If you or your parents are into Australian music, then the chances are you’ve heard of Michael Hutchence. As the lead singer of INXS, Michael was a rock star fronting one of the biggest bands Australia has ever produced.
This Michael Hutchence facts post will tell you more about the Australian singer. So it’s ideal reading for a school music project, or if you’re just interested in what Michael did during his life. This only is one post in a series about famous folk, so if you want to learn about other rock stars or royalty you can check out our other people articles here.
Fast fun Michael Hutchence facts
Michael Kelland John Hutchence was born on 22nd January 1960 in Sydney, New South Wales. He rose to fame during his twenties, when his band INXS became popular. At first their success was limited to Australia, but their popularity soon spread to countries like the US and then the UK.
INXS enjoyed great musical success, and their style contained elements of pub rock, new wave and funk. After the death of Michael Hutchence in 1997 the band carried on after appointing a series of replacement singers, but they never achieved the success they enjoyed during the 1980s and 1990s.
Here are some fun facts about the original lead singer of INXS and his band.
10 fun facts about Michael Hutchence and INXS
Michael Hutchence was an interesting character, and to prove it here are 10 facts about the frontman.
- Michael Hutchence was part of a side project called Max Q during his INXS years, and the collaboration resulted in music that was very different from the sound of INXS.
- Michael was short-sighted, and therefore couldn’t really see the crowds he was performing to. When he tried contact lenses, he claimed than seeing the people left him ‘terrified’!
- Andrew Farriss, Michael’s INXS songwriting partner, was originally the lead singer of INXS. Michael just took over one day as they tried something out, and he stayed as the singer from then on.
- Before being named INXS, the band was known as The Vegetables, Doctor Dolphin and The Farriss Brothers.
- Three members of INXS are brothers. They are guitarist Tim Farriss, keyboard player and composer Andrew Farriss and drummer Jon Farriss.
- Michael Hutchence dated many famous women, including singer and actress Kylie Minogue, supermodel Helena Christensen and British TV presenter Paula Yates.
- Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof is Michael’s only child and was born on 22nd July 1996. Paula Yates was Tiger’s mother. Geldof is the surname of Tiger’s mother’s first husband, who adopted the child after her parents died.
- While with Helena Christensen in Copenhagen in 1992, Michael sustained a serious Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Then not as much was known about TBIs as it is now, and the injury is now thought to have indirectly caused the singer’s death.
- Michael was into motorcycles, but also used to ride around Sydney on a regular pedal cycle. Apparently he loved doing this as he was never recognised!
- A number of songs have been written about Michael Hutchence, including U2’s Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Kylie Minogue’s Bittersweet Goodbye and Duran Duran’s Michael You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For.
Michael Hutchence early years
Michael Hutchence grew up with his older sister Tina and younger brother Rhett. His family moved around a lot, so he lived in many places before reaching adulthood. These included Hong Kong and Los Angeles (LA) as well as Sydney and Brisbane.
Michael’s mother Patricia was a make-up artist and his father Kelland was a businessman. His sister Tina followed in her mother’s footsteps and also worked as a model and make-up artist. She now lives in LA, while Rhett lives in Bali. He is now an artist, and runs a shop called Skull Bali with his partner on the Indonesian island.
In 1972, when Michael was 12, the Hutchence family moved back to Sydney and settled in the Frenchs Forest area in the city’s northern beach suburbs. He attended Davidson High School there, and apparently met Andrew Farriss there when Andrew saved Michael from a school bully.
Andrew, Michael, Andrew’s brothers and some other kids from Davidson and Forest High Schools started jamming together in their spare time, in the garage of the Farriss family home. The band went through some changes in their line-up and name over the years.
INXS made their live debut as The Farriss Brothers on 16th August 1977, which was Tim Farriss’s 20th birthday. The gig took place in Whale Beach for Tim’s birthday party.
Michael hutchence and INXS
Michael became famous as the frontman of INXS. Though he worked with Ollie Olsen on the sole Max Q album and a solo album was released after his death, INXS was the main focus throughout his career.
Michael was the singer with INXS and also co-wrote many of the songs. Andrew Farriss was his main songwriting partner. Michael developed an interest in poetry from an early age, and often referred to the lyrics he wrote as his ‘poetry’.
INXS were phenomenally successful for a few years and played a massive sell-out gig at London’s Wembley stadium during the summer of 1991. Worldwide, they have sold over 75 million records to date.
Michael was, of course, only one member of a six-strong band. Here’s a little about each of the other members of INXS.
Tim is the oldest of the three Farriss brothers. He was born in 1957 and was the lead guitarist of INXS. His finger was severed during a sailing accident in Sydney in 2015.
Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence wrote many of INXS’s hit songs together. He also played keyboards and sang backing vocals. In 2021, Andrew released his debut solo album.
Jon Farriss played the drums with INXS. Born in 1961, he’s the youngest Farriss brother. He also sang backing vocals and co-wrote the INXS hit Disappear with Michael Hutchence.
Kirk Pengilly is a multi-talented musician who sang backing vocals and played saxophone and guitar. He’s married to Layne Beachley, a former pro surfer from Manly. His daughter April Rose Pengilly is an actress who starred in Neighbours.
