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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By 1981, Boy George had renamed the group Culture Club and Suede had been replaced by Roy Hay (b. August 12, 1961), a former member of Russian Bouquet.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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

2. Time (Clock Of The Heart)

3. I'll Tumble 4 Ya

4. White Boy (Dance Mix)

5. Church Of The Poison Mind

6. Karma Chameleon

7. Miss Me Blind

8. It's A Miracle

9. Victims

10. Black Money

11. The War Song

12. Mistake No. 3

13. Love Is Love

14. Move Away

15. I Just Wanna Be Loved

16. Cold Shoulder

17. Your Kisses Are Charity (Blouse And Skirt Mix)

x

Track List: Culture Club: Live At The Royal Albert Hall: 2002 (20 Year Anniversary)

x

Track List: Greatest Moments: The Best of Boy George & Culture Club

1. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

2. Time (Clock Of The Heart)

3. Church Of The Poison Mind

4. Karma Chameleon

5. Victims

6. I'll Tumble 4 Ya

7. It's A Miracle

8. Miss Me Blind

9. The War Song

10. Move Away

11. Love Is Love

12. Everything I Own

13. The Crying Game

x

Track List: Waking Up WIth the House On Fire

1. Dangerous Man

2. The War Song

3. Unfortunate Thing

4. Crime Time

5. Mistake No. 3

6. The Dive

7. The Medal Song

8. Don't Talk About It

9. Mannequin

10. Hello Goodbye

x

Track List: Colour By Numbers

1. Karma Chameleon

2. It's A Miracle

3. Black Money

4. Changing Every Day

5. That's The Way (I'm Only Trying To Help You)

6. Church Of The Poison Mind

7. Miss Me Blind

8. Mister Man

9. Stormkeeper

10. Victims

11. Man-Shake

12. Mystery Boy (Suntori Hot Whiskey Song)

13. Melting Pot

14. Colour By Numbers

15. Romance Revisited

x

Track List: Kissing To Be Clever

1. White Boy

2. You Know I'm Not Crazy

3. I'll Tumble 4 Ya

4. Take Control

5. Love Twist

6. Boy-Boy, (I'm The Boy)

7. I'm Afraid of Me (remix)

8. White Boys Can't Control It

9. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

x

Track List: From Luxury To Heartache

1. Move Away

2. I Pray

3. Work On Me Baby

4. Gusto Blusto

5. Heaven's Children

6. God Thank You Woman

7. Reasons

8. Too Bad

9. Come Clean

10. Sexuality

11. Move Away (Extended)

12. God Thank You Woman (Extended)

13. Sexuality (Extended)

Comments

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mysteriousst r a n g e r s 8 6
❤❤❤❤❤
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wondcat
Heat! Was the heat too much!! Not key.
Report as inappropriate
Time...love this song. So many high school memories. Love Culture Club
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i got to meet boy george before-he was just the best ever love him forever ❤️❤️❤️
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
❤❤❤❤❤
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Ive got the cassette and album...this song is NOT on it.. Melting Pot, first time I ever heard this. Yuk
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**** BOY 4 PRESIDENT*** *
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Wedding singer lol
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will always love this song!!! SINCE DAY 1 when I heard it
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It's me or the larisa are wrong for this song
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I love me some Boy George!
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josejmadriga l 3
he's super gay he dresses like a woman! :O
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How in the world does this kind of music get on my classic rock station ? I hated this music in the 80's and it hasn't gotten better with time
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The printed lyrics aren't the words for this song. I have never seen this happen before!
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Boy george this is one of my favorite songs karma chameleon
And do you want to hurt me
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love song George and did you love john moss and like your sign dace
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Love this group and this song! Boy George could definitely blow! Incredible band and vocalist along with Helen Terry. Amazing vocalist too!
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msilvermerli n
LOVE CULTURE CLUB!! TOTALLY 80'S BUT HE CAN SING! STILL HAVE THE VINYL ALBUM
Report as inappropriate
Love them! The best!
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moleculematt
I love Karma Chameleon. One of my favorite songs.
Report as inappropriate
Time...I forgot how much I love this song...still lovin it. Culture Club much love
Report as inappropriate
I recently saw Culture Club in concert, they were amazing! !!!!!!
Report as inappropriate
I simply love Boy George's incredible vocals and the rest of culture club they ruled the 80's I'm a huge proud fan
I saw them recently at the Greek theater here in Los Angeles and culture club was fabulous it was like we were in the eighties seeing them live for the first time they were incredible thank you for always caring and loving your fans muah Sabrina
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Love me Culture Club........
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phinepr
Great music !!!
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Smooth,groov e , l i v e .
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Saw them in concert in 1983. Love them then; love them now.
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i love him
Report as inappropriate
So Boy George was the aggressive weirdo in his bisexual relationship s ? Could have sworn I read a story about someone escaping from chains in his makeshift basement sex dungeon.
Report as inappropriate
j2walsh2002
Mannnn, they don't make music like this any more. We danced our butts off to this song. It's popping. Boy George was the hit and I wish we had good music like this these days. That's why I play Pandora so I can still listen and dance to this type of music. Go go PANDORA :-)
Report as inappropriate
Love Culture Club...Love the 80s music!
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j2walsh2002
This was my song luv me some Boy Geroge :-)
Report as inappropriate
Boy George's voice is beautiful can we get a reunion tour!�������
Report as inappropriate
theborenfam6
I just recently took the time to listen to a lot of Culture Club's music...like really listen. The songs sound so happy, but what Boy is singing about is mostly heartbreak! The songs are so layered. I love Culture Club and Boy George. I can't wait to see them this summer!
Report as inappropriate
Love culture club after graduation batch 85 high school reuion we put culture club dvd were have fun a long night dancing every song
Report as inappropriate
Culture club rock,s
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Culture club +80s = music!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Need No more to say !!!!!!!!!!!
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shugarlala
how come the lyrics on Pandora no longer appear?? I love this song!!!
Report as inappropriate
I love it
Report as inappropriate
onemnwn
I still love you Culture Club!!!
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Culture Club
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Culture Club...feel good music...=)
Report as inappropriate
I have loved boy george since 1982.. that was when music was music and boy george will always be #1
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Greatest music ever!! I will always be a fan. Even at the age of 67, he touches my soul in song.
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Love culture club....do u really want to hurt me..
Report as inappropriate
One of the greatest bands ever hands down!
Report as inappropriate
This remix of karma chameleon is amazing!
Report as inappropriate
Culture Club was one one the best groups. They had so many hits and Boy George had a great voice with a subtle vibrato that you could hear especially on slower songs. My favorite song was "Time"
Report as inappropriate
I love Boy George, he's always amazing. His voice and music makes my days and notes so much better. Can't wait to see him n concert.
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