Tom Jones' memories of his friend Michael Hutchence and how INXS star struggled with fame

Jones was friends with the Australian star across two decades and was one of the guests at his Sydney funeral in 1997. In a new interview this weekend, he shared the private side of the flamboyant showman who was also a “lovely fella.” Talking to Jools Holland, the Voice judge also revealed how he and Hutchence both struggled with how they were portrayed in the press at the height of their fame.
Hutchence became a global star when INXS’s 1987 album topped charts and spawned iconic singles Need You Tonight, New Sensation and Never Tear Us Apart. But his music was often overshadowed by his high-profile personal life, typified by his relationships with Kylie Minogue, Helena Christensen and Paula Yates.

He took his own life at a Sydney hotel on November 22, 1997, when he was only 37 years old. 

Rather than the tortured superstar, Jones remembers his “sweetheart” friend, whose band had even written the track Tight for the Welsh legend.

READ MORE: WATCH Tom Jones describe the moment ‘John Lennon called me a Welsh p**f and I nearly hit him’

Jones said: “He was a lovely fella, you see. He was a sweetheart, really nice, down-to-earth fella.

“I met him in LA then I was in Texas with him, Duran Duran… we were all there at the same time. It was fantastic.

“But I think the attention he got, that attention, you know, the worst kind of tabloid stuff, I mean that really got to him.”

Holland asked if he meant all the tabloid coverage of Hutchence’s life.

Jones replied: “Yes, well it all depends what they pick on, what they focus on about a person.” 

Jones said: “At one time if you pick up a review I got, there was a great show somewhere and (I’d think) ‘That really took off, let’s see what review I got…

“(It would say) ’The band struck up, Tom Jones came out, took off his tie, opened his shirt up, the women screamed…”

“So the music wasn’t even mentioned. What did I sing like, what did I sound like, what songs did I do? No. So, it takes over from what you originally wanted to do.”

To be fair to the press coverage, Jones often flashed a lot of chest at his concerts, matched with hip-swivelling and suggestive moves. 

Jones, of course, is one of the great survivors, reinventing himself across the decades, unlike Hutchence.

Two days after the Australian was found dead in his Ritz Carton hotel room, Jones joined Minogue and other stars like Diana Ross and Nick Cave at the funeral. Yates sat grieving in the front row, holding her and Hutchence’s baby daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.

Jones never sang with Hutchence on Tight. The song was written and recorded by INXS during the sessions for their 1992 album Welcome to Wherever You Are but was never released.

It was only when the song was reworked following Hutchence’s death and released on the posthumous Best of INXS that the sleeve notes revealed the song had originally been intended for the Welsh star.

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