Classic Bands

Listen to “One Way,” One of Two Lost Michael Hutchence Solo Songs to be Released by Producer Danny Saber

Few artists have transcended the confines of mere celebrity as much as Michael Hutchence, the captivating frontman of the Australian band INXS, who occupies a unique place in the pantheon of rock history. A quintessential rock star, Hutchence captivated audiences with his suave demeanor, magnetic charisma, and distinctive vocal style, manifesting a larger-than-life persona that was the embodiment of rock and roll spirit. The shock of his untimely death in 1997 sent ripples through the music world, leaving a void that was felt profoundly by his fans, friends, and contemporaries.

Despite the passage of three decades since his departure, a hidden treasure of unreleased music from Hutchence continues to emerge, shedding light on his prolific creativity. Danny Saber, a distinguished producer and Hutchence’s close collaborator, renowned for his work with icons such as Madonna, the Rolling Stones, and U2, has dedicated himself to bringing these unfinished pieces to fruition. The recent release of the single “One Way” through Boss Sonics marks a significant posthumous addition to Hutchence’s musical legacy.

When Hutchence passed away, he had been intensely involved in the production of his debut solo album, engaging with influential figures like Andy Gill of Gang of Four, producer Danny Saber, and Tim Simenon from Bomb the Bass. This album, which saw the light of day two years after his death, was a bold step outside the shadow of INXS, featuring a blend of collaborations, primarily with Gill. It included standout tracks like the duet “Slide Away” with U2’s Bono, recorded posthumously, which highlighted the enduring appeal of Hutchence’s vocal prowess.

“One Way is the culmination of nearly two decades of work,” says Saber. “One of the fundamental reasons for releasing this music is to allow the fans to hear Michael’s voice on something new and fresh, offering a glimpse into what might have been, and, in turn, reawakening millions of people who may have simply forgotten about him.”

Saber recalls that Hutchence first contacted him in 1995. “Michael was a huge fan of my record (It’s Great When You’re Straight) and wanted to find the right sound for a solo record, a sound that would galvanize all the success he had with INXS and allow him to establish himself as a solo artist and spread his creative wings outside the confines of being the frontman of one of the most successful bands in the world.”

Working closely with Hutchence, the two became friends and creative partners. Over the next two years, they became very close collaborators. “The period we worked together was one of the best times of my life,” Saber remembers. “I had just broken through with a #1 record and having Michael as a ‘big brother’ to help me navigate this was so important to me.”

Before Hutchence’s death, a self-titled solo album was released posthumously two years later. Though that seemed like the end of his musical output, a trove of unreleased demos and song ideas resurfaced in a tape locker in London in 2006. “I set about reviewing the recordings to find out if there was enough of a quality for some sort of release,” says Saber.

Meanwhile, a documentary about Hutchence’s life was released in Australia and New Zealand, appropriately titled The Last Rockstar (2017), which included some snippets of these unfinished tracks. “I have been working towards bringing this music to the public for over 20 years,” he adds. “While some portions of these songs were featured in the documentary, the fully mastered versions had never been released.” Until now.

Taking one of the a capella vocal recordings that Hutchence left, Saber faithfully fleshed out and fashioned the track into “One Way,” ensuring it retained the elevated refinement that Hutchence demanded in life. “Michael and INXS set a really high standard for their music,” he explains. “I’ve said many times that you would be hard-pressed to find a crappy INXS song… a certain level of excellence had to be maintained!”

“One of the best things for me personally is that through this journey, I have come to a better understanding of what happened to Michael and why,” he says, referring to the emotional and tragic toll that fame and its excesses had on Hutchence. “I want to share that perspective as I really feel Michael’s story has so much relevance and value on so many levels, and along the way, hopefully we can shift the focus to how he lived and not how he died. Michael deserves to take his place in the pantheon of great frontmen and finally get the recognition he and the band deserve.”

Listen to One Way below:

With a legacy that extends over four decades, beginning with the iconic multi-platinum band INXS, who have sold over 50 million albums worldwide, which effectively makes them the biggest-selling Australian act ever, as well as his solo projects, including short-lived but adored side project Max Q and also starring in films such as Dogs in Space and Frankenstein Unbound, Hutchence was an unbridled talent whose cultural significance knew few bounds. Even in death, his impact continues.

Boss Sonics will be releasing this track and another, Save My Life, on a 10″ picture disc in mid-May.

Purchase HERE.

Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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