It’s hard to imagine music without Culture Club. It seems like they have always been there, changing the game and reinventing themselves. But the Boy arrived as a gift from the pop heavens sum 59 years ago, Thirty- Eight- years later Culture Club released their first single, “White Boy,” and then dropped their debut album in. Since then, Culture Club have never looked back.
To celebrate the 38th Anniversary of Culture Club Boy George Fever has expanded our initial Best Of Culture Club singles list too — you guessed it — 38. Read ahead for a full ranking of releases from Culture Club who've been Hot Since 82'.
. 38. Sexuality from Luxury To Heartache, 1986 Culture Club, then at the peak of their popularity, were among several artists who were changing their sounds in the mid-1980's Producer Arif Mardin had helped Culture Club earn a Top 4 US Billboard dance track with "Move Away" but it was the song "Sexuality" the B-side to Culture Clubs single "Move Away" Both songs energized US and UK dance floors in the Spring of 1986. It was a time when Culture Club dance songs were hot and "The Tango Dub" mix to "Sexuality" would become Culture Club's longest dance remix ever at 10:08 seconds long. The lyrics were catchy. When I say I don't dance, I'm mean Not like you When I say I don't dance, I need Something new…One of the reasons they chose "Sexuality" was because Boy George knew it would become a dance floor filler. The album version, "Sexuality" was 5 and a half -minute dance epic.
36. Voulez Vous from Abba Mania, 1999 – It was Roy Hay's idea to cover Abbas 1979 hit. Boy George was reluctant at first, but he soon warmed to the idea and later conceded that, as usual, Roy's idea for a remake was right on target. This version that Culture Club did transform the original into an intensely ironic yet assertive and strangely uplifting disco dirge. In the process, Culture Club elevated Abbas semi-classic to fully-fledged classic status.
35. Less Than Perfect from Don't Mind If I Do, 1999 – In some ways a restatement of Culture Club's 1983 single "Victims". The piano introduction is breathtaking and this track is noteworthy for a rather ambiguous line "If I change my attitude, maybe I can conquer you completely, Everything I say and do, all I learn from you defeat me" Many Culture Club fans assumed that these words referred to Jon Moss, but George later revealed that his inspiration for the track was actually for his ex-lover Michael Dune.
34. Black Money from This Time (The First Four Years), 1987 - A long-time fan favorite, "Black Money" is a soulful ballad showcasing the vocal harmonies of George and Helen Terry, covering the issue of unrequited love. As with the majority of "Colour By Numbers", the lyric refers to a volatile relationship: “Somebody else’s life cannot be mine/ But when you love someone/ And they don’t love you in return/ When you love someone/ You’ve got money to burn.” When Culture Club released "This Time – The First Four Years", their first greatest-hits album, in 1987, "Black Money" was planned as a single to promote the release, even including a live version of the song on the VHS tape, but was shelved at the 11th hour.
33. The War Song, from Waking Up With The House On Fire, 1984 - Culture Club was the hottest band in 1984 after winning their Grammy Award for Best New Artist, the band was feeling the pressure for a new single. George and the band have delivered a smash new single with lyrics that were so catchy it was bound to be a number one single for them, in fact, it was in Ireland. The percussion on Jon Moss drums sounds so amazing since this was the first time he uses a drum machine for the single. It sounded like a Duran Duran song at the time. When Culture Club re-invented this on their World Tour in 2017 people went crazy over this. It has aged so well this song that it fits in with the modern world we live in now and Culture Club has proven to deliver that with this song!
32. God & Love from Life, 2018 - "God & Love" touches upon Boy George’s religious faith; Boy George is a Nichiren Buddhist with a Catholic upbringing. The song is influenced by Massive Attack’s “Teardrops” The lyric “God and love must be done” shows his tying of love and positivity with faith. This bass-heavy, mid-tempo dance track is the first we hear of Boy George’s velvety and subtly gravely new vocals and Culture Club’s new sound.
31. Mystery Boy from Kissing To Be Clever, 1982 - The sound on this record is spectacular. Between the heavy piano breaks, the drums, the vocals everything is just a mystery on this record. The question is !! How on earth did Culture Club come up with this? "Mystery Boy" is by far the hardcore fans favorite. This is so good that George steals your heart with his whisper "You Are Just A Mystery".
