The One Thing is the opening song, and first single released, from Inxs 1982 album, Shabooh Shoobah. Shabooh Shoobah was released in the United States in February 1983, and peaked at # 46 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. The One Thing brought Inxs their first “Top 40” hit in the United States, reaching # 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May-June 1983. The song was a big hit on “album-oriented rock radio“, reaching # 2 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart, and was also a “Top 20” hit in Canada.
The One Thing was written by guitarist Andy Farriss and lead singer Michael Hutchence. The song has been said to be about having a girl who is beautiful and confident, with many men after her. This song, being the first to hit the charts in the United Sates, helped to set the groundwork for Inxs’ international success in the mid-1980’s.
The song hit the charts just as the band embarked on their first tour of America, first as an opener for Adam and the Ants, and later as the support act for The Go-Go’s. During The Go-Go’s tour there was so much intermingling between band members that both bands’ managers had to stay in contact with each other in order to keep track of the whereabouts of each bands’ members. By the end of the tour, The One Thing had picked up steam, and the band’s United States popular grew. At the US Festival in May of 1983, in California, the band garnered an encore.
With “photogenic” frontman Michael Hutchence at the helm, Inxs were a great fit for MTV. When the network started playing the music video (see above) for the song, it gave the band a huge boost and propelled the single onto the charts. Regarding the video, Inxs bass player Tim Farriss was quoted in the book I Want My MTV, “We fed Valium to a few cats and had them running around a table while we had a feast with sexy models and Playboy centerfolds, ripping apart a turkey. Next thing we knew, we had a Top-40 hit in America.”
Editor’s Note: The video to The One Thing certainly caught the attention of my friends in I, coming around during that ripe rock star crush age of 14. It was not long after that I owned the record, and had a pin-up or two of Michael on my bedroom wall. That said, it was my attraction to the music that was stronger than the attraction to the lead singer (my heart did belong to Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, after all), and I soon sought out their earlier two albums. I saw them play live the following year, and a few other times in the years that followed. This video, though, was truly my first introduction.