Boy George Background information Born June 14, 1961 (1961-06-14) (age 46) Origin Eltham, London, England Genre(s) Pop
Dance Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, DJ Instrument(s) Vocals, Turntables Years active 1982 â" present Label(s) Plan A Records, Virgin Records Website http://www.iamboygeorge.com/
George Alan O'Dowd, better known as Boy George or Boi-Jorge (born June 14, 1961 in Eltham) is a rock singer-songwriter. George grew up in a large, working-class Irish family, which originated in Thurles, in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Currently in a happy relationship with Clifford, who he loves dearly.
O'Dowd was a part of the British new romantic movement which emerged in the late 1970s and was popularised in the early 1980s. He and Marilyn were regulars at 'The Blitz' (regulars being labelled as Blitz Kids), a highly stylised nightclub in London run by Steve Strange of the musical group Visage, and a place which spawned many early 1980s pop stars such as Spandau Ballet. Essentially the new romantics based their image on the coolness of David Bowie and high fashion, and the music of David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Marc Bolan and post punk New Wave.
O'Dowd gained fame with his group Culture Club during the 1980s. His music is often classified as blue-eyed soul, since he was heavily influenced by Rhythm and Blues and reggae. Early recordings with Culture Club showed that O'Dowd's vocals had an emotional quality which was reminiscent of American soul music of the 1960s and 1970s. His later solo work has also touched on glam rock influences and was particularly influenced by David Bowie and Iggy Pop.
Boy George is also known for his flamboyant and androgynous appearance back in the 80s and early 90s
Discovery Boy George's androgynous style caught the attention of music executive Malcolm McLaren, of Sex Pistols fame, who arranged for O'Dowd to perform with the group Bow Wow Wow, featuring Annabella Lwin, at various shows. He was christened Lieutenant Lush and he nearly stole the spotlight from Lwin.
Boy George's association with Bow Wow Wow ended soon afterwards, and he started his own group with bassist Mikey Craig. The group was to be called In Praise Of Lemmings, but the name was later abandoned. Jon Moss (who had drummed with The Damned, Adam and the Ants and London) then joined the group and became George's lover. The final member to join the band was Roy Hay (who at the time was guitarist in a band called Russian Bouquet), who was selected after the group's association with another guitarist, 'Suede', proved unsatisfactory. The group abandoned another name, Sex Gang Children, and settled on the name Culture Club after assessing that the group consisted of an Irish singer, a Jamaican-Briton on bass, a Jewish drummer, and an Englishman on guitar.
The band signed with Virgin Records in the UK and with Epic Records in America, and released its debut album Kissing To Be Clever in 1982. The album's third single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?", enjoyed massive success. It reached #1 in sixteen countries (#2 U.S.), and the group became a staple on American radio and the new MTV network. This single was followed by "Time (Clock Of The Heart)" (not on the UK LP), which reached #2, and "I'll Tumble 4 Ya", which reached #9. This gave Culture Club the distinction of being the first group since the Beatles to amass at least three top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 from a debut album. Their next album, Colour By Numbers was also a success. The single "Church Of The Poison Mind" (featuring Helen Terry) became a Top 10 hit, and "Karma Chameleon" became a #1 single in numerous countries around the world, including the U.S., where it stayed at #1 for four weeks, and the UK, where it was the best-selling single of the year, spending six weeks at #1. It stands as the group's biggest hit. "Miss Me Blind" and "It's A Miracle" were Top 5 and Top 20 hits respectively, and "Victims" was another Top 3 UK hit.
That George had become the main songwriter of the band became evident when Culture Club contributed to the movie soundtrack Electric Dreams. George and Roy Hay had already written "Love Lies Lost" for backing singer Helen Terry and a new tune "Passing Friend" for the upcoming Beach Boys album but the two Culture Club songs for Electric Dreams, "The Dream" and "Love is Love", was also written solely by George and Roy Hay. Moreover, the P. P. Arnold song "Electric Dreams" was credited only to George and Phil Pickett who also co-wrote "Karma Chameleon"
By now Boy George had become a household name in many countries around the world and he was a natural choice for one of the lead vocals on the Band Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas". In early 1986, he guest-starred on an episode of The A-Team entitled "Cowboy George", in which he played himself. The plot involved (ficticious) country singer Cowboy George being booked to play in a small rural town, to be used as a cover for an armed robbery, but due to a mix up Boy George arrives instead.