Garry Gary Beers
Garry Gary Beers was born as Garry William Beers. He was the bass guitarist with INXS. Fans often refer to Beers as GGB. Apparently the double name stuck after being printed as Garry Gary Beers on the cover of the first INXS album.
Michael Hutchence songs
Michael Hutchence wrote many INXS songs with Andrew Farriss, and a few with Jon Farriss. The whole band worked on some songs together, and an ex-girlfriend of Michael’s – Ananda Braxton-Smith is even credited on Love Is What I Say from the 1984 album The Swing.
Hutchence was the main lyricist for INXS. He was very interested in poetry and literature, and some of his lyrics are very well known. Never Tear Us Apart is the most famous example, and was played at his funeral in 1997. Lines from this song include:
“Two worlds collided
And they could never tear us apart”
“But if I hurt you
I’d make wine from your tears”
“Cause we all have wings
But some of us don’t know why”
INXS albums with Michael Hutchence
Here are the main INXS albums, with the year they were released and the singles from them. Perhaps you’ll recognise some of those!
1980. Single: Just Keep Walking. Buy INXS here
Underneath the Colours
1981. Singles: Stay Young, Night of Rebellion and Underneath the Colours. Buy Underneath the Colours here
1982. Singles: The One Thing, Don’t Change, To Look at You, Black and White. Buy Shabooh Shoobah here
1984. Singles: Original Sin, Burn for You, I Send a Message, Dancing on the Jetty. Buy The Swing here
Listen Like Thieves
1985. Singles: What You Need, This Time, Kiss the Dirt, Listen Like Thieves. Buy Listen Like Thieves here
1987. Singles: Need You Tonight, Devil Inside, New Sensation, Never Tear Us Apart, Kick, Mystify. Buy Kick here
1990. Singles: Suicide Blonde, Disappear, Bitter Tears, By My Side, The Stairs. Buy X here
Live Baby Live
Live album recorded at Wembley stadium, London, 1991. Single: Shining Star. Buy Live Baby Live here
Welcome to Wherever You Are
Full Moon, Dirty Hearts
1993. Singles: The Gift, Please, Time, Freedom Deep. Buy Full Moon, Dirty Hearts here
1997. Singles: Elegantly Wasted, Everything, Don’t Lose Your Head, Searching. Buy Elegantly Wasted here
Michael Hutchence Movies
Michael Hutchence starred in a couple of films in addition to working in the music industry. His biggest role was in Dogs in Space, which was set in 1970s Melbourne and directed by Richard Lowenstein.
He also had a small role in the 1990 film Frankenstein Unbound, as Percy Shelley, an English Romantic poet. Apparently Michael was also offered a role in the hit Australian movie Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, but had to turn it down due to INXS commitments.
Michael Hutchence girlfriends
Michael Hutchence famously dated a number of successful women. In fact, he became hounded by the British press in particular due to his love life. Here’s a little about a few of the girlfriends – some you may have heard of!
- Michele Bennett. Australian film producer who Never Tear Us Apart was written about.
- Kylie Minogue. Australian actress and pop star who inspired the song Suicide Blonde.
- Helena Christensen. Danish supermodel who was with Michael when he sustained his brain injury.
- Paula Yates. British TV presenter who left Bob Geldof for Michael. Geldof later adopted Michael’s daughter Tiger, so she grew up with her three half-sisters who are Paula’s daughters.
Michael Hutchence daughter
Michael Hutchence had only one child before he died aged 37. She was named Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence by Michael and her mother Paula Yates. She later added Geldof to her name for Bob Geldof, her mother’s ex-husband and the man who raised her.
All of Paula Yates children were given what you might call interesting names! They are Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof, Little Pixie Geldof and Fifi Trixibelle Geldof. Sadly Peaches died in 2014.
Now known simply as Tiger, Michael’s daughter was born on 22nd July 1996 in London. Now, she’s reported to be living in Western Australia with her partner, Nick Allbrook. Nick fronts the band Pond, and formerly toured with Tame Impala.
Tiger appears to live a bohemian lifestyle – and a musical one. She released a digital version of an acoustic EP in 2020 called Tragic Tiger’s Sad Meltdown. So perhaps she’s following in her father’s footsteps, as well as living in his homeland.
Michael Hutchence documentary
In 2019, a close friend of Michael Hutchence, filmmaker Richard Lowenstein, released a documentary about the rock star. He was the director of Dogs in Space and a number of INXS videos. Lots of people who knew Michael contributed to this, and as a result public perception of the man he was and how he died has changed.
In Mystify: Michael Hutchence, we finally understand about how the Traumatic Brain Injury he sustained in Copenhagen in 1992 shaped the rest of his life. We also hear about the man Michael was from those who knew him best.
Facts about Michael Hutchence for kids
Michael Hutchence was one of Australia’s greatest ever frontmen, and in fact has been referred to as one of the last great frontmen from anywhere in the world. As well as his daughter, he left behind a great legacy in the form of his music. Friends and family of the rock star always say what an intelligent, kind and charismatic man he was.
Looking for more fun facts for kids for an upcoming school project? Take a look at some of our other posts below.