A musical and visual journey through one of Pop’s most controversial figures that turns 58 today
Celebrate the Pop icon Boy George anniversary with Top 10 Culture Club songs
George Alan O’Dowd is known to the world as Boy George was born on June 14, 1961, in London, England. Initially part of the English Post-Punk movement named New Romantic, which featured bands such as Duran Duran, Dead Or Alive, Adam and The Ants or Spandau Ballet, Boy George rose to worldwide fame during the early 1980’s as the androgynous lead singer of Culture Club, that marked the difference from the other bands of the New Romantic due to George’s soulful voice. Fascinated by George’s androgynous style of dressing, former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, arranged for George to perform with the group Bow Wow Wow. Soon after he formed Culture Club and the band released their successful debut album “Kissing to Be Clever” in 1982, which featured their smash hit “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”. In 1983 they released another successful album, “Colour By Numbers” featuring their international No 1 hit single “Karma Chameleon” and also “Church of the Poison Mind”,”Victims” and “It’s a Miracle”. Culture Club’s third album “Waking Up with the House on Fire”, released in 1984, featured another one of their most popular songs, “The War Song”. The music video for “The War Song” was banned in some parts of the U.S, it depicts George in full androgynous glory mixed with war shots of child soldiers and hundreds of children dressed as skeletons alluding to young deaths caused by war. That same year, he also provided a lead vocal role on the Band-Aid international hit single “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. A little-known fact is that in 1985, George performed backing vocals to Feargal Sharkey’s number one hit “A Good Heart”. At the height of his success, his popularity worldwide was so big that he even performed a guest-starring cameo role in a 1986 episode of the television series The A-Team titled “Cowboy George”. But with success also came George’s increasing drug addiction, which escalated to the use of heroin. By 1986, with the underwhelming performance of their last two albums, a soured romance between band members shrouded in secrecy, and a wrongful death lawsuit looming, dictates the end of Culture Club. George launches his solo career, and in 1987 he had his only solo No. 1 hit with with “Everything I Own” a cover of a 1972 song from Bread, however, Boy George’s version was more based on the 1974 Ken Boothe’s one, featuring a sweet reggae style was reminiscent of his earlier debut hit with Culture Club, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”. The song was included on his debut solo album “Sold”. During the 1990’s, George continued to enjoy mild success, shifting his musical direction towards more electronic, dance and sometimes techno fields and other times into a more glam Rock one. He also started his career as a D.J during the early 1990’s. But despite not having the same chart success as in the 1980’s, he always was kept in the public eye, most of the times due to personal scandals, such as arrests for drug possession and even the overdose death of a friend in his apartment. Over the years Culture Club have been doing reunions, the first one happened in 1998. Today, Boy George seems to have recovered from all the drug addictions that nearly destroyed his career and killed him. He is one of Pop music maximum icons and rebels, an early pioneer in gay culture acceptance by the mainstream and gay rights. Never afraid to take risks, Boy George turns 57 today and we celebrate it by looking at the Top 10 Culture Club songs, a music, and visual journey.
10 – “Victims”, 1983
9 – “I Just Wanna Be Loved”, 1999
8 – “Time (Clock of the Heart)”, 1982
7 – “Move Away”, 1986
6 – “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”, 1982
5 – “Church of the Poison Mind”, 1983
4 – “It’s a Miracle”, 1983
3 – “The War Song”, 1984
2 – “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, 1982
1 – “Karma Chameleon”, 1983
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