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Culture Club

Few new wave groups were as popular as Culture Club. During the early '80s, the group racked up seven straight Top Ten hits in the U.K. and six Top Ten singles in the U.S. with their light, infectious pop-soul. Though their music was radio-ready, what brought the band stardom was Boy George, the group's charismatic, cross-dressing lead singer. George dressed in flamboyant dresses and wore heavy makeup, creating a disarmingly androgynous appearance that created a sensation on early MTV. George also had a biting wit and frequently came up with cutting quips that won Culture Club heavy media exposure in both America and Britain. Although closely aligned with the new romantics -- they were both inspired by Northern soul and fashion -- Culture Club had sharper pop sense than their peers and they consequently had a broader appeal. However, their time in the spotlight was brief. Not only could they not withstand the changing fashions of MTV, but the group was fraught with personal tensions, including Boy George's drug addiction. By 1986, the group had broken up, leaving behind several singles that rank as classics of the new wave era.

The son of a boxing club manager, Boy George (b. George O'Dowd, June 14, 1961), found himself attracted to the glam rock of T. Rex and David Bowie as a teenager. During the post-punk era of the late '70s, he became a regular at London new romantic clubs. Along with his cross-dressing friends Marilyn and Martin Degville (a future member of Sigue Sigue Sputnik), George became well-known around the London underground for his extravagant sense of style, and Malcolm McLaren invited him to join an early version of Bow Wow Wow. George briefly appeared with the band as Lieutenant Lush before leaving to form In Praise of Lemmings with bassist Mikey Craig (b. February 15, 1960). Once guitarist Jon Suede joined the group, they changed their name to Sex Gang Children. Within a few months, the band met Jon Moss (b. September 11, 1957), a professional drummer who had previously played with Adam & the Ants and the Damned.

By 1981, Boy George had renamed the group Culture Club and Suede had been replaced by Roy Hay (b. August 12, 1961), a former member of Russian Bouquet. Toward the end of the year, they recorded a set of demos for EMI, but the label turned them down. Early in 1982, the band landed a contract with Virgin Records, releasing "White Boy" in the spring. Neither "White Boy" or its follow-up, "I'm Afraid of Me," made the charts but the British music and fashion press began running articles about Boy George. In the fall, Culture Club released their breakthrough single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," which rocketed to the top of the charts. Shortly afterward, the band's debut, Kissing to Be Clever, climbed to number five on the U.K. charts and the non-LP single "Time (Clock of the Heart)" reached number three. Early in 1983, Kissing to Be Clever and "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" began climbing the U.S. charts, with the single peaking at number two. "Time" reached number two in the U.S. shortly after the non-LP British single "Church of the Poison Mind," attained the same position in the U.K. "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" became a Top Ten hit in America that summer.

By the time Culture Club's second album Colour By Numbers was released in the fall of 1983, the band was the most popular pop/rock group in America and England. "Karma Chameleon" became a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic, while the album reached number one in the U.K. and number two in the U.S. Throughout 1984, the group racked up hits, with "It's a Miracle" and "Miss Me Blind" reaching the Top Ten. In the fall, the group returned with its third album, Waking Up With the House on Fire. While "The War Song" reached number two in the U.K., the album was a disappointment in America, stalling at platinum; its predecessor went quadruple platinum.

Following a brief tour in February, Culture Club went on hiatus for 1985, with Craig, Moss, and Hay pursuing extracurricular musical projects in the interim. During the year, Boy George -- who had previously denounced drugs in public -- became addicted to heroin. Furthermore, his romance with Moss, which had always been rocky, began to disintegrate. All of these problems were kept hidden, but it became evident that something was wrong when Culture Club returned to action in the spring of 1986. Though their comeback single, "Move Away," became a hit in April, its accompanying album From Luxury to Heartache stayed on the charts for only a few months. Rumors of George's heroin addiction began to circulate, and by the summer, he announced that he was indeed addicted to the drug. In July, he was arrested by the British police for possession of cannabis. Several days later, keyboardist Michael Rudetski, who played on From Luxury to Heartache, was found dead of a heroin overdose in George's home. Rudetski's parents unsuccessfully tried to press wrongful death charges on Boy George.

While Boy George was battling heroin addiction, and his subsequent dependence on prescription narcotics, Culture Club broke up. George confirmed the group's disbandment in the spring of 1987, and he began a solo career later that year. While his solo career produced several dance hits in Europe, George didn't land an American hit until 1992, when his cover of Dave Berry's "The Crying Game" was featured in the Academy Award-nominated film of the same name. In 1995, George published his autobiography, Take It Like a Man. Culture Club reunited in 1998, issuing the two-disc set VH1 Storytellers/Greatest Hits. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

