One of my all-time favorite albums marks a huge milestone today. No, not Madonna’s Erotica, which writer Stephen Sears has brilliantly re-assessed on its 20th anniversary for Idolator, but INXS’ Kick, which has a solid five years on her gold-toothed Dita.
Released on October 19, 1987, Kick catapulted the Aussie rock band into global superstardom. Six albums into their career, the Michael Hutchence-led sextet wasn’t really a new sensation — they’d reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 the year before with “What You Need,” from Listen Like Thieves – but INXS managed to capture something quite special on Kick, a tight 12-song set that runs just a few seconds shy of 40 minutes.
Kick scored four consecutive top 10 singles: “Need You Tonight” (#1), “Devil Inside” (#2), “New Sensation” (#3), and the killer ballad, “Never Tear Us Apart” (#7, a shockingly low position in retrospect). To date, Kick has sold six million copies, easily making it the best-selling album of the band’s career.
As album opening tracks go, INXS’ “Guns In The Sky,” which kicks off Kick, ranks pretty high on my list. (Speaking of Madonna, “Like A Prayer,” the title track to her 1989 masterpiece, is up there too.)
“Guns In The Sky” is an opening salvo so strong that upon getting my hands on Kick, I kept rewinding the cassette for another blast of the song’s two minutes and 20 seconds. Instantly hooked on its hard-charging riff and blistering guitar solo, I wasn’t yet ready to move on to the poppier “New Sensation” which followed next. Kick remained stuck in my cassette player for weeks.
“Guns In The Sky” also stands out in INXS history as one of the few songs that Michael Hutchence penned alone. On a sad note, next month marks the 15th anniversary of the frontman’s untimely death at 37.
To celebrate Kick‘s 25th anniversary, new deluxe editions of the album were released in the UK last month. Read more about the rarities and extras (and what’s missing) on the 3-CD/1-DVD set via my pals at The Second Disc.
If that’s too much of a pricey proposition, here’s a free download from the set to fete Kick, a new remix of “Calling All Nations” by Kids On Bridges. I’ve never understood why “Calling All Nations” wasn’t released as a single. It still has all the makings of INXS’s fifth top 10 hit from Kick.