1981 in London, England
- Boy George (born George Alan O’Dowd on June 14, 1961 in Eltham, London, England) – Lead vocals, songwriter
- Mikey Craig (born Michael Emile Craig on February 15, 1960 in Hammersmith, London, England) – Bass guitar
- Roy Hay (born Roy Ernest Hay on August 12, 1961 in Southend, Essex, England) – Guitar, keyboards, songwriter
- Jon Moss (born Jonathan Aubrey Moss on September 11, 1957 in Wandsworth, London, England) – Drums, percussion
Culture Club were one of the biggest pop bands of the 80s, racking up seven straight Top 10 hits in the UK and nine Top 10 singles in the US.
Central to the band’s appeal was the flamboyant front man Boy George, whose cross-dressing and heavy make-up created an image which was completely unique on the pop scene. George was also noted for his biting wit and frequently came up with cutting quips that won Culture Club media exposure on both sides of the Atlantic.
Although they drew influence from the ‘New Romantic’ movement, Culture Club were also inspired by the music and fashion of ‘Northern Soul’, which helped to create a broader appeal.
Culture Club grew out of the ashes of ‘Sex Gang Children’, formed by George and bassist Mikey Craig. Drummer Jon Moss and guitarist Roy Hay came on board, and by 1981 the band had been renamed.
Early in 1982 a deal was signed with Virgin Records, but success eluded them until the release of their third single in the autumn, the massive breakthrough hit ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me’.
Shortly after this Culture Club’s debut album ‘Kissing To Be Clever’, climbed to No.5 on the UK charts, while another non-album single ‘Time (Clock Of The Heart)’ reached No.3.
The band’s US success followed early in 1983 with the album and both singles riding high in the charts. A third single ‘I’ll Tumble 4 Ya’ was taken from the album in the US, providing additional Top 10 success.
By the time their second album ‘Colour By Numbers’ was released in autumn 1983, Culture Club were the most popular pop group in the world. ‘Colour By Numbers’ spawned ‘Karma Chameleon’ a transatlantic No.1, which sold over five million copies worldwide. Meanwhile the album was kept off the US No.1 spot for six consecutive weeks by Michael Jackson’s record-breaking ‘Thriller’.
However the band’s third album, 1984’s ‘Waking Up With The House On Fire’, failed to repeat their earlier success with the critics and on the charts. Its lead single ‘The War Song’ was their final Top 10 hit of the decade on both sides of the Atlantic.
George began a long battle against drug dependence, confirming the group’s break-up in 1987. That year he released his first solo single, a cover of the reggae classic ‘Everything I Own’, which rode a wave of public sympathy that culminated in a UK No.1.
In 1989 George embarked on a new dance orientated career having several hits across Europe with Jesus Loves You, which led on to him becoming established as one of Britain’s leading club DJs. He returned the UK and US Top 30s in 1992 with the theme song to the hit movie ‘The Crying Game’.
Jon and Mikey have established their own studios and Roy composes for movies and TV in Los Angeles.
Culture Club reunited in 1998, releasing the two-disc set ‘VH1 Storytellers/Greatest Hits’. The first captures the band live in the VH1 studios tackling both old and new material while the second is a compilation of re-mastered hits. The band also had a No.4 hit in the UK that year with ‘I Just Wanna Be Loved’.
Culture Club were the first band since The Beatles to achieve three top 10 hits from their debut album on the Billboard chart.