THIS SONG CHEARS ME UP ;-)
I love this song boy george is hot still !
Nothing but this nice music!!!
Boy george is my favorite!!
michaelapril 4
Best vocals out of the 80's bands.
When you think of the 80's you think of Culture Club and MTV Culture Club is one of my favorite bands of the 80's.
sfortson2005
karma chameleon is my favorite song!!!
medeirosj5
I like this Song Culture Club Karma Chameleon in the 80s love it
Time (Clock of the Heart) is their best song if you ask me. :)
they were so awesome love them
They were so awesome!
Culture Club made music to make you feel great!
George has one of the MOST UNDER-APPREC I A T E D and respected voices in all of music. What soul!
Karma Chameleon my grandma used listen to it every day;)
He's amazing, even singing live.
holliros
He can't do wrong...love you, Boy George xoxo
This group sculpted the music of the 80's..What great sound and music.
i loooove the karma chameleon live!!!!!!!! ! ! ! :)
Regardless of sexual gender or sexual preference I think Culture Club was a great band and Boy George was and still is a great singer.I see myself as a heterosexual with bisexual tendencies although I dont think that matters too much.
dulcejen
Karma Chameleon... . . . . l o v e the song and the video......8 0 ' s please come back!!! :)
Boy George and Culture Club will always be one of my favorite groups. The only regret I have is that I have that I have never seen Boy George in person in the 80s, and Culture Club. I hear they are recording a new CD, I can't wait for it to come out. I was so happy to see they were together for New Years' Concert 12/31/11 in Australia, ( with the exception of Jon Ross due to back problems. I hope they will come to America. I would pay to see them, Hopefully it will be near where I am.
livalee65
Saw them in concert in 1983. I was in love with Boy George as well as his make up...lol!!!
I luv boy george :)
i love them(:
My first concert without my parents. Loved every minute. Ahhhh....age 13!
Boy George and C.C. made this song a great hit which is more that the Pet shop boys could have accomplished . Good choice for them to have Culture Club sing this great song.
Actaully "The Crying Game" was produced by the Pet Shop Boys specifically for the movie. They recruited B.G. to sing, which brought attention back to the fallen drag angel of the 80s
mcosgrove910 1 0
Actually, the Crying Game is NOT a Culture Club song - it's credited as "Boy George" on the soundtrack.
The Boy George opened the Music Industry to accept the joy of being poked!
The 80s music scene wouldn't have been complete without Culture Club!! xo
he's fun Live in concert
Colour by Numbers was not 2003. Try two decades earlier.
I absolutely love Culture Club
Oh man did I ever take the heat for being a Culture Club fan in High School !! It was worth it. Great memories that i'll never regret.
Since when did Colour by Numbers come out in 2003? More like 1983!
kmay63
Loved them back in the day. One halloween I dressed like Boy George. Hopefully he can get it together and make more songs. It's sad
Culture Club/Boy George was great and I will always be a fan. Boy George is a very good singer. If he would just get off the drugs and get with one of these great hitmaker producers he will back on top. He has such a soulful voice like Annie Lenox. Keep the music coming!! Love it!!
andreacornis h
I rememember" Do You Really want to Hurt Me", I felt in love with it. My son was only two at that time and we will sang it together.Hea r i n g it again brought back sweet memories.Tha n x . . . . . . . . . . . .
go boy george!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
From an artistic point of view, Culture Club was extremely significant; the music was a seamless mix of Ska, Lite Rock, Funk, and Soul. Boy George is an extremely soulful SOUL singer who has a legion of followers all over the universe.
I love Culture Club and will always listen them
i LOVE CULTURE CLUB THEY MADE REALLY GOOD MUSIC!! THEIR MUSIC ALWAYS HAS ME SINGING ALONG WITH THEM.
jordan.bolba c h
OMG i love them so so much
Awww Girl George. Culture Club made some good music. I never knew this guy was gay. I thought he was just setting a new trend for men (ha ha ha)
waste of vinyl. i wish i could erase this from my memory.
This band, Culture Club, broke some records on the debut lp { no pun intended } the most number one billboard singles.
Culture Club provided the airwaves with a rash of upbeat hits -
and George shooked the viewers of the Johhny Carson show with his wearing of gal clothes and makeup -
Why be shocked it's the music industry - Hell you never see The Indigo Girls wear a dress or makeup -
We all know this quick shot of fame did ruin the image of George and the boys after thier third album -
I love Culture Club! They are like, awesome! I love "Greatest Hits," Colour By Numbers," and "The Best of Boy George & Culture Club." They are an awesome band and I love to listen to them all the time! Culture Club always make me sing along and dance to it! They are the music that keep me happy and awake in the morning all the time! Keep up the good work! :P
Can we just go back to the 80's?? Let's dress and wear make-up like we did then and just be honest that it is mostly about getting laid!! It's all in the music and Culture Club was THE music.
memories.

My two teenagers think Boy is nothing more than a silly, flamboyant, limp-wristed whiny boy.

They just can't fathom the impact he had on visual music back in it's hey-day.
Okay. They might be right about some of it but...
he sure churned-out some good, fun, melodic music for a few years!

Thanks, you other-worldl y Georgie Boy.

(PS- no I never really wanted to hurt you or make you cry.)
lapulgar
beautiful , angel' george

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