a plus. Andrew, one of three Farriss brothers in the group, wrote the music and said of Hutchence “when he felt he had nothing more to say, he wouldn’t say anything more…he wouldn’t try to justify his lyric, and I think there’s a strength to that.”

Seems he said enough, the song became a hit…helped along by their extensive touring of North America that spring and summer. At various times they opened for the Go Gos, Kinks and Hall & Oates and they were on the big stage at the US Festival. It all helped push Shabooh Shoobah to gold status in the States, and “The One Thing” all the way to #2 on the then-new Mainstream Rock chart. Overall, it got to #30, first of nine top 30 hits they’d eventually have Stateside, and #31 in Canada. At home, it helped their career along too, hitting #14, their high mark to that point, although one they’d eclipse many times in the following eight or nine years, particularly with the multi-platinum Kick. So, seemingly having confidence might be “the one thing”. At least it was for INXS.

9 thoughts on “May 14 – International Success The One Thing For INXS

    1. true. they were a good band, but through the years, I find that Hutchence’s looks helped them a lot with the ladies (and I guess, gay men)… one band that honestly most women I’ve known like more than most men, though most of us do like their records.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Badfinger (Max)

    Dave I haven’t even thought about this song for years and years. I remember the song well and as soon as I saw the video I had one of many MTV flashbacks. I liked it when I heard it and still do.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s