Boy George – one of the stars of I’m a Celebrity – is the lead singer of pop group Culture Club.
The band was formed in the 80s and has sold over 50 million records. In the UK, they scored 12 Top 40 hit singles. But what is the history of Culture Club and what are its most famous songs? Here’s what you need to know.
Who are Culture Club?
Culture Club are an English pop band formed in London in 1981. They were part of the newly emerging romantic scene and are considered one of the most influential bands of the 1980s.
Culture Club is made up of Boy George (lead vocals), Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards), Mikey Craig (bass guitar) and formerly Jon Moss (drums and percussion).
The band formed after Boy George, who performed under the stage name Lieutenant Lush with Bow Wow Wow, decided to form his own band after his tenure with the band ended. After realizing they had a gay Irishman as lead singer, a black Briton on bass, a blond Englishman on guitar and keyboards, and a Jewish drummer, they decided to call themselves Culture Club.
At first they recorded demos paid for by EMI Records, but after deciding not to sign the band, Virgin Records signed them instead. Their demos were recorded in Europe. Epic Records released their albums in the United States and around the world.
Culture Club was also part of the New Romantic movement. This era was forged in the underground clubs of London and Birmingham, characterized by flamboyant and eccentric fashion inspired by fashion boutiques. Culture Club’s music is a mix of British new wave, American soul and pop, elements of Jamaican reggae and even country.
What are Culture Club’s most famous songs?
The band have sold over 50 million records, including six million BPI-certified records in the UK. They have also sold over seven million RIAA-certified records in the United States.
Their most famous hits, including but not limited to:
- Do you really want to hurt me
- Time (Heart Clock)
- I’ll fall 4 Ya
- Church of the Poisoned Mind
- Karma Chameleon
- Miss Me Blind
- It’s a miracle
- The war song
- move away
- I just wanna be loved
Karma Chameleon was the UK’s best-selling single of 1983 and number one on the US Hot 100 in 1984. Time (Clock of the Heart) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs that Shaped rock and roll.
Their second album, Color by Numbers, appeared in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 Albums of the 1980s and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Of course, they have also won numerous awards. In 1984, the group won the Brit Awards for Best British Group, Best British Single and the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. That same year, they were nominated for the Grammy Award for Pop Vocal by Group or Duo.
In January 1985, Culture Club was nominated for an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group Video Artist, and in September 1985 they were nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards for Best Special Effects and the best art direction. In 1987, they received another nomination for an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Group/Duo/Group Video Artist. In 2006, Karma Chamelon won the Q Classic Song Award.
Is Culture Club still together?
Two years after winning the 1984 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, the band broke up. They had just released their fourth album, From Luxury to Heartache, and only the lead single, Move Away, reached the UK top 10.
Boy George was in a relationship with the band’s drummer, their breakup and tensions with the rest of the band led George to turn to drugs for relief. By 1986 he had become addicted and in July of the same year he was arrested for possession of heroin. The band broke up and George pursued a solo career. In 1987 George released his first solo album, Sold, which went to number one in the UK.
The band reunited several times, first in 1989, but the plans were scrapped and the songs they recorded remain unreleased. In 1998, they reunited for a popular concert tour, but their studio album – Don’t Mind if I do, released in 1999, did not have much success.
Culture Club continued touring until 2002, but went on hiatus after George launched his career as a DJ. In 2011 they reunited again and had planned an album in 2014, but it was never released. In 2015 and 2016 they toured again and in 2021 Moss officially left the band.