INXS’ breakthrough album Shabooh Shoobah has just turned 40.
The world knows it as the record that cemented the sound of INXS with the rock hit Don’t Change, but adding funk, soul and dance into the mix with The One Thing, To Look At You and Black and White.
The band have just reissued the album as a digital deluxe edition with b-side tracks that have sat dormant for the last 40 years, apart from on old vinyl 7 inch singles.
INXS used b-sides as a chance to experiment, letting all band members get a chance to write an edgy track that would often sit on the flip side of massive hit singles.
“The B-sides were like a free day. You could do whatever you want, you’ve got full reign to be as good or bad as you want. And I reckon that’s what music is supposed to be anyway.”
Jon Farriss, INXS Drummer and founding member.
Here’s the five weirdest b-sides on the Shabooh Shoobah reissue
YOU NEVER USED TO CRY
Drummer Jon Farriss not only wrote this track, he sings it. Picture Prince writing a track for the Grease soundtrack – tongue-in-cheek falsetto, doo wop vibes and rampant drum fills.
ANY DAY BUT SUNDAY
Tim Farriss this time channels Prince, with a wicked funk groove that also acts as a signpost for grooves to come. They’d later refine their lyrics, with Tim freestyling lyrics here over a chorus that sees him repeat ‘Smarty pants, smarty pants’.
THE SAX THING Not a sax-only rendition of The Sax Thing, rather this is Kirk Pengilly flexing his jazz muscle, with an instrumental that really swings and showcases a different side of his sax technique. Kirk also sings another b-side here, Go West, written with Andrew Farriss who was dropping clues 40 years ago about how much he loved country music.
SPACE SHUTTLE Written by Andrew Farriss and sung by Michael Hutchence, this one reeks of 1982 and the fascination with space travel. Not only does Hutch sing in true new wave fashion, there’s an uncredited female singer who gives an impressive impression of a robot as she handles the chorus lyric ‘Yesterday I got a space shuttle, time I was gone.’ There’s a much better new wave track here, another salvaged b-side called Long in Tooth, recalling early Models or Icehouse.
PHANTIM OF THE OPERA Even Spotify spells this as ‘Phantom of the Opera’ but it is indeed PhanTim and it’s a wild ride. As the title suggests, it was written by guitarist Tim Farriss and sees him whip up a goth rock backing to what sounds like cut and paste dialogue from a theatrical production. It’s baffling to realise that five years later this same band would be No.1 in the USA.
Behind the Hits – Michael Hutchence: INXS explores the birth of INXS, the tragic death of Michael Hutchence and how the superstar band carried on without their superstar, despite public criticism. Hear it on LiSTNR or wherever you get your podcasts.
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