The 1990s was a decade when many bands, who otherwise had little in common, were bonded together by a mutual hatred for Oasis.
Originally hailed as being the second coming of the Beatles, Oasis was fronted by two brothers, Liam and Noel Gallagher. At the height of Oasis’s popularity, the Gallaghers never hesitated to let it be known how little they thought of their musical competition. At the 1996 Brit Awards, when Noel Gallagher received an award from INXS’s Michael Hutchence, he accepted by saying, “Has-beens should not be presenting awards to gonna-bes.” Backstage, Hutchence got into a scuffle with the other Gallagher brother, Liam. Apparently, Liam made some disparaging remarks about Hutchence’s then-girlfriend, Paula Yates. Hutchence reacted by throwing a fire extinguisher at Liam.
Following the altercation, Hutchence went to the recording studio and added some additional vocals to the chorus of the song that would become the title track to INXS’s upcoming album, Elegantly Wasted. The original chorus was “I am elegantly wasted.” Hutchence added, “I am better than Oasis.” You have to listen carefully for it but it’s definitely there.
(The rest of INXS reportedly didn’t find out about Hutchence’s additions until several months later, when the album was released.)
As for the song itself, depending on which source you consult, it was originally inspired by either a pub crawl with U2’s Bono or by Hutchence’s relationship with Yates. The video was filmed in Los Angeles, on a set that was made up to resemble an airport. While the song may not have been as big a hit as the some of INXS’s previous releases (it peaked at 20 in the UK and 48 in Australia), it did reach the number one spot on the Canadian charts.
Sadly, it would also be one of the last INXS single to be released in Michael Hutchence’s lifetime. Hutchence committed suicide in November of 1997. He was 37 yeas old.