Michael Hutchence


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Australian rock legend Michael Kelland John Hutchence was born the son of a garment trader, Kelland, and make-up artist, Patricia, in 1960.

When Michael was four, the family moved to Hong Kong, where, as a young man, he began singing in a folk group, specialising in ‘Peter, Paul and Mary’ songs. 

Moving back to the Sydney suburb of Davidson, Michael met his INXS collaborator, Andrew Farriss.

When his parents divorced in 1975, Michael went with his mother to Los Angeles, while his brother Rhett remained in Sydney. After a year, he had saved enough to return to Sydney, and contacted Farriss with a view to forming a band.

Dropping out of school, Michael formed Doctor Dolphin, aged 17, but Farriss and Hutchence soon formed The Farris Brothers on the day Elvis died, in 1977.

Touring heavily, the band changed its name in 1980 to INXS, and released their eponymous debut album. ‘Shabooh Shoobah’ was released in 1982, by which time Hutchence had developed his musicianship and stage presence. A talented lyricist, he co-wrote almost all of INXS's songs with Farriss, who has attributed his own success as a songwriter to Hutchence's 'genius'.

Making his film debut, Hutchence appeared in ‘Dogs In Space’ in 1986, spawning a top-ten single, ‘Rooms for the Memory’.

The band released their breakthrough album, 'Kick', the following year and toured heavily to promote it. After taking a year off, Hutchence recorded with Max Q, and travelled to Europe to appear as the poet Percy Byshee Shelley in ‘Frankenstein Unbound’, opposite John Hurt, in 1990.

His private life was under the spotlight at this time and often reported in the Australian and international press, with a string of love affairs with prominent models and singers. In 1989, Hutchence began a highly publicised relationship with Kylie Minogue.

INXS released the hit album ‘X’ in 1990, as Hutchence’s career and love-life continued to dominate the media - his relationship eventually ended with Minogue and he started seeing supermodel Helena Christensen.

However, in 1994, he began dating Paula Yates, who was still married to Bob Geldof. When Yates' separation from her husband became official, it sparked a bitter custody battle over their three daughters, Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Little Pixie. Two years later, Yates gave birth to Hutchence's only child, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence.

In 1997, while INXS were touring to promote the new ‘Elegantly Wasted’ album, Hutchence was found hanged in his hotel room in Sydney.

The Coroner initially determined that Hutchence's death was suicide, but analysis of the witness statements in the Coroner's report, the lack of a suicide note and other anecdotal evidence, such as the fact that Hutchence was found nude, has suggested that the cause of death may have resulted from autoerotic asphyxiation (strangling himself during a sex act). However, the conclusions in the Coroner's report have never supported this suggestion.

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