Boy George:Blue-Eyed Soul Musician

About Boy George:

"An actor is a guy who, if you ain't talking about him, he ain't listening."

Boy George was born George Alan O'Dowd at Barnehurst Hospital in Bexley, Kent on 14 June 1961, to Jeremiah and Dinah O'Dowd (née Glynn), who were originally from Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland. One of six children, he lived with his family on the Middle Park Estate at Joan Crescent London SE9 and attended Eltham Green School in Eltham.

Boy George  is a British singer and songwriter, who was part of the English New Romantic movement which emerged in the late 1970s to the early 1980s. His music is often classified as blue-eyed soul, which is influenced by rhythm and blues and reggae. His 1990s and 2000s-era solo music has glam influences, such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop.

During the 1980s, Boy George was the lead singer of the Grammy and Brit Award winning pop band Culture Club where he became known for his soulful voice and androgynous appearance. He also founded and was lead singer of Jesus Loves You during the period 1989–1992. Being involved in many activities (among them songwriting, DJing, writing books, designing clothes and photography), he has released fewer music recordings in the last decade.

Boy George's androgynous style of dressing caught the attention of music executive Malcolm McLaren (previously the manager of the Sex Pistols), who arranged for George to perform with the group Bow Wow Wow. Going by the stage name Lieutenant Lush, his tenure with Bow Wow Wow proved problematic with lead singer Annabella Lwin. George eventually left the group and started his own band with bassist Mikey Craig. They were joined by Jon Moss (who had drumming stints with The Damned and Adam and the Ants), and then guitarist Roy Hay. Realizing they had a cross-dressing Irish singer (George), a black-Briton (Craig), a Jewish drummer (Moss), and an ethnic Englishman (Hay), they settled on the name Culture Club, referring to the various ethnic backgrounds of the members.


1. Heroin Addiction:
By the late 1980s, George had been struggling with heroin addiction for many years. He attempted to perform concerts while under its influence. Addictions to other drugs soon followed. Determined to save George's life, his younger brother David made an appearance on UK national television and discussed George's drug habit, which George had been publicly denying at that time. In 1986, Boy George was arrested for heroin possession as part of "Operation Culture."

After the dissolution of Culture Club in 1986, Boy George entered treatment for his addiction. He was prescribed narcotics to treat his addiction to heroin. In kicking his heroin addiction, he then became addicted to the prescription narcotics that were used during his treatment. In 1987, he released his first solo album, Sold, which garnered mild success in Europe.

2. Relationship:
In 1995, Kirk Brandon sued George for libel claiming that George mentioned a love affair between them in George's autobiography, Take It Like a Man. George won the court case and Brandon was ordered to pay £200,000 to Virgin Records, EMI Virgin Music and the book publisher in costs. Brandon declared himself bankrupt, which resulted in Boy George paying over £60,000 in legal fees.

3. Cocaine Possesion:
On 7 October 2005, George was arrested in Manhattan on suspicion of cocaine possession and falsely reporting a burglary. George denied that the drug was his. In court on 1 February 2006, the cocaine possession charge was dropped and George pleaded guilty to falsely reporting a burglary. He was sentenced to five days of community service, fined US$1,000 and ordered to attend a drug rehabilitation program.

On 17 June 2006, a Manhattan judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Boy George after he failed to appear in court for a hearing on why George wanted to change his sentence for the false burglary report. George's attorney informed the court that he had advised George not to appear at that hearing

4. Community Service Problem:
On 14 August 2006, George reported to the New York City Department of Sanitation for his court-ordered community service. As a result of the swarming media coverage, he was allowed to finish his community service inside the Sanitation Department grounds.

In February 2007 interview, the performer explained: "People have this idea of Boy George now, particularly the media: that I'm tragic, fucked up. I mean, I'm all those things, but I'm also lots of other things. Yes, I've had my dark periods, but that isn't all I am."

5.False imprisonment conviction:
On 5 December 2008, George was convicted in Snaresbrook Crown Court, London, of the assault and false imprisonment of Audun Carlsen—a Norwegian who was paid £300 at the end of a session (which included sex) in George's apartment on their first encounter. On 16 January 2009, George was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment for these offences.

George was initially incarcerated at HM Prison Pentonville but was then transferred to HM Prison Highpoint North. He was given early release after four months for good behaviour on 11 May 2009. George was required to wear an ankle monitor and submit to a curfew for the remainder of his sentence.

On 23 December 2009, George had his request to appear on the final series of Celebrity Big Brother (to be broadcast on Channel 4) turned down by the Probation Service. Richard Clayton QC, representing the Probation Service, said George's participation would pose "a high level of risk" to the service's reputation. Clayton argued that if he used the show to promote his status as a celebrity and earn "a lucrative sum of money" it could undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system.

