05 July 2019 14:00
The first thing to note about the soundtrack to Richard Lowenstein's Michael Hutchence documentary Mystify is that it's not really a soundtrack at all. The film is an elegantly shot story of Hutchence's sad life – dysfunctional childhood, finding a band of brothers in INXS, and discovering that the vacuum in his life was not filled by global superstardom or close relationships with women. Mystify – A Music Journey With Michael Hutchence (Petrol/Universal) on the other hand, sets out to celebrate the singer and songwriter, the sexy and ultra-confident frontman epitomised at INXS's triumphant slaying of a crowd of 72,000 at London's Wembley Stadium and whose prowess as a vocalist grows as the band's music style became more diverse. Chris Murphy, INXS's svengali and global strategist, stresses, "I don't want to harp on about the sad aspects of his life. He says the common response from the album's pre-release listening parties was: "I knew Michael was a good singer but I didn't know he was one of the greats".
Far from being a safe cobbling together of 12 INXS hits, A Music Journey is an entirely new body of work. He teamed up with Mark Edwards, one-time frontman with '80s band The Runners who had helped Petrol put together a documentary on Cuban's banned electro-rap scene and which was nominated for a Grammy. The first single off A Music Journey, a recently-rediscovered cover of Eric Burdon & War's 1970 hit 'Spill The Wine', first cut by Hutchence for a little-known movie, was given a sexy Cuban/Jamaican groove to sum up his appeal. It s expected to deepen Hutchence's relationship with the African American community, which began when INXS were the first white rock band to draw black crowds in North America; they brought in Nile Rogers to produce 'Original Sin' and 'Need You Tonight' entered the black charts. Later on Hutchence "backed me 100%" when INXS took an unknown Sinead O'Connor on a UK tour, and then John Lydon and reggae band Steel Pulse on US arena dates.
The original track started life as a 1960s' R&B style song but co-writer Andrew Farriss knew that it was special right away. It was a personal love lyric very much in the moment for him" Farris says of his writing partner and friend, Michael Hutchence. "He wanted to tell me that the band were geniuses, and that 'Never Tear Us Apart' will be one of the biggest singles he'd ever heard and all the other tracks were brilliant. Over the years since its initial release in 1987, 'Never Tear Us Apart' has taken on a life of its own being covered by the likes of Courtney Barnett, Carrie Underwood, Tom Jones ft Natalie Imbruglia, Paloma Faith, Joe Cocker and many more. This version co-produced by INXS drummer Jon Farriss features the inimitable vocals of French music legend Mylène Farmer who had always been a fan of the song. Mystify – A Musical Journey With Michael Hutchence is the creation of long-time INXS manager Chris M. As the name suggests, the listener goes on a journey where rare, unreleased tracks mix with snippets of dialogue, massive INXS hits and hidden gems from both Hutchenece and the band's back catalogues. "Mystify – A Musical Journey with Michael Hutchence could not come at a better time for the band as Murphy says, "We are entering an exciting period of rediscovery of their (INXS) legacy and a reassessment of their place in music history." The starry life and sad death of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence is explored in a documentary that looks to the man and not his myths. It's close to amazing that Richard Lowenstein's documentary about the late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence works as well as it does, given the sheer amount of clichés it has to navigate and transcend. Mystify is a music documentary that has a very clear raise and fall arc – Hutchence grew up in a broken family, found monumental fame with his Perth friends, enjoyed stardom, and experienced unexpected difficulties that culminated with his death by suicide in 1997 – that features everything from success measured by Billboard chart achievements and the input of U2's Bono, the patron saint of the rock doc. But Lowenstein, a friend of Hutchence's who directed numerous INXS video clips and the singer's best acting performance, in 1986's Dogs in Space, treats these familiar indents as marker points. Lowenstein doesn't want to offer a verdict about Hutchence, instead he shows the differing elements to him. The testimony from those around Hutchence is damning, but Lowenstein's interwoven approach doesn't allow for their close questioning – like INXS's ascendance, his final years and descent into depression is presented as a fait accompli. Michael Hutchence's daughter Tiger Lily was left a pittance from her father's estate and has been living in a squat, according to reports. The 22-year-old allegedly spoke to documentary maker Richard Lowenstein about her poor financial situation, saying she felt "ignored" by her late dad's estate. Tiger Lily, who Michael shared with Paula Yates, met with the director for research and to discuss using INXS' music in a new film about the singer's life. Speaking to WHO Magazine, Lowenstein claimed she told him: "I don't know if it's going to help because no-one acknowledges who I am or my part in the music or the legacy at all. Lowenstein claims he went to visit Tiger Lily in London to discuss the film and was shocked at how she was living. When Hutchence died in November 1997, his family were told he was virtually penniless. Paula Yates left Tiger Lily £14,000 in her will. However, she was just 16-months-old when her father was found dead in a hotel room, and was four when her mother, Paula Yates, lost her life to an overdose, with Tiger Lilly in the house at the time. Fresh details have emerged about INXS star Michael Hutchence's doomed romance with British TV presenter Paula Yates. Richard Lowenstein, who was friends with Michael and directed several INXS music videos, claims that the rock star 'wanted out' of the relationship a year before he committed suicide in 1997. Doomed romance: Michael Hutchence 'wanted out' of his relationship with Paula Yates shortly before his 1997 suicide - after starting an affair with a woman he'd met in a hotel foyer Lowenstein, who recently made a documentary about Michael's life titled Mystify, said the singer's relationship with Paula broke down over infidelity. In the last few months of his life, Michael had an affair with an American woman known only as 'Erin', who he first met in a hotel lobby. 'By the time he meets Erin in the last year of his life, everything had turned very, very complicated,' Lowenstein said. Infidelity: In the last few months of his life, Michael had an affair with an American woman known only as 'Erin'. Pictured with Paula Yates and their daughter Tiger Lily Lowenstein said that Michael was 'entangled in this huge web of deceit, of manipulation, of lies' at the time of his death. According to the filmmaker, the true love of Michael's life was actually Michèle Bennett - not Paula, or any of his other girlfriends. Love: According to a his friend Richard Lowenstein, the true love of Michael's life was actually Michèle Bennett - not Paula. Michèle was the last person Michael spoke to on the day he died: November 22, 1997. Three years later, Paula Yates died of an accidental heroin overdose on September 17, 2000 in London. Filmmaker: Richard Lowenstein (pictured) is the director Mystify: Michael Hutchence, a documentary about the life of the late INXS frontman