First out the box is INXS’ 7″ single “Need You Tonight”, b-sided w/ “Move On”. This is Mercury catalogue number 872 214-7 for anyone who might be interested. It was released in 1987 and was one of the first singles I ever bought, although I couldn’t say where from – highly likely to have been HMV in Cambridge, but I don’t remember buying it. The A-side of my copy is inscribed with the legend ‘Bunda Utopia’.
I can recall seeing the video on Top of the Pops and from that moment on the song was irresistible. Indeed, I was desperate to hear more of them and I managed to sneak a lend of “Kick” off the obnoxious cool kid Will Price that my older brother was friends with. My reaction to it then was nothing more than instinct – “Need You Tonight” tapped into an uninhibited desire to dance, to grin, to sing loudly along, to groove.
Listening to it now, and this was something I came to realise as I went through my teens, this song is pure raunch. From the moment you press play, you and Michael Hutchence are on the road to glorious, consensual, mind-altering sex. Whether Hutchence, who at this stage in his career was making Jim Morrison look like a rank amateur, is whispering, roaring or crooning, he’s doing it with you, doing it all over you. The sexy beast. What more to say ? It’s funky, it sounded fresh then and it still sounds crisp and vital now, it is a brilliant fusion of pop and rock from a band in their pomp.
I have to say though, I eventually came to love the b-side a little bit more than the a-side in the late 80s, early 90s. “Move On” definitely ended up getting more action than “Need You Tonight”. Now I can see that the a-side was the a-side for a reason – “Move On” is a decent enough song, but it isn’t the bolt-out-of-the-blue delivered by Hutchence and Farriss for the main draw.
Listening to it again, there is still a lot to enjoy. Back then, perhaps it was the Van Halen-meets-Huey Lewis and the News keyboard interjections, or the basic rock’n'roll chug, or the fact that I could identify more with the lyrics at that stage of my life – entering a more-rebellious (for me) stage in my teens, I was of course keen on the idea of ‘moving on’ from all the things in my life that were shit (or at least seemed so at the time). Whatever it was, I’ve still got a lot of time for the b-side and it of course makes me nostalgic for the days when you got the song you wanted when you bought a single, but quite often you were more delighted with the surprise on the reverse. The next single out of the box is very much the same – more on that soon…