were a pop and New Romantic band primarily active in the 1980s. Boy George
(real name George O'Dowd), an active cross-dresser in London in the 1970s, got his professional start as an early member of Bow Wow
Wow. He then formed In Praise of Lemmings with Mikey Craig (bass), which became the Sex Gang Children after the addition of Jon Juede (guitar). After Jon Moss (drums, of Adam & the Ants
and The Damned
) joined, the group became known as Culture Club. Sude was replaced by Roy Hay (of Russian Bouquet) and recorded some demos for EMI, but this did not result in a contract. In 1982, Culture Club signed with Virgin Records and released two unsuccessful singles before the breakthrough success of "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", a massive British hit. The band's debut LP, Kissing to Be Clever, was also a hit and, by 1983, both the album and song were entering the American charts. Culture Club's popularity greatly expanded with the release of "Karma Chameleon" and Colour by Numbers in 1983. Its follow-up, Waking up with the House on Fire
was relatively unsuccessful in America but still a British hit, reaching #2 there.
During a 1985 break from the band, Boy George became addicted to heroin and his romantic relationship with Moss began to suffer. The band's comeback album, From Luxury to Heartache was a moderate success. In 1986, George announced his addiction and was soon thereafter arrested on charges of possession of cannabis. Michael Rudetski, keyboardist for From Luxury to Heartache died of a heroin overdose in George's home only a few days after his arrest; Rudetski's parents later filed legal action against George.
While fighting his addiction, Culture Club broke up. A sober George launched a solo career in 1992, releasing a few hits on both sides of the Atlantic. Boy George is now a respected dance music DJ.
Culture Club reformed in 1998, had a few Top 40 UK hits, and are rumoured to be working on a new album, due to be released in 2005.