Thursday, October 30, 2014


Ah, the 80s. Our collars were popped, our pants were rolled and family values were abundant. Oh, and Boy George was not gay. HA!! People actually fell for that for a while. Even after he called himself a drag queen while accepting the Best New Artist award at the Grammy in 1984! But I need to go back a bit. Culture Club was born out of London's club scene in the early 1980s. Boy George had sung with Bow Wow Wow for a while and upon leaving the group wanted to form his own. With an Irish transvestite as the lead singer, a black guy on bass, an Anglo-Saxon on guitar and keyboards and a Jewish drummer, naturally they came up with the name Culture Club. It didn't take too long for the band to get attention and they were signed by Virgin Records. Their first album, Kissing To Be Clever ( #14 US,  #5 UK), was a huge, worldwide hit and spawned the hit singles Do You Really Want to Hurt Me (#2 US, #1 UK), Time (Clock of the Heart) (#2 US, #3 UK) and I'll Tumble 4 Ya (#9 US) . Culture Club was the first band to have three top ten hits in the US off of a debut album since The Beatles. Not too shabby. In 1983 the band released the follow up album, Colour By Numbers ( #2 US,  #1 UK), and continued their streak of hits with Church of the Poison Mind (#10 US, #2 UK), their biggest single  Karma Chameleon (#1 US, #1 UK), Victims (#3 UK), Miss Me Blind (#5 US) and It's a Miracle (#4 UK, #13 US). It was around this time that the band started to implode. Boy George was heavy into drugs and his (secret) relationship with drummer John Moss was going south fast. By the time Culture Club released Waking Up with the House On Fire (#26 US, #2 UK) in 1984, they were barely holding it together. The only true hit single on the album was The War Song (#17 US, #2 UK) while The Medal Song (#32 UK) and Mistake No. 3 (#33 US) barely scraped the Top 40. The album was a disappointment only selling 2.7 million copies worldwide. Their 1986 album From Luxury to Heartache (#32 US, #10 UK) was recorded with George in the throes of heroin addiction and was a very difficult process. Producer Arif Mardin had to leave halfway through the process due to prior commitments and George's inability to record tracks. They did manage one hit off of the album with Move Away (#12 US, #7 UK), but From Luxury to Heartache only sold 1 million copies worldwide ultimately and George quickly entered rehab for his drug addiction. The band broke up. The band has reunited a couple of times, even producing another UK hit with I Just Wanna Be Loved (#4 UK) in 1998. George has battled drugs throughout his time in the spotlight, but has also enjoyed some solo success, most recently with his 2013 album This is What I Do (#33 UK). Culture Club is one of the most recognizable, successful bands of the 80s and has left an indelible mark on pop culture musically and visually. Here are some of my personal favorite Culture Club tracks, including their song from the amazing 80s movie Electric Dreams, Love Is Love. Enjoy and bow down to 80s!!

No comments:

Post a Comment