The first time I heard of Culture Club was one evening when they appeared on Top of the Pops. Said show was on TV, and Culture Club were playing their first big hit “Do you really want to hurt me?“. My Dad walked in and, never being one to mince his words, said, “That’s a bloke singing!“, referring of course to Boy George. Of course, being still of primary school age both my sister and I refused to believe him, since the person on TV was clearly a woman in our eyes, what with the heavy make-up and wearing what appeared to be a white dress.
After “Do you really want to hurt me?” the band went on to have a string of Top Ten hits including “It’s a miracle” and “Karma Chameleon“, the latter being probably their best known hit. As a kid I originally thought it was “Comma Chameleon“, which made very little sense to me. When I was told it was “Karma” it made even less sense…
Culture Club consisted of four members, lead singer Boy George (real name George O’Dowd), bassist Mikey Craig, drummer Jon Moss and guitarist and keyboard player Roy Hay. Boy George and Mikey were originally in a band called ‘Sex Gang Children’, but after Jon and Roy joined the band was renamed ‘Culture Club’. It wasn’t until their third single that the band really took off though, making a huge entrance on the UK music scene in 1982. The following year they took the US by storm as well.
Of course, Culture Club will always be remembered by everyone for Boy George. Many people initially thought Boy George must be a woman, just as I did. Even having the word “Boy” in his name didn’t convince many people!
The band broke up in 1987, after Boy George start to suffer from drug dependancy problems. However, Boy George went on to have a reasonably successful solo career, starting with a cover of the reggae song “Everything I own” and providing the theme song to the movie “The Crying Game“. He moved on to more of a dance music style in the 1990’s, and in 2002 launched a West End and Broadway musical called “Taboo“, which closed around 2 years after it opened having lost all of the $10 million dollars invested in it by actress Rosie O’Donnell.