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Culture Club was a British New Wave band with an eclectic sound influenced by Soul, Reggae and Glam Rock.

As part of the same New Romantic fashion movement that propelled bands like Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet to fame in The Eighties, the group had a series of hugely successful hit singles on both sides of the Atlantic before splitting up in the middle of the decade. The band consisted of Mikey Craig on bass, Jon Moss on drums and Roy Hay on guitar and keyboards. The most famous member of the group was the androgynous, flamboyant lead singer Boy George, a charismatic front man with a distinctive soulful voice.

Their first album (Kissing To Be Clever) brought them hits in both Britain and America, including "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?", "Time (Clock Of The Heart)" and "I'll Tumble 4 Ya", and established them as one of the most popular and talked about pop groups of the early 1980s. Their peak came with their sophomore long-player (Colour By Numbers), which sold four million copies in America, launched the international number-one hit "Karma Chameleon" and secured the band the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

While further successes followed, Culture Club weren't able to top what they achieved with Colour By Numbers. At the same time, tensions were running high within the band; in particular, George and Jon, (who had been involved in a clandestine romantic relationship) started to grow distant from one another and could become physically violent towards each other. By the time George was arrested for possession of heroin in the mid-1980s, the band was essentially finished.

Recently portrayed in a Boy George Biopic on The BBC (Worried About the Boy), they've surprised fans and the press alike with their announcement of a reunion tour and album of new material for 2012.


Tropes

  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: The name comes from the mutlicultural backgrounds of the members, as well as the diverse influences on their musical style.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: In the early days, some mistook Boy George for a girl. He took this misconception in good humour (a lot of the time he seemed to be playing it up to bother the rock critics, who shied away from addressing his androgynous image) and accepted a Grammy with the words:

  Thanks America. You've got style, you've got taste, and you know a good drag queen when you see one.

  • Even Better Sequel: Their second album, Colour By Numbers, is widely recognised as their best.
  • Face of the Band: Boy George.
  • Karma Houdini: The topic of the song "Karma Chameleon" (although the chameleon gets his comeuppance in the video).
  • Lucky Charms Title: "I'll Tumble 4 Ya".
  • New Wave: While they're usually put under the pretty broad category of New Wave, Culture Club's albums had songs influenced by reggae, soul, glam rock, soft rock, power ballads and Tamla Motown.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Before Culture Club, George occasionally performed with the Malcolm Mc Laren group Bow Wow Wow until he was kicked out for overshadowing the lead singer.
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