"By My Side" is one of the few INXS songs from the Michael Hutchence era that he didn't co-write. It was written by Andrew Farriss and Kirk Pengilly, both of whom played various instruments in the band.
INXS were global superstars by this point, thanks to their 1987 album Kick
. This meant lots of time on the road and many unfamiliar faces. Farriss was married, and the lifestyle was wearing on him.
He rarely wrote music when the band was on tour, but was moved to write "By My Side" because of the circumstance. "When I wrote that song it was about missing family and people on the road, which is why I was able to write that song on the road," he said in a Songfacts interview