Singers » BOY GEORGE
Boy George, born as George Alan O’Dowd, is internationally known for emerging as a creative artist from England during the English New Romanticism movement in the 1980s where artists used to wear bizarre clothing and outrageous make-up to express themselves. George became one of the pioneers of the movement and received acclaim with his rhythm, blues and reggae style singing and preposterous cross-dressing. He was discovered by the former producer of ‘Sex Pistols’ and was made a part of the already existing group ‘Bow Wow Wow’ but his talent and unique style compelled him to form his own band called ‘Culture Club’. It was during his ‘Culture Club’ days that George was recognized world over with hit singles like ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?’ and ‘Karma Chameleon’ and started to be known as ‘blue-eyed soul’. George worked on his solo career as well for years and experimented with dance and electronic music, collaborating with DJ and producers like Kinky Roland. For a good part of his life, George has been involved with drugs like cannabis and heroin and many a times was put behind the bars for possessing these drugs. He has served a lot of time in jail and rehabilitation centers to straighten up his life. George is also a writer, he not only writes song lyrics but has also written two autobiographical books called ‘Take It Like a Man’ and ‘Straight’.
The New Romantic Movement was emerging in the U.K. around 1980s and men in creative business started to wear androgynous clothes and make-up. George’s flamboyant style caught the attention of Malcolm McLaren and he joined ‘Bow Wow Wow’.
George formed his own band with bassist Mikey Craig, drummer Jon Moss and Roy Hay. They had people from different ethnic cultures and beliefs in their group that is why they decided that their band will be called ‘Culture Club’.
Culture club’s first album ‘Kissing to Be Clever’ came out in 1982 and the hit single ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?’ became a huge international hit, establishing George’s rapport as a talented singer all over the world.
In 1983, Culture Club’s second album came out ‘Colour by Numbers’ which became a cult hit in the UK. Its singles ‘Church of the Poison Mind’ and ‘Karma Chameleon’ became number one in 16 countries.
Although everyone was expecting their third album ‘Waking Up with the House on Fire’, released in 1984, to be a smash like the first two, the album received a lukewarm response.
In 1986, he starred in an episode of the television series ‘The A-Team’. He played himself in the episode.
The band’s fourth album was ‘From Luxury To Heartache’. But as soon as the album came out, the band was overshadowed with controversies. George was arrested for the possession of cannabis and keyboardist of the band was found dead of heroin overdose.
In 1987, he released his solo album ‘Sold’ while he was struggling with his heroin addiction. He started taking narcotics to treat his problem but ended up with a prescribed drugs addiction. The album was a success in Europe.
In 1988 and 1989, three of his solo albums were released: ‘Tense Nervous Headache’, ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘High Hat’. During the same time, he also started his own record label ‘More Protein’ and released many underground hits under it.
George became a weekly chart and music show presenter from 1990-1991 on the Power Satellite channel called Blue Radio. He also received recognition with the song ‘The Crying Game’, a song he sang for the movie ‘The Crying Game’.
In 1992, his record company was supposed to release a pop and world music album, ‘Popularity Breeds Contempt’, sung by the band ‘Jesus Loves You’. But the project was never completed and the album never got released.
George always wanted to try his hand at rock and released a rock album called ‘Cheapness and Beauty’ in 1995. The album was his experimental venture but it did not do very well commercially. He also starred in a London musical ‘Taboo’.
In 2002, he released his album ‘U Can Never B2 Straight’, which was a compilation of various unreleased songs and ballads. The album was a huge success and helped George in getting recognition for his song writing abilities.
In the following years until 2004, he experimented in electronic and released a few albums under the pseudonym of ‘The Twin’. The albums included: ‘ 7” ’, ‘ 12” ’ and ‘Yum Yum’. In his experimentation he did covers of various songs.
In 2003, he again did a presenting job on a weekly show on the London radio station LBC 97.3. He also guest appeared on the British television on ‘The Kumars at No. 42’ and on ‘The Friday Night Project’.
George released two electronic-dance collaborations in 2007. He also released an EP called ‘Disco Abomination’ on the internet. It included the versions of old songs released by the German producer Kinky Roland.
In 2009, he signed a new deal and released an album titled ‘Ordinary Alien – The Kinky Roland Files’. The album featured old tracks remixed by George’s dance partner Kinky. He also started taking part in the ‘Night of the Proms’.
‘Culture Club’ reunited for two live concerts in Dubai and Sydney in 2011 and the band announced that they were recording to come up with their reunion album.
In 2013, he released the album ‘Coming Home’. The album was first released digitally and it reached on number 2 on the Juno Download Chart. It was also declared that the album he wrote longtime back, ‘This Is What I Do’, will be released.
George’s first two albums with his band ‘Culture Club’ – ‘Kissing to Be Clever’ and ‘Colour By Numbers’ made him into a famous international phenomena. Songs like ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?’ and ‘Karma Chameleon’ are still quite popular.
Boy George was born in Bexley, Kent to Jeremiah and Dinah O’Dowd. He had a big family with four brothers and one sister. To stand out of the crowd, George used to dress outlandishly.
He attended the Eltham Green School but did not conform to the typical image of a student and used to exhibit his bold ideas and preposterous style of dressing and behaving. This became the reason for his expulsion.
When George was thrown out of the school, he had to do petty jobs to sustain himself since even at home he was not fully accepted for who he was. He worked as a fruit picker, milliner, etc.
George has dealt with legal issues almost all his life, whether it was in the late 1980s when he was arrested for heroin possession or when Kirk Brandon sued him for mentioning their love affair in his autobiography.
He was arrested in 2005 in Manhattan on the possession of cocaine and was sentenced to 5 days of community service and 1000 US dollars in fine. He was also convicted of the assault on Audun Carlsen in the following years.
George was in secret love relationships with artists like Kirk Brandon and Jon Moss.
There are two documentaries made on George’s life, ‘The Madness of Boy George’ and ‘Living with Boy George’.
He has written two autobiographical books ‘Take It Like a Man’ and ‘Straight’.