After posting my last “song of the day” (“Live It Up” by Mental As Anything”), one of my regular blog followers (and a fellow blogger), William, liked my post and was kind enough to make a suggestion, and said, “Can I say? More Aussie songs plz!” William hails from Australia and honestly, I could do an “Aussie song of the day” for years! So much great 80s music from Down Under (including New Zealand too). Maybe sometime I’ll highlight a different Aussie song for a month. For now, here’s an Aussie twofer – INXS and Jimmy Barnes, teaming up on one of my all-time favorite B-sides, “Laying Down The Law.”
For the soundtrack to the 1987 Kiefer Sutherland vampire flick, THE LOST BOYS (which included Echo & The Bunnymen, The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Foriegner’s Lou Gramm and more), INXS and Jimmy Barnes contributed two songs, the hit single “Good Times” and its B-side, “Laying Down The Law.”
Michael Hutchence and Jimmy Barnes.
In 1987, INXS, originally from Sydney, Australia, had been together for 10 years and were inbetween albums (1985’s LISTEN LIKE THIEVES and 1987’s KICK) when THE LOST BOYS soundtrack was released the end of July 1987. Jimmy Barnes, much like Colin Hay of Men At Work, was born in Scotland and moved Australia with his family while still in his youth.
Well before THE LOST BOYS film and soundtrack were released, “Good Times” (originally a 1968 single by fellow Sydney Rock band, The Easybeats), was the theme song for a series of Australian Made shows in the Summers of 1986 and 1987. “Good Times” reached No. 2 on the Australian singles chart months ahead of THE LOST BOYS soundtrack. The successful series of Australian Made shows featured Australian artists like INXS, Jimmy Barnes, Models, Mental As Anything, Divinyls, Models and more. Australian Made was the largest organized touring festival featuring Aussie-only artists at that time.
The B-side for “Good Times,” “Laying Down The Law,” was co-written by Jimmy Barnes (the lead vocalist for the Australian Rock band, Cold Chisel) and INXS members Michael Hutchence, keyboardist and main composer Andrew Farriss, drummer Jon Farriss, guitarist and saxophonist Kirk Pengilly and bassist Garry Gary Beers (main INXS guitarist Tim Farriss was the lone member who did not contribute to this song; the liner notes of the single say he was “fishing”).
Featuring strong vocals from both Jimmy Barnes and Michael Hutchence (and a kick-ass sax solo from Kirk Pengilly), I loved “Laying Down The Law” the moment I heard it, but my appreciation for the song has only grown in the 30 years since its release, so much that I almost forget it’s a B-side and have thought it could have done well as its own A-side…
“I’m searching for a light / To kill my sense of fear / To break through darkened nights / And take me through the years…”