What You Need (song)

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"What You Need"
What You Need.jpg
Cover art for US editions and Australian 12-inch vinyl maxi-single
Single by INXS
from the album Listen Like Thieves
Released26 August 1985 (AUS)[1]
1986 (US)
GenreNew wave, dance-rock
Songwriter(s)Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence
Producer(s)Chris Thomas
INXS singles chronology
"This Time"
"What You Need"
"Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)"

"What You Need" is a song recorded by the Australian band INXS. It is the leadoff track from their 1985 album, Listen Like Thieves. "What You Need" was the first single off the album in Australia and New Zealand, while it was in USA and Europe the second single after "This Time" and was the band's first American Top Ten hit, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

After the album Listen Like Thieves was recorded and ready to be given to the record label for inspection, producer Chris Thomas was worried that the album didn't have a "hit". As Andrew Farriss recalled in a 2005 interview; "'What You Need' is another example of a huge hit that essentially took no time at all. We'd already finished the Listen Like Thieves album but Chris Thomas (the producer) told us there was still no "hit". We left the studio that night knowing we had one day left and we had to deliver "a hit". Talk about pressure. The band's performance on that track is amazing. We absolutely nailed it."[2]

The song was covered by "Weird Al" Yankovic in his 1986 polka "Polka Party!". A remixed version of "What You Need" was featured in the soundtrack of sports video game FIFA Football 2005.[3]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was created using an animation technique known as rotoscope. At the Countdown Music and Video Awards for 1985, the award for Best Video for "What You Need" by INXS was shared by Richard Lowenstein and Lynn-Maree Milburn.[4][5]

Track listing[edit]

UK 7" INXS 12

  1. "What You Need" – 3:35
  2. "Sweet as Sin" – 2:20

UK 12" single INXS 512

  1. "What You Need" (Remix) – 5:35 (Remix: Nick Launay)
  2. "Sweet as Sin" – 2:21
  3. "What You Need" (Live) – 3:56
  4. "The One Thing" (Live) – 3:31

Chart performance[edit]

Notable appearances in other media[edit]

  • This song played in an episode of the American crime drama series Miami Vice on 2 May 1986.
  • This song played in an episode of the British soap opera series Coronation Street in May 1986.
  • This song played in the HBO original movie Hysterical Blindness in 2002.
  • This song played in the American crime drama movie Monster in 2003.
  • This song played in the American sci-fi comedy movie Hot Tub Time Machine in 2010.
  • This song played in the American romantic comedy-drama Take Me Home Tonight in 2011.


  1. ^ "Kent Music Report No 581 – 26 August 1985 > Singles: New Releases". Imgur.com (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Official Michael Hutchence Memorial Website | Interview with Andrew Farriss". Michaelhutchence.org. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  3. ^ "FIFA 2005 Soundtrack Announced - Xbox". News.teamxbox.com. 10 August 2004. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Countdown Show No.: 396 Date: 20/4/1986". Countdown Archives. Retrieved 4 December 2008.
  5. ^ "Countdown 20th April 1986". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 27 January 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
  6. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0667." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  7. ^ "charts.org.nz > INXS – What You Need (song)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  8. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending April 12, 1986". Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Cash Box magazine.
  9. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – 1985". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  10. ^ Billboard Top 100 - 1986. "Billboard Top 100 - 1986 - Longbored Surfer - Charts". Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  11. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1986". Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Cash Box magazine.