30. Don't Want To Talk About It, from Waking Up With The House On Fire, 1984 -This fan favorite has never been performed live by Culture Club during any of the "Waking Up With The House On Fire" World Tour in 1984. This is one of Culture Club's lost tracks that some people tend to forget. It has a very small guitar solo in the middle almost sounding like a follow-up to "Miss Me Blind". The lyrics are very cheeky and smart, George sings about being at a party "Staring at the people lost a terrified" It's about the press and how they always want to speak with just Boy George and not the other members of Culture Club. Give it a listen. This song was released as a single in Mexico in 1984 for Culture Club.
29. Cold Shoulder from Don't Mind IF I Do, 1999 - The song is very cold. The violins playing on the track are making you feel like its really the end of the relationship and it's very cold and the lyric's that are so deep, "I came here to escape the chill, from your cold, cold shoulder" This song represents the end of someone's relationship with someone. This is Culture Club at their best with this heartbreaking song.
28. Move Away taken From Luxury To Heartache, 1986 –This track "Move Away" is considered by many to be Culture Club’s comeback masterpiece. The pop influence beginning with a simple outrageously catchy chorus Move, Move, Move Away from darling, I never said I hold your hand. This song clearly represents one of the best vocals from Boy George.
27. I Just Wanna Be Loved, from Greatest Moments, 1998 - "I Just Wanna Be Loved" tingles with warm yet worldly lyrics and a crazy-catchy chorus that you'll be humming for hours after one listen. Boy George is in peak vocal form, while Culture Club bandmates Roy, Jon, and Mikey play with astonishingly sharp precision. A promising peek into what was an exciting, vita new phase for the band.
26.Time(Clock Of The Heart) from Kissing To Be Clever, 1982 -"Time (Clock Of The Heart)" took a step towards cementing Culture Club as more than a fluke with a strong visual gimmick. Soulful, melodic, and thoughtful, it boasts a simple genuineness that sounds as fresh and emotionally resident today as it did 38 years ago. Culture Club was in the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame with this song as one of the best 500 songs of all time.
25. That's The Way (I'm Only Trying To Help You) , from Colour By Numbers, 1983 - A tender piano-led ballad, the stripped-back track was recorded as a tribute to George’s mother. Essentially a duet between George and Helen Terry, it’s one of the best showcases of her gospel-infused voice, which was an integral part of the Culture Club sound. A live favorite, That’s The Way (I'm Only Trying To Help You) was one of the LP’s best-known tracks, as it was the B-side to Karma Chameleon.
24. It's A Miracle (DJ Alberkham Remix ) from Singles & Remixes, 2005 - Originally titled "It’s America", George wrote, "It’s A Miracle" on his first trip to the US in November 1982. Celebrating the land of dreams, it name-checks aspects of US celebrity and pop culture, something that makes sense when put into context with the song’s original title. In the Summer of 2005, DJ Alberkham remixed the Culture Club smash hit given it a fresh new sound and it sure had paid off for Culture Club.
23. The Dive from Waking Up With The House On Fire, 1984- "The Dive" starts with a rock rhythm section, then turns to a driving polyrhythm for the dynamic chorus. "Eyes Like A Deep Blue Sea To dive in, Love that you give to me We're surviving When love is gone I can't carry on. This is a catchy rave-up song.
22. Love Is Love from Love Is Love EP, 1985 Culture Club just recently performed this song live for the first time ever during the 2016 World Tour in the USA. George's vocals on this are by far the best he ever sound. This song sums up the meaning of love and what it all stands for. Many T-shirts nowadays have the words "Love Is Love" meaning we are all accepted that what George was trying to point across everyone when he wrote this amazing song. It has become a staple for Culture Club in Brazil where the single reached the Top 3 in Brazil alone. This was just recently remixed for the Culture Club 2002 Box set and is by far a fantastic remix.
21. Your Kisses Are Charity (Feat Dolly Parton) from Don't Mind If I Do, 1999- When Boy George asked Dolly Parton if she wanted to do a duet with him she was so touched and delighted she couldn't say no. The two never sung this song together in the studio but did perform this in 1999 on the UK show "The Lottery". Dolly Parton loved the song "Your Kisses Are Charity" The version was not featured on the album "Don't Mind If I Do" but released on a cd single as part two of a two cd set for the single in July of 1999. The original demo to this sounded slightly different as well with a few added lyrics.
