Saturday, January 30, 1988

INXS top the chart with “Need You Tonight”

Need You Tonight


Writer(s): Andrew Farriss, Michael Hutchence (see lyrics here)

Released: September 23, 1987

First Charted: October 24, 1987

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 11 RR, 73 RB, 12 AR, 1 CO, 2 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, 0.44 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 45.4 video, 282.19 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

INXS had been around for a decade when “Need You Tonight” became their one and only U.S. chart-topper. In the early ‘80s, they started gaining attention on college rock with songs like “Don’t Change” and “Original Sin.” They landed squarely in the pop arena with the #5 hit “What You Need” in 1985, which set them up for their 1987 Kick album to be the biggest of their career. In addition to the success of “Need You Tonight,” the album generated three more top-10 hits in America.

While it has “arguably become the band’s signature song,” WK it didn’t reach #1 in INXS’s native Australia where their only #1 was “Original Sin.” In the UK, the song climbed to #2, but only after the release of a remix a year later. In its original run, it stalled at #58.

The lyrics, written by Michael Hutchence in one night, were “basically a musical booty call.” SF The song’s famous riff also came quickly. Andrew Farris was about to catch a taxi to the airport when it came to him. He asked the cabbie to wait while he recorded the riff. The driver was not happy when it took an hour. WK

The video combined “Need You Tonight” with “Mediate;” the first segued into the other on the album. It combined different forms of animation with live action with visual effects creating by cutting up 35mm film and relayering photcopied images over the original footage. The video portion for “Mediate” is an homage to “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Bob Dylan, in which the artist flips cards showing the song’s lyrics. At the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards, the video took home Video of the Year and four other awards.


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First posted 10/23/2020; last updated 9/25/2022.

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