The band was formed in the 80s and has sold over 50 million records. In the UK, they gained 12 Top 40 hit singles. But what is the history of the Culture Club and what are their most famous songs? Here is 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 emerging New Romantic scene and are considered one of the most influential groups of the 1980s.
Culture Club is comprised of Boy George (lead singer), Roy Hay, (guitar and keyboards), Mikey Craig (bass guitar) and formerly Jon Moss (drums and percussion).
The band formed after Boy George, who was performing under the stage name of Lieutenant Lush with Bow Wow Wow, decided to form his own band after his tenure ended with the group. After realising they had an Irish gay man as the lead singer, a black Brit on bass, and blonde Englishman on guitar and keyboards and a Jewish drummer, they decide to call themselves Culture Club.
At first, they recorded demos paid for by EMI records, but after they decided not to sign the group, Virgin Records signed them on instead. Their demos were recorded in Europe. Epic Records released their albums in the US and the rest of the world.
Culture Club was also part of the New Romantic movement. This era was forged in underground clubs in London and Birmingham - characterised by flamboyant, eccentric fashion inspired by fashion boutiques. Culture Club’s music is a combination of British new wave, American soul and pop, elements of Jamaican reggae, and even country.
Their inspirations stemmed from Bowie, Marc Bolan and Roxy Music, and the glam rock era. Boy George’s androgynous style caught the attention of the public and media in the early 80s.
What are Culture Club’s best-known songs?
The band has 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 US.
Their most famous hits including but not limited to:
- Do You Really Want to Hurt Me
- Time (Clock of the Heart)
- I’ll Tumble 4 Ya
- Church of the Poison Mind
- Karma Chameleon
- Miss Me Blind
- It’s a Miracle
- The War Song
- Move Away
- I Just Wanna Be Loved
Karma Chameleon was the biggest-selling single of 1983 in the UK and was number one in 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, Colour by Numbers, appeared on Rolling Stone’s magazine 100 Best Albums of the 1980s and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Of course, they have also won a number of awards. In 1984, the band won 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 were 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 Best Art Direction. In 1987, they received another nomination for an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group Video Artist. In 2006, Karma Chamelon won the Q classic song award.
Are 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 break up, and tension with the rest of the band led George to turn to drugs as a relief. By 1986, he had become addicted, and in July of that 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 has 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, was not very successful.
Culture Club kept touring through 2002, but went on a hiatus after George’s career as a DJ was launched. In 2011, they reunited again and had an album planned in 2014, but that was never released. In 2015 and 2016 they toured again, and by 2021, Moss officially left the band.