6. Sexual Orientation:
When George was with Culture Club, much was made of his androgynous appearance, and there was speculation about his sexuality. Although he never flatly denied that he was gay, when asked in interviews about his sexual orientation, George gave various answers. He gave a famous, oft-quoted response to an interviewer that he preferred "a nice cup of tea" to sex.

In Take It Like a Man, George stated that he had secret relationships with punk rock singer Kirk Brandon and Culture Club drummer Jon Moss. He stated many of the songs he wrote for Culture Club were about his relationship with Moss.

In 2006, in an episodic documentary directed by Simon George titled The Madness of Boy George, George declared on camera he was "militantly gay". In a 2008 documentary Living with Boy George, he talks about his first realisation he was gay, and when he first told his parents. He discloses that he understands why men fall in love with one another as well as with women.

"I would rather have a cup of tea than sex."

7.Transfer of Icon to Church of Cyprus:
In January 2011, George transferred an 18th-century icon of Christ to the Church of Cyprus. The icon, which had adorned his home for 26 years, had been looted from the church of St Charalampus from the village of New Chorio, near Kythrea. George had originally purchased the icon from a London art dealer eleven years after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. He returned the icon at the Saints Anargyroi Church, Highgate, North London.

Interesting Facts:
1. He Overcame a heroin addiction which nearly killed him c. 1987; was treated by electro-acupuncture, as was Eric Clapton in the 1970s.

2. He Was in a longtime relationship with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss.

3. In the Independent on Sunday [UK] 2006 Pink List - an list of the most influential gay men and women - Boy George came no. 78, down from no. 42.

4. Culture Club has put a new single out, "Your Kisses Are Charity." A new album ("Don`t Mind If I Do") is scheduled for release later this year.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. ‘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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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’.

4. In 2002, he released his album ‘U Can Never Be 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.

5. 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’.

6. 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.

7. His musical, Taboo, performed at The Venue, was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theater Award as the The Hilton Awards for Best New Musical of 2002.

8. He Was nominated for Broadway`s 2004 Tony Award as Best Score (Music and/or Lyrics) for "Taboo."

The Story:

Jon Moss, drummer

We made this in the very early days of drum machines. You’d find yourself working with a box about the size of a cigarette packet – and a manual nine times bigger. One day we started to fiddle around with it, and this little rhythm came back. We all loved reggae, and it turned into a reggae song. When we started mixing it, I was horrified – it was all rooted in the bass drum, making it sound very German, so I reversed it and made the top end of the percussion louder. If I hadn’t, it might not have been a hit.

When we played it to Virgin, everyone at the meeting stood up and started clapping. It seemed obvious we had a massive hit on our hands. What was weird about the band back in the early 1980s was that we didn’t have a manager. But I knew it would be all right: the stars seemed to be coming into alignment. For example, we got a slot on Top of the Pops because someone else was ill – it mightn't been Shakin’ Stevens – and with that the Red Sea parted, and whatever problems came along were solved.

I imagine the song is about me. I think most of the songs are. I was a muse for Boy George, for better or worse. There was a lot of subjectivity in his writing – “Oh, everything’s happening to me, oh, you didn’t call me” – a lot of assuming other people don’t have their own problems. But we’re all much older now. It’s served me quite well over the years, being the inspiration for someone.

Boy George, singer

Jon wasn’t my muse. I wrote it about another former partner, Kirk Brandon. But when you write songs about other people, they’re really about yourself anyway. A lot of those early songs, like Time and Victims, were all “woe is me”. I did play the victim. That was the role I took on: “Oh, why are you doing this to me?” Back in the day, I spent so much time trying to change the people I was in love with – and not trying to change myself.

I remember writing it in a flat in central London. Jon’s friends were smoking weed, and that’s where the idea was formed. I jotted some lyrics down on a piece of paper and put it in my pocket. The opening section, which is a very high falsetto, I only ever sang once – during the recording. Once I’d done it, I knew I’d never do it again. When the tape broke, there was talk about me having to redo it. I said no, fix the tape.

I thought the song was too personal to be a hit and I didn’t want it to be a single. I went to Virgin and stomped my feet and sat on the stairs saying: “You’re going to ruin our career before we’ve even started!” Our audience needed something to dance to, and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me was too slow, too personal, too long. Everything about it was wrong. So its success was a big education for me: I learned that being personal was the key to touching people.

There are two stories about our Top of the Pops appearance. One was that Shakey was too unwell to appear, and the other is that Elton John had refused. So we’ve got either Shakey or Elton to thank for being here 33 years later. I was barefoot at that performance, as a homage to Sandie Shaw. I told her that recently, and she was quite surprised. When you’re 19, you have much nicer feet.

"Separation penetrates the disappearing person like a pigment and steeps him in gentle radiance."

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