Singer, songwriter, 1980's pop culture icon. He was the doe-eyed front man for the popular 1980s New Wave rock band, INXS ("In Excess"). Born to Kelland and Patricia Kennedy Hutchence at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Hutchence lived most of his early years in Hong Kong, where his father worked for an Australian trading company. The young Michael was an athletic swimmer and showed a precocious interest in poetry and music. At the age of 8, he made his first recording: a voice for a Japanese toy. In 1972, when Michael was 12, the family returned to Sydney. While attending Killarney Heights High School in the Davidson area of Sydney, Hutchence met Andrew Farris, who introduced him to his brothers, Tim and Jon. The boys gathered in the Ferris home to practice rock music. Eventually, they began playing local gigs in Sydney; formed in 1977, INXS began life as The Farris Brothers. Other INXS original band mates were Garry Beers and Kirk Pengilly. When the Farris parents relocated to Perth in 1979, the band followed them. In Perth, they began to consider their music more seriously, honing their song-writing skills and increasing their public appearances to gain experience and exposure. The Farris Brothers changed their name to INXS and moved to try their luck in Melbourne, where they began to attract serious media attention with their hit tune, "Simple Simon." After a return to Sydney, INXS signed their first recording contract and in 1980 released a self-titled album. In 1983, the band became Australian rock superstars with the release of their third album, Shabooh Shoobah. Contemporary music critics began to refer to Hutchence as the "new voice in rock" and the band set their sights on conquering the American music scene. In 1985 they scored a major hit in the States with the song "What You Need." The 1987 album Kick led to other top-of-the-charts tunes like "The Devil Inside," "Need You Tonight," "New Sensation," and "Never Tear Us Apart." These hits, combined with lots of video airplay on MTV, and Hutchence's sultry voice, good looks and sexually-charged stage persona, won INXS a wide fan base in the United States and Canada. Their popularity soon spread to the U.K. and Europe, then on to Japan and Central and South America. By the late-1980s INXS had become one of the most popular rock bands in the world. During this period, Hutchence also acted, appearing in the Australian film by Richard Lowenstien, Dogs in Space (1987), and as the Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, in Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound (1990). By 1990, though, INXS albums failed to be commercial successes, and the band‚s popularity continued to decline throughout the decade. Hutchence's erotic stage presence was reminiscent of The Doors‚ Jim Morrison, and like Morrison, Hutchence's string of love affairs was the stuff of international media frenzy. He had well-publicized affairs with pop-singer Kylie Minogue and supermodel Helena Christensen. Hutchence's only child, a daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Yates-Hutchence, was born during his relationship with British television personality Paula Yates, the wife of his producer, Bob Geldof. Yates eventually left Geldof to live with Hutchence. On November 21, 1997, Hutchence was in Sydney to promote INXS's twentieth-anniversary reunion tour and their tenth studio album, Elegantly Wasted. However, on November 22, 1997, as his band mates waited for him in a recording studio, a hotel maid at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Double Bay, Sydney, discovered Hutchence's body. Although much speculation has always surrounded Hutchence's death, a coroner's inquest ruled that the 37-year-old rock star had committed suicide during a "depressive state" by hanging himself with his belt after having ingested a combination of beer, champagne, vodka, cocaine, the anti-depressant Prozac, and other prescription drugs. Hutchence was cremated and his ashes divided into thirds. His father and mother each received 1/3 of his remains, as did his partner, Paula Yates. His father, Kelland, spread his share of Michael's ashes in Sydney Harbour. A solo album, Michael Hutchence, was released posthumously.
Bio by: Kathy Riley Williams