BOY GEORGE SOLO CAREER
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".
George made many recordings between 1990 and 1994, but none 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). The album (the tentative title of which, "Popularity Breeds Contempt", 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 positive (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, probably 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 the 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. "When Will You Learn" was also nominated for the Best Dance Recording, at the Grammy Awards.
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. There was also another version who toured the UK. 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. The limited releases included four 500 to 520 copies 7", one limited 12" (for Sanitized) and a promo cd, 1000 copies 13-track album Yum Yum. Two years later, it was released via digital outlets like itunes.
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 were shared by George himself in late 2006 and early 2007 on his YouTube account, his three myspace pages and sometimes on his official site.
In January 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 was set to be released in 2007 under the name "X". 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.
In 2007, two electronica/dance collaborations were released in limited editions. In the spring, the track "You're Not The One" was remixed from an old demo and released with the dance combo "Loverush UK" reaching the top 20 in the UK dance chart. It was a digital-only release, available in many digital retailers like iTunes. Also on iTunes, a new collaboration with trip-hop/electro band Dark Globe, called "Atoms", was released on November 19th. The single contains eight versions, from the slow original to electro remixes by Ariya and Henrik Schwarz. There was also talks about releasing a dance-oriented EP in collaboration with the fansite 100 % Boy, but that was never done. That EP would have included new remixes of tracks like "Turn 2 Dust", remixes of covers like "Don't Wanna See Myself" and "Go Your Own Way", and most of the versions included would have been remixes done by German producer Kinky Roland.
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