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Boy George Biography


Home > Music > B > Boy George > Biography


Birth Name: George Alan O'Dowd
Born: 1961/06/14
Birth Place: Bexley, London, England
Years Active: 1981–present
Genres: Soul, Pop, Rock, Dance


George Alan O'Dowd was born in Kent, England in 1961 and is a singer and songwriter known as Boy George. George was part of the English New Romanticism music movement which emerged in the early 1980s. Despite his music being largely driven by a pop sound, George’s music is heavily influenced by R&B and reggae. George also cites David Bowie and Iggy Pop as musical inspirations. Boy George rose to fame in the early 1980s as the lead singer of the Grammy, and BRIT Award, winning pop band Culture Club. In the 1990s, George was also the lead singer of the band Jesus Loves You.

Boy George gained a large following and drew attention for his androgynous style of dress, which helped Culture Club attract a large fan base. The bad consisted of bass player Mikey Craig, drummer Jon Moss, guitarist/keyboardist Roy Hay and George on vocals. The band’s debut album, “Kissing to Be Clever,” arrived on Virgin Records in 1982 and peaked at #5 on the U.K. Albums chart and #14 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The album spurred the international hit single, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” peaking at #1 on the U.K. Singles chart and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Culture Cub followed with the hits, “Time (Clock of the Heart)” and “I'll Tumble 4 Ya.”

The band’s second album, 1983’s “Colour By Numbers,” was a huge commercial success in both the U.K. and the U.S. The album spawned the hit singles, “Church of the Poison Mind” and “Karma Chameleon,” which peaked at #1 in 16 countries and remained in the #1 spot in the U.S. for three weeks. “Miss Me Blind,” “It's a Miracle” and “Victims” were also Top 5 hits.

Their next LP, “Waking Up with the House on Fire,” emerged in 1984 and produced the hit single, “The War Song,” however the album was not as successful as its predecessor. Despite the band’s success, George was hiding a heroin addiction and tension had reached breaking point between George and drummer Jon Moss.

Culture Club’s fourth studio album, “From Luxury To Heartache” arrived in 1986 and sold poorly. The band disbanded shortly thereafter and George, now a solo artist, signed to Virgin Records. His debut solo album, “Sold,” emerged in 1987 and spawned the popular singles: “Everything I Own” which went to #1 in the U.K.), “Keep Me In Mind,” “To be Reborn” and “Sold.”

George followed up with “Tense Nervous Headache” in 1988, and “Boyfriend,” in 1989. 1989 also saw George form his own record label, More Protein, and begin recording under the name Jesus Loves You. During this time period, George amassed several underground hits, including “After The Love,” “Generations Of Love,” and “Bow Down Mister On One.”

In 1992, George landed an international hit with the title track from the soundtrack to the feature film, “The Crying Game.” George spent the remainder of the 1990s working as a DJ, and mixing tracks for other musicians. 1999 marked a Grammy Award nomination for George’s dance track, “When Will You Learn.”

As the 2000s emerged, George continued to release new material as a solo artist, DJ, and appeared in the London musical “Taboo,” which earned the artist a Tony Award for the Best Musical Score. In 2002 he issued a collection of rare and unreleased material as the LP, “U Can Never B2 Straight,” however, like many of his other solo efforts, the album did not chart well, peaking at #147 on the U.K. Albums chart.

2007 saw George experiment with electronica, which resulted in the tracks, “You're Not The One” and “Loverush UK,” which peaked in the Top 20 on the U.K. Dance chart. 2010 marked a new record deal and George’s eighth solo album, “Ordinary Alien – The Kinky Roland Files.”