By My Side
by INXS

Album: X (1990)
Charted: 42

Songfacts®:

  • "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.
  • Compared to Andrew Farriss, Michael Hutchence was in a very different station in life when this song was written. He was dating Kylie Minogue and very much the jet-setter. Still, he delivered the lyric with his usual conviction.
  • Regarding the line, "Here comes the clown, his face is a wall," Farriss explained to Songfacts: "When you do a lot of touring, if you get to that point in your career where you end up doing meet and greets or you're doing large tours, you're lucky to be there in the first place, but there is something else that comes with it where everybody around you is a stranger and everyone starts to take on a kind of a persona. Most people you've never met before mean well, but they might be feeling a bit nervous, so they might be acting like a clown to make you laugh. You begin to look at it like you're almost in a theater play when you're looking at everybody because everyone's got some persona because they're strangers - you don't know them. It's a different thing if you go to a party where there are friends and family and you know everybody. But that was what that lyric was about."
  • This was released as a single in Europe, Australia, Brazil and Japan, but not in America.
  • The video was directed by Richard Lowenstein, who had a pretty good idea of how to capture Michael Hutchence on camera by this point. The scene is a dimly-lit room where the band performs the song along with an orchestra.

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