INXS' Kirk Pengilly

Celebrating his 41st birthday is Kirk Pengilly, multi-instrumentalist

for INXS, the Australian band that became successful in the '80s with

their danceable pop-rock.

INXS, known for such songs as "Suicide Blonde" (RealAudio

excerpt) and "Need You Tonight," have decided to carry on despite

the loss of lead singer Michael Hutchence, who was found hanged in a

hotel room in late 1997.

Pengilly was born in Sydney, Australia, where INXS began as the Farriss

Brothers in the late '70s. Keyboardist/guitarist Andrew Farriss was playing in a band with Hutchence

and bassist Garry Gary Beers. Farriss merged this band with a group that featured his

guitarist brother, Tim, and Pengilly. When youngest brother Jon Farriss signed on as

drummer, INXS were born.

INXS quickly developed a following on the pub circuit, which led to an Australian record

contract. But they were interested in establishing themselves in the States. With two

albums under their belt, INXS toured the United States in support of the band's third LP,

Shabooh Shoobah.

Nile Rodgers, leader of disco stars Chic, produced the INXS single "Original Sin," which

almost made the U.S. top 40. The Swing (1984) also included tracks such as

"Melting in the Sun" and "Dancing on the Jetty."

But most U.S. listeners first heard of INXS thanks to the 1985 LP Listen Like

Thieves, which included the top-five hit "What You Need." The band became a

superstar act with Kick (1987), the LP on which they most successfully merged

dance-pop with R&B-influenced rock.

That album's success was spurred by the catchy single "Need You Tonight," which

segued on radio stations into the rap-like "Mediate." It also featured the smashes "Devil

Inside," "New Sensation" and "Never Tear Us Apart."

Hutchence became a global celebrity thanks to his lanky good looks and several acting

roles. But the follow-up LP, the U.S. top-five X (1990), spawned just one hit,

"Suicide Blonde." Though INXS continued to attract a huge number of fans to their live

shows, the group was never as successful again on the record charts.

After two even less successful albums, INXS took a breather until 1997's Elegantly

Wasted. That album didn't exactly set the charts on fire either, but INXS decided to

launch a big tour anyway. Their plans were derailed, though, when Hutchence's body

was discovered in November of that year in a hotel in Sydney.

The other bandmembers have insisted they will continue, despite the death of their

visual focal point and main lyricist. They did an Australian gig in late 1998 with Aussie

singer Jimmy Barnes.

Last month INXS performed at the opening of Sydney Stadium in Australia with R&B

singer Terence Trent D'Arby taking over on vocals.

"It's for one night only, at this stage," Pengilly said.

INXS are reportedly recording new music.

Other birthdays: Bill Withers, 61; Jeremy Spencer (ex-Fleetwood Mac), 51; Ralph

Johnson (Earth Wind & Fire), 48; John Waite, 44; Rick Rizzo (Eleventh Dream Day), 42;

Matt Malley (Counting Crows), 36; and Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (Canned Heat),

1943-1970.