In late 1985, George had become addicted to drugs. The addiction quickly evolved into a heroin addiction and Culture Club started to lose its place musically. Their 1986 album From Luxury to Heartache dragged on for so long that producer Arif Mardin had to disband the sessions and leave it up to engineer Lew Hahn to record the final vocals. Songs like "Gusto Blusto" and "Reasons" took days for George to finish. Following the release of the album, rumours of George's addiction began to circulate, and by the summer of 1986, he announced that he was indeed addicted to drugs. In July, he was arrested by the British police for possession of cannabis. Several days later, keyboardist Michael Rudetski, who played on From Luxury to Heartache and had co-written "Sexuality" and "What Have I Got To Lose" with George, was found dead of a heroin overdose in George's home. An American Culture Club tour was cancelled and the group had disbanded by late 1986.
Still battling his heroin addiction and subsequent dependence on prescription narcotics, George started recording his first solo album. In 1987, Sold was released and George enjoyed several hit singles including "Everything I Own" (UK#1), "Keep Me In Mind" (UK#29), "To be Reborn" (UK#13) as well as the title song (UK#24).
Despite UK success, George never really managed to duplicate that success in the US, especially because he was not able to go to America because of the previous year's drug charges, though he did score a moderate hit with the song "Live My Life" (#40 US) from the Hiding Out soundtrack. His second US album High Hat comprised of songs from two of his solo British albums released after Sold. The R&B song "Don't Take My Mind On A Trip", produced by Teddy Riley, became the only hit from High Hat, reaching top 5 on the R&B chart.
His following release was a song to protest against the governing UK Conservative Party's legal restrictions on anyone working for a local authority promoting homosexuality, 'No Clause 28 (Emilio Pasquez Space Face Full Remix)' was a big underground acid house hit.
In 1989, after being presented with a demo of the track 'Everything Starts with an E' by ragamuffin artist MC Kinky of E-zee Posse, George formed his own label, More Protein. He also recorded under the name Jesus Loves You, (writing under the pseudonym Angela Dust), releasing two other underground club hits "After The Love" and "Generations Of Love", and "Bow Down Mister". With "Bow Down Mister", he returned to the UK top 30 in 1991. Inspired by his involvement in the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON), George had written the song during a trip to India and with its reminiscence of "Karma Chameleon" it was intended for the Culture Club reunion, which never came about. "Bow Down Mister" would become a signature song for Boy George but also for Culture Club during their tours in the late 1990s.
The original full-length version of "Bow Down Mister" features on Jesus Loves You only album, "The Martyr Mantras", released in 1990 in the UK (and a little later in 1991 in other countries, where either the cover had a label attached upon it, highlighting that Jesus Loves You was A project by Boy George, or the record was directly credited to Boy George only). The album also included the two previously mentioned underground club hits, as well as a third single taken from it, "One On One" (which, though it did not chart in the UK, became very popular in its single version, remixed by Massive Attack), the equally well-known "Love Hurts" (also remixed for the single version, it formed a double-A-side single with "Bow Down Mister", though the big success enjoyed by the latter ended up by overshadowing the former, otherwise a potentially strong singalong catchy tune), and finally the high energy remix of "No Clause 28" (which, originally released as an independent 12" maxi-single, already featured on "Boyfriend" album too).
On Saturdays 31 March 1990 to 6 April 1991, Boy George presented a weekly chat and music show on the Power Station satellite channel called Blue Radio, described as a three hour party with guests and games.
