Culture Club are an English pop band that was primarily active as a recording unit during the early–mid 1980s. The band achieved world renown with a string of hits in the pop/rock and blue-eyed soul veins.
Members: Boy George (vocals), Roy Hay (guitar, electric sitar, piano, keyboards, synthesizer), Mikey Craig (bass, piano), Jon Moss (drums, percussion), Jon Suede (guitar, 1981)
The band was founded by clubgoer/aspiring singer George O’Dowd following a brief stint with Bow Wow Wow, with whom he performed under the alias Lieutenant Lush. Moss had drummed for the bands London and The Edge in addition to brief stints with The Damned and Adam & the Ants. With Craig and eventually Hay in the fold, the band settled on the name Culture Club to reflect the cultural, national, and religious diversity of the members. To avoid confusion over his androgynous style of dress, O’Dowd adopted the stage-name Boy George.
Securing a deal with Virgin Records, Culture Club tested waters during the summer of 1982 with the clean, percussive funk-pop of and the tropical steelpan flavors of before breaking globally with the slow, sensitive lovers rock of Kissing to Be Clever.
Augmented by studio horns and tuned/untuned percussion, Culture Club exercise their cross-cultural musical eclecticism across the nine tracks that comprise the LP. Exoticism is invoked in the and in the
For the 1982 holiday season, Culture Club gifted listeners with “Time (Clock of the Heart).” With its shimmering Philly strings and glockenspiel/Coral sitar theme, the poignant ballad became a global smash.
With the world at its knees, Culture Club made their grandest statement with Colour by Numbers — a lavish tour de force on which the band are embellished with a vast plethora of instruments, multi-layered vocals, and production treatments. The album is named in ode to the band’s colorful dress sense, as displayed on the cover courtesy of famed fashion photographer Jaime Morgan.
Decline and Dissolution
Beset with inner-conflicts, Culture Club imploded upon the release of their strained fourth album From Luxury to Heartache in 1986. Rebounding from personal woes, George launched a semi-successful solo career the following year and subsequently parlayed into DJing work. From the late-’90s onward, the band has sporadically regrouped both with and without its classic lineup.
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