Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tears Fall Down My Face

Michael Hutchence Memorial - Sydney 2000
20 years ago, on November 22nd, the music world lost an enigmatic soul. Michael Kelland Hutchence was more than an 80s pop icon. To his fans, he was a free spirited artist who helped to change the music and video world. He was a musician, actor, father, husband, brother, and son. And yes, he had his demons, but don't we all? 
Michael will forever be remembered as the sexy bad boy with cinnamon curls and caramelized skin. INXS wasn't a stranger to the Australian pop scene in the early 80's. It really was not until Kick in 1987 that they broke through and became known internationally. But like with any band, it was Michael, the lead singer who got all of the attention. Even today, mention Kirk Pengilly or Andrew Farriss and people will just look at you quizzically. 
From Kylie to Helena to Paula, Michael's exploits were tabloid fodder and paparazzi dollars. Once the star began to fall, everyone wanted to know his next move. His death, shocking and heartbreaking, became even more tragic when Paula Yates also died soon after, leaving their daughter without parents. It is also his death that most will remember. For me, it doesn't matter how he died. He's gone. End of story. 
While I love their earlier albums just as much as Kick, X, or Welcome to Wherever You Are, the X tour and subsequent Live Baby Live at Wembley Stadium in 1991 is when Michael was at the very top of his career. My God, they filled Wembley!  This show and tour was a testament to not just INXS, but to Michael's ability to entertain an entire stadium full of fans. 
His loss was not just felt in the world of his fans but in his music family. The band tried to go on, but the night I saw them in Sydney in 2000 was just not the same. The night I met Bono under the Brooklyn Bridge, which just happened to be November 22nd, we hugged over the memory of Michael. 

But you tore a hole in space
Like a dark star, falls from grace
You burn across the sky
And I would find you wings to fly
And I would catch you
I would catch your fall
 Michael Hutchence and Bono - Fly Away

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