In 1992, George scored a hit with a version of the song "The Crying Game" (produced by the Pet Shop Boys), which was featured on the movie of the same name, and reached the top twenty of the Billboard Hot 100. Although he'd had solo hits in the UK, this would be his first and only big US pop hit since Culture Club's 1986 single "Move Away".
A lot of recordings were made between 1990 and 1994, but never surfaced. A pop and worldmusic-oriented album was scheduled for release by Jesus Loves You in 1992, named "Popularity Breeds Contempt", but never came out. Only three tracks with their respective remixed versions survived, ending up on the "Sweet Toxic Love" EP, released in the same year (which only reached #65 in the UK Chart). This contained the title-track (an evident endevour to duplicate the winning formula of "Bow Down Mister"), the original dance version of "Am I Losing Control?" (first, one of the five long tracks on "The Devil In Sister George" 1994 EP, and then included, in a shorter country version, simply re-titled "Losing Control", on 2002 "U Can Never B2 Straight"), and the rare track "Oh Lord" (which was only available on the vinyl maxi-single of the EP, and has never again resurfaced anywhere so far). The album (the tentative title of which, "Popularity Breeds Contemps", also survived as opening line spoken at the beginning of the 1993 collection called "At Worst: The Best of Boy George and Culture Club") was shelved, as it were, in favour of the recent growing interest in rock for George.
He released a rock-driven Cheapness And Beauty in 1995, but the album was not successful, although "Same Thing in Reverse" did become a minor US hit. Again, most critics were good (although some never understood the mix of acoustic ballads and country-folk tunes with aggressive glam rock tracks). It was clear that there were tensions between Virgin Records and Boy George at this time, and the album received almost no promotion.
A follow-up to Cheapness And Beauty, tentatively named "Too Spooky" was recorded in spring 1996 but shelved, especially due to problems with Virgin Records. Some of the tracks from those sessions appeared later on The Unrecoupable One Man Bandit Volume One, which was at first sold on internet only and then distributed by several minor labels.
Another project from the time was a new group that would include Boy George and two long-time musicians, John Themis and Richie Stevens. Initially named "Shallow", it was later re-named "Dubversive". The project took place in 1997 and was to include trip-hop, dub and reggae. The project was shelved, this time due to a lack of interest by record companies because of the group's lack of commercial appeal. Some songs from those sessions surfaced later on the 2002 Culture Club Box set and some others appeared on eBay in 2004.
On some other labels, several dance-oriented tracks were released in various countries. For example, "Love is Leaving" went top 3 in Italy and "When Will You Learn" reached the top positions in the Switzerland charts.
Around the turn of the century, Boy George collaborated on songs with dance-oriented acts. For example, "Why Go," a slow-paced track with Faithless, from their Sunday 8 PM LP, was later released in a remixed form in some European countries and Australia. A track was done with Groove Armada, named "Innocence Is Lost", but was only released on a promo 12" in 1999.
From 2001 to 2004, George was involved in the production of his hit musical "Taboo". It was performed in London in 2002-2003 and then was taken to Broadway for one hundred performances. Boy George was nominated for a Tony Awards for the "Best Musical Score", receiving good reviews about all the original songs included in the show.
In 2002, Boy George released U Can Never B2 Straight, an "unplugged" collection of rare and lesser known acoustic works. It contained unreleased tracks from previous years as well as some ballads from Cheapness And Beauty and the Culture Club album Don't Mind if I Do. It received the best reviews of Boy George's solo career, many of them highlighting his strong song writing abilities. The record was only released in the UK and Japan, and received almost no promotion from Virgin Records, only rising to 147 on the UK album charts.
From 2002 to 2004, under the pseudonym "the Twin", Boy George experimented in electronica, releasing limited edition 7" singles and promo records. Performed in small venues such as the Nag Nag Club, the material was considered innovative, but not commercially marketable. This period, however, was a very creative and liberating one for George; for "the Twin," could sing whatever he wanted.
