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Never Tear Us Apart :: Paloma Faith

Don’t ask me,
what you know is true.
don’t have to tell you,
I love your precious heart.”

Paloma Faith’s cover of INXS’ Never Tear Us Apart, an all-time favorite song of mine, is so powerful, and so full of emotional heft, that I immediately find myself full of all-over goose bumps and a flood of memories that this song evokes. I love the big band sensibility here and the torch song, slay you dead on the floor vocals. Paloma is fierce, with an incredible voice, and she takes this song, one that’s original is so special to me, and makes it completely her own. This cover version is cinematic, soaring in a way that makes you stop and pay attention, and feel. I love it.

It’s hard to believe the song was recorded by Paloma originally for use in a John Lewis TV advertisement in the UK, as it feels so much her own song. I’m glad she later decided to make it “hers” and include it on her album, Fall to Grace, released in 2012.

The original song by INXS was released in August of 1988 as a single, and was also included on the band’s sixth studio album, Kick. The music was written by keyboardist Andrew Farriss, who recorded a blues-style demo and gave it to vocalist Michael Hutchence, who then wrote the lyrics.

Never Tear Us Apart is a sensuous ballad, written in the tempo of a modern Viennese waltz, layered with synthesizers and containing dramatic pauses before the instrumental breaks. Kirk Pengilly lends a cathartic saxophone solo near the end. According to the liner notes of Shine Like It Does: The Anthology (1979–1997), the song was originally composed on piano as a bluesy number in the style of Fats Domino. Producer Chris Thomas suggested a synth-based arrangement instead.

The video for the song, featuring an extended intro, was filmed in various locations in Prague, and was directed by Richard Lowenstein.

The single reached # 24 in the UK, and stayed on the charts for seven weeks. In the U.S., it reached # 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After his death in 1997, Michael Hutchence’s coffin was carried out of St. Andrews Cathedral by the remaining members of INXS and younger brother Rhett, as Never Tear Us Apart was played in the background. This song is now thought of by many original INXS fans as Hutchence’s anthem.

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What do you think of Paloma’s cover? Do you know of any other covers of this song that you enjoy? Are there any other INXS covers that you would recommend?

Never Tear Us Apart :: INXS

3 thoughts on “Two world’s collided :: Under the Covers

  1. I think this might take a few listens.

    As for other cover versions, I reckon Beck & Co. taking on Kick was a very worthwhile project. Some interesting arrangements …

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