Never Tear Us Apart
by INXS

Album: Kick (1987)
Charted: 24 7

Songfacts®:

  • INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence wrote the lyrics, which describe an instant connection between two people who form a bond that will last forever. Hutchence had many passionate relationships in his lifetime, many with celebrities like Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen, but he was never married. He did have a daughter in 1996 with Paula Yates.
  • Michael Hutchence died in 1997 at 37. At his funeral service, his coffin was carried out of St. Andrews Cathedral by the remaining members of INXS and his younger brother Rhett as "Never Tear Us Apart" played in the background.
  • Andrew Farriss, who played a variety of instruments in INXS, wrote the music for this song. As part of a tribute to Michael Hutchence to mark what would have been his 50th birthday, Farriss told the story of the song: "In 1986 I sat down on an upright piano and started working on the chords that would eventually become 'Never Tear Us Apart.' I thought it had potential and asked Michael what he thought of it. He told me he really liked it so I recorded a blues style demo for him. I gave the demo to Michael and the eventual lyric that he wrote was truly inspired. Straight from the heart. I know how much that lyric meant to him. It was a personal love lyric very much in the moment for him."

    He added in a 2020 Songfacts interview: "What an amazing lyric. That song has been covered around the world by so many artists it's mind-boggling. It still gets requested all the time for use with reality TV shows and product placement. You name it - deaths, births, marriages - it's just one of those lyrics."
  • When Andrew Farriss wrote the track, it was uptempo, in the vein of Gene Vincent. Hutchence had him keep slowing it down to accommodate his lyric until the song became a ballad with a prominent string section.
  • Hutchence was quite proud of this song because he avoided many of the tropes of rock ballads. "It's hard to write ballads dealing with love and keep them tough, and stop people from waving their hands in the air all the time and lighting their Bics up," he said in the BBC book series Classic Albums.
  • Like the "New Sensation" video, "Never Tear Us Apart" was shot in Prague, but unlike their previous videos, it eschewed special effects in favor of long tracking shots. It was directed by fellow Aussie Richard Lowenstein.

    The video adds about 40 seconds to the intro, allowing for a long establishing shot before Hutchence appears.
  • There are two stops in this song, first at :48, then again at 1:49. When INXS played it live, the second stop could go on for quite a while. Typically, the lights would go down and maybe six seconds would go by before they started up again; during this lull the crowd would work into a frenzy. When they resumed was up to guitarist Tim Farriss, who would start it back up by playing his guitar lick. Soon after the restart, Kirk Pengilly's sax solo comes in - he would sometimes venture into the audience to play it.
  • By the time "Never Tear Us Apart" was released as the fourth single from the group's sixth album, Kick, INXS had become international superstars on the level they had previously reached only in their native Australia. When the album was issued in October 1987, their American fanbase was so meager, they started with a tour of colleges. The first single, "Need You Tonight," put an end to that when it went to #1. Unfortunately, Michael Hutchence had a hard time managing the undertow of fame and lived just another 10 years.
  • In 2006 the song was voted "Nation's Favorite Lyric" by viewers of VH1 Australia.
  • This was going to be used in the 2001 movie Donnie Darko, but due to budget constraints, producers used "The Killing Moon" by Echo And The Bunnymen instead, paying a flat fee of £3,000 (this according to Will Sergeant). When a director's cut of the film was released in 2004, "Never Tear Us Apart" was used in the scene.
  • Paloma Faith recorded a cover for John Lewis' autumn 2012 advertising campaign. "I have always loved this song and I feel honoured to sing it," Faith said of the track. Her version peaked at #16 on the UK singles chart.

    Tunes used by the store chain in previous campaigns include Ellie Goulding's version of Elton John's "Your Song" and Slow Moving Millie's interpretation of The Smiths' "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want."
  • This appears in the 2014 movie This Is Where I Leave You, and in episodes of One Tree Hill ("Hundred" - 2008), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit ("Beast's Obsession" - 2014) and Jack Ryan ("Black 22" - 2018).

Comments: 5

  • Dusk Blackman from Albany, Georgia (u.s.a.)This song is very heart rendering.
  • Dusk Blackman from Albany, Georgia (u.s.a.)Michael was so senual in his overwhelming emotions.
  • P.a from Co. Spgs., CoYet another soulful, deep song by INXS. Michael Hutchence was one of the very best lead singers in rock history. Along with excellent musicianship behind him.
  • Leo from Westminster 1, MdNever Tear Us Apart-brilliant and beautiful down under Australian blues about being caring and heartfelt. Even though he is in the great sky gig, Michael Hutchence touched my heart with his heartbroken Aussie diction-the best poet Australia ever produced! INXS will forever be beilliant. Michael you are missed and gone but certainly not forgotten by me. The most memorable
    blues rock song of the Eighties. Timeless Australian artwork!
  • Ken from Pittsburgh, PaI think this is probably one of the best and most memorable songs of the '80s. Awesome blues sound even 20 plus years on.
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