An album recorded in the Spring of 2003 was also shelved. A collaboration with electronic combo T-Total, the album was a collection of covers of songs by Jefferson Airplane, David Bowie, John Lennon, Dusty Springfield, T-Rex, and the Eurythmics among others. It is suggested that Boy George's numerous abandoned projects are due to his broad interest and need to explore other creative mediums such as photography, writing, and fashion.
On his "More Protein" website, George did announce another unreleased album, named Straight, for summer 2005. It was to include tracks like "Panic" and "Talking Love". Fortunately, four tracks were released as a sampler with the book of the same name in 2005. A reggae-ton oriented EP was also planned for August 2006 but was never released. Some recent tracks are now shared by George himself on his YouTube account, his three myspace pages and sometimes on his official site.
In January of 2007, Boy George, released "Time Machine" on Plan A Records. "Time Machine" was co-written by double Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter Amanda Ghost who also co-wrote "You're Beautiful" with James Blunt.
Australian singer Kylie Minogue asked to work with George and Amanda Ghost for her upcoming album, which is set to be released in 2007. It will not be the first time that George has given songs to other artists. In the past, he shared compositions with the Beach Boys, Caron Wheeler, Charlotte Church, Mica Paris and many others. He also wrote many of the tracks for the artists on his own dance oriented music label, More Protein, such as Eve Gallagher, Zee Asha, Lippy Lou, and E-Zee Possee.
Culture Club reunions
In July 1998, a reunited Culture Club performed three dates in Monte Carlo and then joined Human League and Howard Jones in a "Big Rewind" tour of the US. The following month, the band appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and made an appearance in Britain, their first in 14 years. Later that year, the band had a Top 5 hit in the UK with "I Just Wanna Be Loved" and later a top 30 hit with "Your Kisses are Charity".
In 2006, the band decided to again reunite and tour; however, George declined to join them for this tour. As a result, two members of Culture Club replaced George with vocalist Sam Butcher. George has expressed his displeasure at the turn of events. Finally, after one showcase and one live show, that project was shelved.
With George's relationship with Moss over, and with a poor reaction to the band's third album, George suffered several setbacks, and ultimately turned to drugs. This caused the downward spiral of the group, and they eventually disbanded, as George could no longer work with Moss.
George struggled against his severe heroin addiction for many years. He would appear in public under the influence of the drug, and even attempted to do concerts in such a state. Addictions to other drugs followed, and George's younger brother David, in an attempt to save his famous sibling from death, went on UK national television and blew the whistle on George. Some of George's closest friends had already died of overdoses and co-writer on the From Luxury to Heartache album, Michael Rudetsky, was found dead of a heroin overdose in George's home in August 1986.
On October 7, 2005, Boy George was arrested in Manhattan on suspicion of possessing cocaine, (BBC Online Report) and appeared in court on 1 February, 2006 (BBC News report).
On June 17, 2006, a Manhattan judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Boy George after the former Culture Club singer failed to appear in court. After another court date was set, George was fined US$1000 and required to perform community service.
On 14 August, 2006, Boy George reported for garbage duty, picking up trash for the New York City Department of Sanitation as part of his community service. As a result of the media frenzy, he was allowed to perform his community service inside the Sanitation Department grounds. This garbage duty was assigned by the court for 'wasting police time', after he admitted to falsely reporting a burglary in his Manhattan apartment. 
On 30 April, 2007, Boy George was arrested for allegedly assaulting and falsely imprisoning a Norwegian man in his home in East London.
Harper Collins published the autobiography of Boy George, Take It Like A Man, in 1995. The book was released to coincide with the timing of George's solo record, Cheapness And Beauty.
In 2005, Century published Straight, his second autobiographical book, written with author Paul Gorman. This stayed in The Sunday Times bestseller list for six weeks and a paperback version with new material covering his experiences since publication of the hardback is being readied for Spring 2007. Gorman has also ghost written Cry Salty Tears, the memoirs of mother Dinah O'Dowd, which was published by Arrow Books in January 2007.
