The ill-fated frontman for '80s pop sensations INXS, Michael Hutchence was born January 22, 1960 in Sydney, Australia; raised primarily in Hong Kong, he made his professional debut singing in a commercial for an area toy company at the age of eight. The family returned to Sydney in 1972. While in high school, Hutchence joined keyboardist Andrew Farriss and keyboardist Garry Gary Beers in a group which would ultimately become INXS with the subsequent additions of guitarist/saxophonist Kirk Pengilly and two more Farriss brothers, guitarist Tim and drummer Jon. Debuting in 1980 with the single "Simple Simon," INXS became Australian superstars with the 1983 release of their third album, Shabooh Shoobah, also scoring a pair of minor U.S. hits with the singles "Don't Change" and "The One Thing." 1984's The Swing topped the charts Down Under on the strength of the Nile Rodgers-produced smash "Original Sin," and with 1985's Listen Like Thieves, the band's muscular funk-rock sound found international favor with the hit "What You Need."
In the wake of 1987's Kick, which launched no less than four American Top Ten hits — the chart-topping "Need You Tonight," "Devil Inside," "New Sensation," and "Never Tear Us Apart" — the charismatic, swaggering Hutchence emerged as a major heartthrob, and later that year he made his film debut in the Aussie rock & roll movie Dogs in Space. In 1989, he also stepped out with a solo project, Max Q.INXS' long-awaited follow-up to Kick, X, finally appeared in 1990, but failed to match the success of its predecessor. Subsequent efforts like 1992's Welcome to Wherever You Are and 1993's Full Moon, Dirty Hearts also fared badly, and the group spent the mid-'90s out of the spotlight, during which time Hutchence became a tabloid fixture for his affair with British TV host Paula Yates, then married to Bob Geldof. INXS finally resurfaced in 1997 with Elegantly Wasted, but on November 22 Hutchence was found dead in his Sydney hotel room, the victim of an apparent hanging. His long-in-the-works solo debut was posthumously issued in late 1999. ~ Jason Ankeny