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"Need You Tonight" is the fourth song on INXS's 1987 album Kick as well as the first single from the album. It was also the only single of the band's to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also achieved their highest peak at number two on the UK Singles Chart. While it would arguably become the band's signature song, it was one of the last songs recorded for the album.


In INXS's official autobiography, INXS: Story to Story, Andrew Farriss said that the famous riff to the song appeared suddenly in his head while waiting for a cab to go to the airport to fly to Hong Kongmarker. He asked the cab driver to wait a couple of minutes while he grabbed something from his motel room. In fact, he went up to record the riff and came back down an hour later with a tape to a very annoyed driver. This riff was later described as sounding like a cross between Keith Richards and Prince.

The song is a much more electronic track than most of the band's material before or after, combining sequencers with regular drum tracks and a number of tracks of layered guitars. To approximate the sound on the recorded track, the band often utilizes click tracks for a frequent synthesizer chord as well as rim shots heard throughout the song.

On the Kick album, the song is linked to the next song, entitled either "Mediate" or "Meditate" depending on the pressing of the album. On some compilations, the two tunes appear together and on others, only "Need You Tonight" appears (rarely, if ever, has "Mediate" appeared on its own).

Music video

The song is also notable for its promotional music video which combined live action and different kinds of animation. Directed by Richard Lowenstein, the video was actually "Need You Tonight / Mediate", as it combined two songs from the album. Lowenstein claimed that the particular visual effects in "Need You Tonight" were created by cutting up 35mm film and photocopying the individual frames, before re-layering those images over the original footage.

For "Mediate", it segues into a tribute to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues". The members flip cue cards with words from the song, followed by a Kirk Pengilly saxophone solo. Beneath the lyric "a special date" in the "Mediate" portion of the video, the cue card shown reads "9-8-1945". This refers to the date 9 August, 1945 which was the date the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. As the date is in the Australian format, with the day first and month second, American observers sometimes confuse the date for 8 September, 1945.

The video won five MTV Video Music Awards including Video of The Year and was ranked at number twenty-one on MTV's countdown of the 100 greatest videos of all time.

Cover versions

Track listings

7" single
  1. "Need You Tonight" — 3:01
  2. "I'm Coming (Home)" — 4:54

CD single
  1. "Need You Tonight" — 3:01
  2. "Mediate" — 2:35
  3. "I'm Coming (Home)" — 4:53


Chart (1987-1989) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 16
French SNEP Singles Chart 10
German Singles Chart 16
Irish Singles Chart 2
Italian Singles Chart 8
UK Singles Chart 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 7
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 10
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 12
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 1
Chart (2005-2006)1 Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1 16
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 2 40

1 Static Revenger/Koishii & Hush Mixes

2 Remixes


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