What You Need (song)

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For other songs of that title, see What You Need.
"What You Need"
Cover art for US editions and Australian 12-inch vinyl maxi-single
Single by INXS
from the album Listen Like Thieves
Released 1985 (AUS)
1986 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 1985
Genre Rock, funk rock
Length 3.35
Label Atlantic
Writer(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."[1]

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.[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was created using an animation technique known as rotoscope.[3] 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 Lyn-Marie Milbourn.[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 (1986) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 51
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 5
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 3


  1. ^ "Official Michael Hutchence Memorial Website | Interview with Andrew Farriss". Michaelhutchence.org. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  2. ^ "FIFA 2005 Soundtrack Announced - Xbox". News.teamxbox.com. 2004-08-10. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  3. ^ J.C. Maçek III (2012-08-02). "'American Pop'... Matters: Ron Thompson, the Illustrated Man Unsung". PopMatters. 
  4. ^ "Countdown Show No.: 396 Date: 20/4/1986". Countdown Archives. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  5. ^ "Countdown 20th April 1986". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 27 January 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-12.