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Culture Club Biography

Home > Music > C > Culture Club > Biography

Birth Place: London, England
Years Active: 1981-1986, 1998-2002, 2006-2007
Genres: New Romantic, New Wave, Pop, Reggae

Culture Club is a British new wave pop group who were part of the 1980s 'New Romantic' musical movement in England. The original band was comprised of Boy George on vocals, Mikey Craig on bass, Roy Hay on guitar and keyboards, and Jon Moss on drums and percussion. The band's eclectic ensemble of musicians, including a flamboyant lead singer, got the band noticed by Virgin Records, who eventually signed them. Despite the band's debut album, “Kissing to Be Clever” (1982) peaking at #5 on the U.K. Album Charts and #14 on the U.S. Album Charts, the band did not make a big impact on the public. However, their second album, “Colour by Numbers,” was a huge commercial success selling more than ten million copies and yielding a number of international hits such as “Church of the Poison Mind,” “Karma Chameleon,” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” The success of the band's second album turned their career around and made them overnight sensations in both the U.K. and the U.S. Culture Club's musical roots fuse American soul music, with Jamaican reggae, and some new wave British pop thrown in for good measure. The band disbanded in 1986 after a four year success run and resurfaced in 1998 to 2002, scoring a few more hit singles before dismantling once again.

Boy George began his singing career with the English band, Bow Wow Wow; however he became so popular that the other band members encouraged George to start his own band. George recruited Craig, Hay and Moss and Culture Club were born. After low record sales for their debut album, the band released the single, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” which went straight to #1 on the U.K. Singles Chart and became one of the band's biggest selling singles. Their popularity soared overnight. The band's follow up single, “Time” showcased George's astounding vocal range and had more of a soulful/R&B feel to it; the song went on to be a huge hit, as did the next single, “I'll Tumble 4 Ya.” Culture Club became the first group in American to have three top ten hit singles off a debut album since The Beatles. With the international success of their second album, George was unable to cope with the instant stardom and began abusing drugs, which in turn began to affect the stability of the band, and the quality of their music.

By 1986 George's health had declined with his addiction to heroin, and the band began to unravel. The band parted ways that year and Boy George continued on with a solo career. 1998 saw the band reunite with a tour and a compilation album that went platinum in U.K. The album produced the hit, “I Just Wanna Be Loved,” which peaked at #4 in the U.K. Singles Chart. 1999 marked the release of another studio album for Culture Club, “Don't Mind If I Do,” which wasn't a huge success; peaking at #64 in the U.K. Album Chart. The band gave another performance in 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall, and despite Craig and Moss' attempt to reinvent Culture Club with a new frontman, the project feel to the way side once again.