This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #493: Never Tear Us Apart: INXS
By the time “Never Tear Us Apart” reached the Top Ten Album Charts, it was part of a truly impressive run of success for INXS. From the album, “Kick”, “Never Tear Us Apart” was one of five big hits including, “Devil Inside”, “New Sensation”, “Mystify” and “Need You Tonight”. Over the course of the band’s career, INXS has sold over 70 million albums, won numerous awards and cemented their status as one of the biggest pop bands ever in the world. Next to The Bee Gees and AC/DC, INXS is the third biggest-selling musical act in Australian History.
In its heyday, INXS consisted of lead singer, Michael Hutchence, Andrew Farris on keyboards, his brother, Jon on drums, a third Farris brother, Tim, on guitar and, finally, Garry Beers on Bass guitar. They filled stadiums all over the world throughout the mid-80s to the mid-90s, until the death, in 1997, of lead singer, Hutchence. Since then, INXS has tried to stay together using a variety of lead singers. The most notable of these singers was a Canadian named J.D. Fortune. He came to front the band by way of a televised reality show called Rockstar: INXS, in which Fortune, along with many other contestants competed in a series of singing auditions for the honour of replacing Michael Hutchence. From his tenure, INXS had one final chart appearance with a song called “Pretty Vegas”, which was almost more of a novelty song than a genuine INXS hit.
One of the reasons for the success of INXS’ earlier songs was their ability to create pop gems that had excellent sound quality and structure. By that I mean, the musicianship of the players was always the foundation upon which INXS built their songs. A quick look at the construction of “Never Tear Us Apart” will show you what I mean. “Never Tear Us Apart” is a gorgeous sounding song about Love and commitment. If you listen to the song constructively, you will notice that in the first two-thirds of the song, the musical components are relatively separate and distinct from each other. This includes several deliberate pauses. Silence is just as much a structural part of this song as Hutchence’s voice is, along with the soaring sax solo near the end. The song structure goes like this: strings by themselves then, Hutchence’s voice, silent pause, then crisp, crackling guitar, then drums. The structure repeats itself a second time. Then, after the second silent pause, we have the beautiful sax solo and, coming out of that, the separate components combine, blend and amplify each other to give us the rousing finale that we have come to know and love.
All in all, “Never Tear Us Apart” is a wonderful-sounding song and a worthy member of the INXS musical canon. It is a song that is as easy to like for its craftsmanship, as it is for its romantic lyrics. Lyrics that have served as the soundtrack for many a “First Dance” at weddings, many a slow dance for couples falling in love and as the accompaniment to many romantic, candlelit dinners shared between soulmates. I will end by stealing a line from this song for my soulmate, Keri……”I love your precious heart.” If you read that with the backing of a glorious saxophone solo behind it, so much the better. Thanks, INXS. Enjoy, everyone!
The link for the music video for Never Tear Us Apart by INXS can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for providing the inspiration required to write this post. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.
INXS have their own website, which is worth checking out. The link to it can be found here.