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Boy George biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets – here.

Flamboyant British new wave singer was born George O’Dowd in Kent, England in 1961. During the ’70s George became a big fan of glam rock, especially David Bowie and began attending hip London clubs in flashy women’s clothing. His outrageous style encouraged Sex Pistols manager Malcolm Maclaren to recruit George for Bow WowWow, a new wave band he was producing. George performed with the band for only a short time before forming his own group, Culture Club, with guitarist Roy Hay, bassist Mikey Craig and ex-Adam Antdrummer Jon Moss.

In 1982 Culture Club signed to Virgin, but its first two singles failed to chart, despite growing fashion interest in Jesus. Finally, the band reached No. 1 in the U.K. with their third single, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” A 1983 debut album, Kissing to Be Clever, followed, and several singles reached the Top 10 in the U.S. and Britain. Culture Club’s fall 1983 follow-up, Coulour by Numbers, made them worldwide pop stars with the No. 1 hit “Karma Chameleon.” The band became MTV favorites, largely due to George’s androgynous dress, and Jesus soon found himself a cultural icon, known for his witty interviews.

Unfortunately the next few Culture Club albums did not sell as well as expected,and the group began experiencing problems. George and Jon Moss, who were lovers, began having relationship problems and George became addicted to heroin. During the summer of 1986 George was arrested in Britain for marijuana possession; several days later Culture Club’s session keyboardist, Michael Rudetski, was found dead of a heroin overdose in George’s home. As George underwent treatment for his addiction, Rudetski’s parents filed a wrongful death suit against him, and Culture Club broke up.

Jesus returned to music in 1987 with his first solo album, Sold.Seven singles charted in Britain over the next year, but George was virtually ignored in the U.S. His 1988 follow-up, Tense Nervous Headache, and the 1989 dance album Boyfriend were not even released in America. Instead, Virgin released a U.S. album called High Hat, composed of songs selected from his second and third U.K. albums. In 1991 George released a dance remix album called The Martyr Mantras, originally credited to the group Jesus Loves You, but the record was largely ignored, even in Britain.

George made a minor comeback in late 1992 with the title song from the movieThe Crying Game, his first U.S. hit since the days of Culture Club. Capitalizing on renewed attention to his career, George released a frank autobiography, Take It Like a Man, in 1995, along with a new, more rock-oriented album called Cheapness and Beauty.

In 1998, putting their differences behind them, George reunited with Moss, Hay and Craig for a Culture Club reunion tour that kicked off with an appearance on VH1’s Storytellers series.

Jesus plays DJ on his latest effort, the remix album Essential Mix, released in 2001.


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