Happy Anniversary: INXS, “Please (You Got That…)”
21 years ago today, INXS released the second single from their 1993 album, Full Moon, Dirty Hearts, a duet which found the Australian-born band teaming with an unlikely vocal partner yet pulling off the pairing relatively well.
The idea of bringing Michael Hutchence and Ray Charles together was a plan borne out of happy coincidence, although the idea of having Hutchence sing with a few other folks for the album was very much planned. "Michael and I had written two songs in particular with vocal duets in mind,” wrote INXS keyboardist Andrew Farriss, in the liner notes to the band’s two-disc anthology, Shine Like It Does. “One was the title track (with Chrissy Hynde), and the other was ‘Make Your Peace.’”
No, you’re not confused: this piece is not about “Make Your Peace.” Stay tuned.
The coincidence referenced above came into play when it turned out that Mr. Charles was recording in the same Paris studio as INXS. “We thought it unlikely that he would sing the song with us, but we gave him a copy of the song to listen to anyway,” wrote Andrew. “To our surprise, Ray said he liked the song, but the key was way out of his range. We were running out of time so instead of re-recording it, we switched songs and suggested he listen to ‘Please...’ instead. He immediately warmed to this one, and Michael and he shared the vocal parts, recorded in Ray’s studio in Los Angeles in 1993.”
The collaboration between Charles and the band continued in conjunction with the song’s release as a single, with Charles graciously agreeing to appear in the video as well as on The Late Show with David Letterman for a live performance, with the former providing Tim Farriss with the anecdote of a lifetime.
"We're jamming away, in the third take, and Mr. Charles – he was always Mr. Charles to me – doesn't have much patience for that stuff,” wrote Tim, in the Shine Like It Does liner notes. “He wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Then, all of a sudden, Michael runs off to have a piss. While I'm standing there, Mr. Charles comes over, puts his hand on my shoulder and goes 'Michael, I love the way you're singing this thing. It's so cool.' It was really heavy to have to say, 'Uh, Mr. Charles, I'm not Michael.' But then he laughed his head off. He thought it was really funny."