Since her international breakthrough in 1988, with the PWL anthem I Should Be So Lucky, Kylie Minogue – the “Princess Of Pop” – has beaten the critics who dismissed her as a five-minute wonder and delivered hit after hit. The media has rarely lost interest in her, but here are some Kylie Minogue facts you may have missed…
10: Pete Waterman hated Kylie’s first version of Locomotion
In 1987, Kylie was performing at a Melbourne charity concert with fellow cast members of the hit soap Neighbours. The crowd and her co-stars were impressed by her singing voice, and, on the back of her exploding TV fame, the actress was soon signed to a recording deal with Australia’s Mushroom Records.
Engineer Mike Duffy, on loan to the label from London’s PWL studios, produced a hi-NRG cover of Little Eva’s The Loco-Motion (renamed Locomotion), and the single went on to become not just the best-selling single of 1987 down under, but also the best-selling single of the entire 80s. But, in one of the more surprising Kylie Minogue facts, PWL boss Pete Waterman, who quickly signed the star, was far from impressed with the Duffy production. As Kylie-mania took light across the world in 1988, under the musical guidance of the Stock Aitken Waterman team, demand inevitably grew for Locomotion to become more widely available outside the singer’s homeland. “It wasn’t great, but it was passable,” Waterman would recall of the original recording. “It sounded roughly – very roughly – like one of ours.” He insisted on an entirely revised production by Matt Aitken and Mike Stock, which resulted in a No.2 success in the UK and Kylie’s first Top 10 hit in the US.
9: One of INXS’s most successful hits was inspired by Kylie
Michael Hutchence, the charismatic lead singer of INXS, dated Kylie for two years from 1989, after she split from her Neighbours co-star Jason Donovan. The affair ran in parallel with her reinvention from perky pop princess into a sexy, confident young artist, with dynamic club influences shaping many of the best Kylie Minogue songs of the era, including Better The Devil You Know and Shocked. A seemingly unlikely entry among these Kylie Minogue facts, Suicide Blonde, the lead single from INXS’s seventh album, X, was inspired by Kylie and a look she adopted around the time of The Delinquents, her 1989 romantic drama movie. It is alleged the “Princess Of Pop” described her hair colour as “suicide blonde”, and the song the phrase inspired became one of INXS’s biggest hits, making it all the way to No.2 in Australia in 1990. Kylie was devastated by Hutchence’s untimely death in Sydney seven years later, judged by a coroner to be a suicide.
8: Kylie and sister Dannii refused to work together for years
For years, the tabloid press painted the relationship of the show-business sisters as strained, and it’s true that Kylie and Dannii Minogue resisted the temptation to work together for decades, despite the occasional club appearance in the 90s and an early Australian TV duet of Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves. In 2008, the siblings finally collaborated on a cover of ABBA’s The Winner Takes It All, for the soundtrack for BBC TV’s Beautiful People. Seven years later, they went one step further, recording the dance-pop original 100 Degrees, which became a single from one of the best Christmas albums of all time, Kylie Christmas. In February 2023, the pair performed the classic LGBTQ+ anthem All The Lovers at the opening of Sydney WorldPride, further cementing Kylie’s status as a LGBTQ+ icon.
7: She Once Appeared In An Action Movie With Jean-Claude Van Damme
Despite her phenomenal career in pop music, one of the lesser-known Kylie Minogue facts is that she has continued to act, as breaks in her recording schedule have permitted. In 1994, she joined Belgian action star Jean-Claude Van Damme in a big-screen adaptation of the video game Street Fighter. The action film, which saw Kylie play Lieutenant Cammy, failed to do much at the box office, but better received screen appearances were to follow, such as a cameo in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!, as The Green Fairy, and a starring role in the 2007 Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who, Voyage Of The Damned.
6: Kylie has appeared on a postage stamp
The UK’s Royal Mail has yet to come calling for this honorary Brit (awarded an OBE in 2008), but Kylie’s homeland celebrated pop’s reigning princess in a series of commemorative postage stamps, issued in 2013. She featured in Australian Legends Of Music, alongside other iconic Aussie acts such as John Farnham, the late Olivia Newton-John and Men At Work.
