Happy 30th: INXS, Listen Like Thieves

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Happy 30th: INXS, Listen Like Thieves

30 years ago today, INXS released the album that transformed them from a gang of Australian guys whose singles teetered between the lower reaches of the top-40 (“The One Thing”) and the lower half of the Billboard Hot 100 (“Original Sin”) into a band that was capable of conquering America.

Produced by Chris Thomas, Listen Like Thieves was INXS's fifth album, but it was by far the most successful effort they'd released up to that point in their career, hitting #11 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart when none of their preceding albums had made it any higher than #46. The success was particularly surprising given that their last effort, The Swing, had actually charted lower than the album before it (Shabooh Shoobah), which didn't exactly leave the impression that the US was falling head over heels in love with Michael Hutchence and company.

That all changed with “What You Need,” a song which was only added to the album at the last second, after Thomas told the band that they still didn't have a “hit” anywhere within the track listing. With these words ringing in their ears, Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss left the studio, and within a day's time they'd delivered exactly what the album had been missing and then some.

“What You Need” hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and formally began the process making INXS into staples of American rock radio for the remainder of the '80s and into the '90s and beyond, with additional singles “This Time,” “Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain),” and the album's title track all receiving some degree of airplay.

Of course, it wouldn't be until 1987 that INXS truly ruled the airwaves, but…well, just think of Listen Like Thieves as being a Kick start.

Get it?