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Michael Hutchence
, 1997

by Harry Borden

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 50.5 x 40.2 cm, image: 43.0 x 35.4 cm)

Michael Hutchence (1960–1997) was the charismatic lead singer of the rock band INXS, which formed in Sydney in 1977. Their eponymous first album was released in 1980. The albums Underneath the Colours (1981), Shaboo Shoobah (1982), The Swing (1985) and Listen Like Thieves (1985) followed in quick succession, combining with their tireless touring to win the band a large fan base in Australia. The only Australian group to participate in the historic Live Aid concert in 1985, they supported Queen at Wembley stadium in 1986 and by the following year, when Hutchence starred in the virtually plotless film Dogs in Space, they were contenders in the competitive American music arena. Their sixth album, Kick (1987) sold some nine million copies worldwide and its four huge singles, ‘Need You Tonight’, ‘Devil Inside’, ‘New Sensation’ and ‘Never Tear us Apart’ established their position in the US mainstream market. Hutchence was often in the gossip pages over the 1980s and 1990s as he squired a string of high–profile beauties including fledgling performer Kylie Minogue (whose career is sometimes said to have benefited from his ‘corrupting’ influence); model Helena Christensen; and Paula Yates, with whom he had a daughter in 1996. His last album with INXS was Elegantly Wasted (1997). Hutchence died by misadventure in the Ritz – Carlton Hotel in Double Bay, Sydney in November 1997. Nick Cave sang at his funeral, and acts as diverse as U2, Powderfinger, Simple Minds and Prince have since paid public tribute to him in various songs and appearances.

Harry Borden (b. 1965) is a New York-born photographer who has spent much of his life in England. His earliest commissions were for the New Musical Express and the Observer. Now, there are few leading English magazines that have not published his work, which has come to comprise mostly portraiture. The National Portrait Gallery, London has more than one hundred of his photographs.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 1999
Accession number: 1999.8