5: Public demand forced the creation of Especially For You
Strange as it may seem among these Kylie Minogue facts, Stock Aitken Waterman and their protégés had never been keen on releasing a Kylie and Jason duet. “We were always dead against the idea,” recalled Kylie. “But PWL were telling us they had thousands of pre-orders for this song no one had even spoken or heard about.”
When the production trio were told of demand for the non-existent single from UK record retailer Woolworths, in the run-up to Christmas 1988, wiser business heads prevailed. As the stars were still needed on the Neighbours set, Pete Waterman and Matt Aitken were sent on a plane to Sydney to record Mike Stock’s composition Especially For You. The single was rush-released and made it all the way to No.2 that December, sitting behind Cliff Richard’s UK Christmas No.1, Mistletoe And Wine. No matter, once the festive season had passed, Especially For You topped the charts for three weeks and would eventually pass the million-seller mark in the 21st century, thanks to streaming.
4: Spinning Around wasn’t even written for Kylie
Following an exploration of her indie interests in the 90s, Kylie’s triumphant return to pop music, with 2000’s Light Years album, was seen as something of a gamble by some of the name songwriters who were expected to line up to work with her, and the lead choice for Kylie’s comeback single wasn’t even written for her. Spinning Around, which would see Kylie return to the top of the UK and Australian charts, was actually earmarked for Paula Abdul (the later American Idol judge earns a writing credit on the track), but, in Kylie’s hands, it kick-started a commercial revival fuelled by a bold image reinvention.
3: Kylie has come to love her most famous hit, thanks to Nick Cave
One of the best-known Kylie Minogue facts is that I Should Be So Lucky was created in a little over 40 minutes, when Mike Aitken and Matt Stock were forced to write a track for Kylie on her fleeting visit to London, after failing to be informed that she was coming to the studio. Despite the song’s international success, it became an easy target for parody, and Kylie soon wanted to distance herself from her breakthrough single.
“It was Nick Cave who made me come face to face with it,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald. “It was the mid-90s in London at the Poetry Olympics. Nick was performing at the Royal Albert Hall, and he asked me to recite the lyrics deadpan. I tried everything to get out of it. In the end, he convinced me… In that moment of reciting, it was like a Spielberg movie unfolding – the me I was trying to run away from was right in front of me and I couldn’t actually run… I could go on about I Should Be So Lucky as a marker through my life, and how I now love it and what it means to people. It’s an incredibly sad song disguised as a pop song.”
2: The Kylie and Prince collaboration may be lost forever
The teenage Kylie Minogue had a major crush on Prince and would finally meet him in the early 90s. “I was obsessed with Prince – loved his music, his fashion and Purple Rain,” she has said. Kylie would later visit Prince’s Minneapolis studio, Paisley Park, and found herself being driven around the city by the star. “I was thinking: what has happened to my life? It was so cool.” She had first met Prince when he performed at London’s Earls Court, and she wrote lyrics to a track called Baby Doll that he created music for. Sadly, the “Princess Of Pop” does not know what happened to the cassette tape that contains the demo, creating a huge “what-if?” among Kylie Minogue facts.
1: Masterpiece ‘Aphrodite’ was a reaction to two difficult albums
Both the Body Language and X albums made their mark, but Kylie has admitted that the patchwork of producers used across the two projects may have ultimately worked against them. “I hate to have regret, because there was some amazing stuff on there,” she told Attitude. “But there was a niggling voice in my head that just wished they could have been a little more cohesive. Hindsight can be a real bitch.” This feeling led to a new agreement with Stuart Price, who had partnered with Madonna on 2005’s Confessions On A Dance Floor, to steer Kylie’s 11th studio album, Aphrodite. One of the best Kylie Minogue albums of all time, the 2010 release contained hits such as Get Outta My Way and lead single All The Lovers, and it also secured some of the best reviews of Kylie’s career.
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