When George was with Culture Club, much was made of his androgynous appearance, and there was speculation about his sexuality. When asked the question in interviews, George gave various answers. At times he suggested he was bisexual. He gave a famous, oft-quoted response to an interviewer that "I prefer a nice cup of tea to sex". 
George wrote of his relationship with Kirk Brandon, the singer with Spear of Destiny and the earlier Theatre of Hate, prompting Brandon to begin a High Court action against George. George, taking the witness stand, faced a "malicious falsehood" charge brought against him by Brandon, now married and a father, who denied that he once had a sexual relationship with George. Brandon lost. During the trial, Boy George had claimed that Kirk Brandon had been the love of his life and that he still loved him.
In Take It Like A Man, George also told his side of his secret relationship with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss. He stated many of the songs he wrote for Culture Club were directed at Moss. He also alleged that Moss had broken off his engagement to be with George, and that Moss was never comfortable in a same-sex relationship, although Moss was bisexual. During the Culture Club reunion, though, Moss did acknowledge that he had loved George deeply, although now he is married and has several children.
George's striking looks inspired many Boy George look-alike contests around the world, and his face became the image of Culture Club. He became an alternative teen idol, as well as a gay icon.
Boy George remains a figure in the public eye. Although he has not reached the same level of success as a solo artist, he has a second career as a notable music DJ. He started DJing in the early 90's and came to the attention of legendary rave/house promoters Fantazia who asked him to mix 1 of the discs on the 2 volume in their new compilation series Fantazia The House Collection 2. This compilation was a success in the UK, going gold. The album was also sold to Sony for European-wide release. London mega club Ministry of Sound hired him to compile one of their first CDs, and it promptly sold 100,000 copies. He then completed some compilations for them, five of them being the Annual I to V.
In 2002/2003 he starred in the London musical Taboo, based on his life (George didn't play himself, opting instead to take on the persona of Australian-born performance artist Leigh Bowery). Taboo was a great success in London's West End, though a Rosie O'Donnell-produced run in New York was short-lived (100 performances only, versus the two-year run in England, and several nominations for best musical soundtrack).
In 1998, Boy George began writing a weekly column in The Daily Express and hosted a weekly radio show on the Galaxy Radio Network. During 2003, he presented a weekly show on London radio station LBC 97.3 for six months.
He wrote the foreword for a feng shui book called "Practical Feng Shui" by Simon G. Brown (published in 1998).
He also appeared as a guest on the British comedy-talk show The Kumars at No. 42.
In March 2005 he was the guest host for an episode of The Friday Night Project, for Channel 4 television.
On 20 October 2006 it was announced that he will write some tracks for Kylie Minogue (News.com.au story).
Boy George has also now, since some years, his own fashion line, called "B-Rude". B-Rude has been present in some fashion shows in cities like London, New-York and Moscow
* He is working right now on a forthcoming solo LP, which apparently will be including some ragga, reggae, pop and acoustic songs.
On 24 December 2006, George appeared on a one-off BBC TV program "Duet Impossible" where he performed with himself from the 1980s and joked about his street cleaning.
On 25 February 2007, George was special guest DJ at GLBT nightspot, The Court Hotel in Perth, Western Australia.
On 4 March 2007, George performed as a DJ at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney for the Mardi Gras Festival.
On 11 May 2007, George performed as a DJ at the launch party for the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, UAE.
George recently cancelled his planned 2007 October tour via an announcement on his official website. Although the exact reason is not known, it is cited as being due to "last minute commitments" that clashed with this particular set of performances.
May - August George toured as a DJ, visiting Blackpool, Coventry, Rome, Naples, Amsterdam, Münich, Mantova, Barcelona, Lyon, Paris, Cannes, Norway, Sao Paolo, Rio De Janeiro, Beirut, Budapest, Mykonos.
George announces special residency at the Shaw Theatre in London, starting 23 January 2008 with a full tour in Europe/UK / US and Canada from May to November 2008.
THANK'S TO GhostMan1980 TO RECORD THEM ON YOUTUBE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOi4a1XwimA
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