Entertainment Music Hutchence, Farriss to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Hutchence, Farriss to be inducted into Hall of Fame

INXS
INXS frontman Michael Hutchence and fellow band member Andrew Farriss are being honoured. Photo: Getty
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In 1968, an 11-year-old Michael Hutchence recorded his first song.

It was Jingle Bells for a singing Santa Claus Christmas doll while the family was living in Hong Kong.

The family “was thrilled” with the scratched record, his sister Tina recalled.

Ms Hutchence told 702 ABC Sydney that she fondly remembered introducing Michael to music.

“I was a big player in Michael’s upbringing for the first five years until we moved to Hong Kong,” she said.

“He would sing around the house. I used to teach him little nursery rhymes and things and he kept it up.”

Decades later and 19 years since Hutchence took his own life in a Sydney hotel, the singer is being inducted into the Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside fellow INXS member Andrew Farriss.

The pair co-wrote tunes like Don’t Change, Suicide Blonde and Original Sin.

“They had that rapport,” Denny Burgess, chairman of the Australian Songwriters Association, said.

“Michael did lyrics, Andrew provided music – it absolutely worked perfectly.”

The award will be accepted by Ms Hutchence on Wednesday night at the National Songwriters Awards being held at the Orion Centre in Campsie.

“This is an award Michael would have really appreciated,” said Ms Hutchence, who lives in the US.

“He was so proud of being Australian.

“As he toured the world he constantly reminded people he was from Australia, so to be awarded by the industry and the country he came from [is an honour].”

‘He was a loving man’

Hutchence died on November 22, 1997, just a day before his sister’s birthday.

She said she had just returned from a big birthday dinner when she got a call from the singer’s representative and their mother.

“My husband had put CNN on and I was watching the authorities walking around the Ritz-Carlton in Double Bay as he was telling me,” she said.

“I just slid to the floor, it wasn’t registering.

“He’d only left Los Angeles four days before … he was upset and very nervous and he really didn’t want to be on tour.”

Tina Hutchence
Tina Hutchence says she still corresponds with fans who write to her about their memories of Michael. Photo: ABC

Behind the scenes, Ms Hutchence said her brother was extremely shy.

“He [Michael] used to call it ‘the other Michael Hutchence’ that got on stage.”

“He was very funny, very entertaining.

“He’d steal other people’s stories and make them his own to make people laugh.

Michael Hutchence (third from left) and Andrew Farris (far left) founded INXS in 1977.
Michael Hutchence (third from left) and Andrew Farris (far left) founded INXS in 1977. Photo: Supplied/ABC

“He was a very loving man and always with a hug.”

That persona was the one that remained with his audiences around the world.

Ms Hutchence said she still received emails and messages from fan clubs and was working with one Facebook group in Sydney which was trying to have a statue of Hutchence erected in the new Entertainment Centre.

With tributes like that, the words of I’m Just A Man – a favourite song of Ms Hutchence because it was “about the family” – ring true.

“I’m part of you, you’re part of me.”

-ABC

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