There are plenty of stories out there on how songs were written, discovered and marketed. The story of INXS’ “Need You Tonight” is particularly interesting and was the subject of a pretty awesome Billboard piece, focused on INXS, Kick and the single “Need You Tonight.”
Here’s How INXS’ Hit ‘Need You Tonight’ Got Discovered
“As Chris Murphy, the longtime manager of INXS, remembers it, ‘I really thought I was f**ked.’ On an afternoon in 1987, Murphy, a wisecracking Australian, had gathered Atlantic Records’ radio promotion, sales and marketing divisions for an advance listen to ‘Need You Tonight,'” according to Billboard.
“He wanted the song to be the first single off of INXS’ sixth album, Kick. Murphy was convinced it would be the Aussie sextet’s breakthrough — a real kick in the pants to the pop-music status quo — but, he says, after a less than enthusiastic reception from the label’s top brass, he went looking for support among its foot soldiers. ‘I wanted them to storm the castle with pitchforks and say, ‘We must release this album,’ says Murphy.”
Murphy would later on play the track for a room of his “foot soldiers,” one of which ended up being Andrea Ganis. Ganis was the only one in the room who was confident that the song was a hit record. Luckily for Murphy, Ganis was also at the time, the director of top 40 radio promotions at Atlantic, according to the report.
“Released 30 years ago in late October 1987, Kick was a game-changer for INXS and, arguably, the direction of pop music. The album went on to become the band’s highest and longest-charting album, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and remaining on the tally for a record 81 weeks,” according to Billboard.
“It yielded four top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 — ‘New Sensation,’ ‘Never Tear Us Apart,’ ‘Devil Inside’ and, as Ganis predicted, the band’s first and only No. 1, ‘Need You Tonight’ — on its way to being certified six times platinum by the RIAA.”
“Need You Tonight” is undoubtedly one of the more iconic hits of the late 80s and to think that it almost never came to fruition is astonishing. You can read more about the journey Murphy embarked on to make sure Kick was released by clicking here.