By: SailorHank Payne
It’s a miracle! Because today I get to write about my favourite pop icon, the one and only “Boy George” & “Culture Club.” There are a lot of kids and people out there who don’t even know him, and I will admit I was one of those people once. But I think everyone who is alternative, queer, & different should know who he is. He has changed pop culture history. His songs are amazing! Plus his story is very inspiring. In this article I will be writing about my favourite moments, stories, and stuff about him and Culture Club. Also I interviewed three different people who will give their opinion on his music and his look.
I don’t remember when I first heard Culture Club, because I have been listening to them for my life. My Mom, and Dad were huge fans of them when they were in the 80s so I grew up knowing who Boy George is. I never really got into them until a few months ago when I saw them play live in Seattle. I loved them so much, especially Boy George. Then when I saw pictures of him from the 80s my jaw dropped. He was so beautiful and different. My parents told me how famous he was. I was so inspired, because I have always wanted to be just like him:a drag queen pop star! I became obsessed instantly. I googled him, listened to all their music, and watched videos of them. I mean Culture Club is named The Beatles of the 80s, and I have to agree. In this video you see them getting out of the airport and hundreds of fans are waiting for them (just like the Beatles).
They were really big: selling out arenas in America, Japan, Australia and around the world, which you can see from this video here:
Boy George was born in 1961. In the early 80s he started one the most legendary iconic 80s bands, Culture Club with Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, & Roy Hay. After they released their 3rd single “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” in 1982, it became a international hit. Boy George says why he thinks the song made it big because, back then there was no internet so you could not look up what he looked like, you only get the info from the single’s cover of the record. But his face was not on the cover on the single. So no one saw what he looked like until they got a call from the British tv show “Top Of The Pops,” which shows bands, and solo artists, performing their new hit songs in front of a live audience. George says when he first walked out on stage, half of the audience was shocked about how he looked, then the other half liked the look. So the world first heard his talent, then how he looked, that’s why he thinks the mainstream media accepted him more. He also never dressed “sexy” and said in a interview, “I would rather go to bed with a cup of tea.” Which made parents and grandmas love him more. He’s also very soft spoken and intelligent which made parents, and elders accept him more, and he said drugs are never okay.
In 1983, Culture Club won best new artist. In their speech, Boy George famously said “America, you have good style, and taste. And you know a good drag queen when you see one.” That ruined his career for a little bit. Saying you were a drag queen in 80s meant you’re gay. Being openly gay in the 80s was not accepted. The next day, he went on live tv saying “there are lots of pubs where you laugh at drag queens. I am not a drag queen, i’m very serious about it.” He also came out as bisexual. After this George was very careful about what said.
In that same year Culture Club released their number one selling album, Colour By Numbers. Which included hits like, “Church Of The Poisoned Mind”, “Miss Me Blind”, “It’s a Miracle”, and their top selling song “Karma Chameleon”. It sold more than 16 million copies worldwide. The album peaked at number two in America, behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. This was huge for Culture Club. Boy George’s face was on every magazine, his name was on everyone’s lips. Paparazzi followed his every move. He also had a lot of merchandise: dolls, buttons, puffy stickers, makeup books, t-shirts, posters, leggings, patches, and much more. They did there first world tour “A Kiss Across The Ocean.” They performed in UK, Australia, Japan, America, and many other places. Selling out arena shows, they even did 5 shows at Sydney Entertainment Centre which seats about 14,000. They were one of the biggest bands in the world at the time. But there is a sad part to their story…
During the time of Culture Club Boy George and Jon Moss were in a secret relationship. They kept it out of the public eye for more than 10 years. George has even said in interviews that most of the songs from Culture Club are about Jon. For example in Karma Chameleon, “you come and go. Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams. Everyday is like survival, your my lover not my rival.” There are many more lyrics, and songs that make sense. Jon was even thinking about marrying George at one point, but he never wanted to be gay. They would have abusive fights during tour in the hotel rooms, leading to fist fights even, and throwing each other down the stairs. Then they would make up by making love. The relationship was toxic; Jon & George could not take anymore so they decided to break up. This was during the time of their 3rd album release Waking Up with the House on Fire. They were planning their 2nd tour. But too many bad memories came up for Boy George, plus he and Jon never got along. So they decided to not go on tour. They never publicly broke the band up, they kinda all just drifted apart. During this time George started getting depressed, and started taking heroin, marijuana, and cocaine. He got caught with possession of all those drugs, and went to court. The late 80’s for George were not the best times. After awhile, he became sober off and on. They made a new album last year, and did a world tour all together (but without Jon.)
Now that you know a little bit about Boy George, and Culture Club. I’m going to play 3 of their most popular songs (Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, & Karma Chameleon) to 3 people. Two of the people don’t even know who Boy George is. I’m also going to show the picture down below and get their opinions.
“Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?”
Nova Teacher: It’s very slow and relaxing.
Nova Student: I like the tone of it.
My Dad: I loved this song when it first came out, I mean how could you not like this song.
Nova Teacher: This one is more fun and upbeat!
Nova Student: I love this song!
My Dad: This song was so popular. It put Culture Club at the very top! Everyone was signing it all the time.
Boy George Picture:
Nova Teacher: I think that is so cool, that he dressed how he wanted and got success out of it.
Nova Student: He looks so cool! We need more pop stars like him.
My Dad: I love looking at his makeup and 80s looks. He was so different and out there.