Boy George (born George Alan O'Dowd, 14.6.1961)
Boy George is an English singer and songwriter, who rose to fame in the 1980s with his band Culture Club.
Boy George: Childhood
Boy George was born in London, to Gerald and Dinah O'Dowd. His parents were originally from Thurles, County Tipperary and he has five brothers and sisters.
In the 1980s, Boy George and his friend Marilyn became frequent attendees of The Blitz nightclub, which was run by Steve Strange, of the group Visage. Boy George briefly worked at The Blitz as a cloakroom attendant.
Boy George: Music Career
When Boy George's outlandish dress sense caught the attention of music mogul Malcolm McLaren (the former manager of the Sex Pistols), he arranged for an audition with Bow Wow Wow. However, Boy George decided to form his own band, with the bass player Mikey Craig. They were later joined by Jon Moss on drums, who had previously played with the Damned and Adam and the Ants. The last member to join was Roy Hay.
Culture Club's debut single, 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?' was released in 1982, after they signed to Virgin Records in the UK and Epic Records in the US. The song was a number one hit in the UK and was followed by another Top 10 hit, ''Time (Clock of the Heart)'. Culture Club became the first group since The Beatles to have three Top 10 US hits from their first album.
Colour By Numbers was Culture Club's second album. The track 'Church of the Poisoned Mind' featured Helen Terry and 'Karma Chameleon' added to their growing list of hits, along with 'Miss Me Blind' and 'Victims'.
The various members of Culture Club contributed to the soundtrack to the film Electric Dreams, with P.P. Arnold also collaborating with them.
Culture Club's third album, Waking Up With the House on Fire did not sell as well as its two predecessors, though 'The War Song' was a hit single. Boy George sang one of the lead vocals on the Band Aid charity single 'Do They Know It's Christmas?'
It has been reported that by 1985, Boy George had developed a heroin addiction. Around the time that the band's fourth album (From Luxury To Heartache) was released, Boy George was arrested for possession of cannabis. Michael Rudetski, a former Culture Club collaborator, was found dead in Boy George's home, from a heroin overdose. Soon after this, the band disbanded.
Boy George went on to launch a solo career, with his debut album entitled Sold. In 1989, Boy George started to record under the pseudonym Jesus Loves You and released tracks on his own label More Protein. He also had a hit with the Pet Shop Boys in 1992, entitled 'The Crying Game'.
In 1995, Boy George release a more rock-based Cheapness and Beauty, though the album was not a success. In 1997, Boy George formed another group with John Themis and Richie Stevens, named Dubversive, though they failed to attract any label interest. 1999 saw Boy George collaborating with Faithless on 'Why Go', from their Sunday 8PM album. He also collaborated with Groove Armada.
Boy George continued to work throughout the 2000s, mixing compilations for Ministry of Sound and Fantazia. He also starred in the West End musical Taboo, which was based on his life story (though he did not play himself).
In 2002, Boy George released an acoustic compilation, U Can Never B2 Straight. He then turned to electronica, releasing music under the moniker The Twin. Five years later, he released Time Machine on Plan A Records, which was co-written by Amanda Ghost (who has also written for James Blunt, among others). Boy George has also co-written tracks for Mica Paris, Charlotte Church and the Beach Boys.
Boy George: Personal Life
In 1995, Kirk Brandon (of Spear of Destiny and Theatre of Hate) sued Boy George for libel after Boy George claimed that they had had a love affair, in his autobiography Take it Like A Man. The case was won by Boy George.
Boy George has been in trouble with the law on a number of occasions, for cocaine possession, failure to appear in court, and assault and false imprisonment. For the latter offence, Boy George was forced to wear an ankle monitor tag and as a result, he was not allowed to enter the final series of Celebrity Big Brother, which eventually starred Lady Sovereign and Vinnie Jones.