20. Karma Chameleon, from Colour By Numbers, 1983 - Despite being Culture Club’s biggest hit, reaching No.1 in September 1983 and staying there for six weeks, all of the members of the band have had issues with the song in the past. When George first sang it to them, they all initially hated it and were reluctant to record it as they feared it would mark the end of their career. Needless to say, they relented and saw it become one of the most successful singles of all time.
19. What Does Sorry Mean, from Life, 2018 - What Does Sorry Mean is an important track, and Boy George thinks it's one of the deepest and its a standout track from their record "Life" The song is partly about Boy George's parents and his childhood growing up! But it’s mostly about his Island Auntie. What Does Sorry Mean it’s kind of a general song about women who love too much. Women who are attracted to men that don’t hold the mark. Boy Georges favorite lyric is the part, he and Roy came up with the melody, the bit where it goes, ” She can’t go back, she can’t be alone. She can’t go back, she’s always checking the phone” "What Does Sorry Mean has that classic Culture Club, contradictory, melancholy, sweet, weird, cool happy/sad, like an oxymoron. It’s very much like that. It’s very sad with a kind of joy, which kind of sums up the human condition sometimes. Now that’s what we call a very powerful song.
18. Miss Me Blind from Colour By Numbers, 1983 - Released as Colour By Numbers’ fourth single in many countries, but not the UK, Miss Me Blind, a dance-pop track with an embittered lyric that refers to the group's debut album, Kissing To Be Clever, with backing vocals by R&B stalwart Jermaine Stewart. There's a tinge of dark underpinning, but it never gets in the way of the song’s fluffy fun. There was a major source of disagreement in the studio, with George and Roy Hay clashing over the inclusion of the lengthy guitar solo. With Roy fighting to keep it and George vehemently against it, the solo was eventually recorded one day when George wasn’t in the studio.
017. Mistake No. 3, from Waking Up With The House On Fire, 1984 - This slow-burning, sultry, and often overlooked entry in the Culture Club song canon is an understated but still impactful heartbreak paean and features one of George's most soulful vocals. Keep the Kleenex handy when this one is on.
16. Oil & Water from Life, 2018 - A beautiful piano-led romantic ballad, a crescendo of Culture Club’s versatility and musical brilliance, ‘Oil & Water’ is reminiscent of Culture Club’s previous plunges into show-stopping, powerful, romantic ballads It's about two people that shouldn’t be together. It’s a reoccurring theme. There’s a line in the song saying. “Here we are now, pathological strangers. You choose to say I fall apart”. It's about when you fall for someone and they take control of you. The next line says, “Looking in from the outside, what can you see clearly”. It is about when you’re in the madness of a relationship it’s almost impossible for somebody from the outside to understand what you’re going through or feeling. This song is about ‘Oil and Water’, they just don’t go together. There are some beautiful lyrics in that song. It’s quite James Bond that song.
14. More Than Silence, from Life 2018 - More Than Silence’ is a highlight of the album that combines Boy George’s vocal proficiency, Roy Hay’s virtuosic guitar playing, Jon Moss’ beats, and Mikey Craig’s bass riffing to create another powerful ballad. Boy George sings about his desire for a “little more than silence.” The frontman had stated in an interview that: “Artists make complicated lovers because they always need an audience” and that “Silence is the loudest sound in the universe.” George added that “[he] thinks we finally created a son which gives [Roy] the opportunity [to rock out a little].”There’s a little bit of a U2 sounding in there, and Culture Cub says that’s it's not accidental. More Than Silence is a really special song, It has that Culture Club spirit about it. It’s a love song. It’s about being held together by the things we don’t say to one another. The noise of silence in relationships it can be really, really, really close and intimate with someone and yet know that if you say one thing, that one sentence can topple an empire. It's a song that allows you to feel like you know someone intimately but you also know if you say this one thing they won’t understand you or they will just condemn you. The lyrics George sings "I Could Use A Little More Than Silence, Just Three Words that Echo In My Heart...."
13. You Know I'm Not Crazy from Kissing To Be Clever, 1982 Pure joy from the first Caribbean-flavored drum roll through three and a half minutes of effervescent delight. This is Culture Club at their best. They were the first band since the Beatles to notch three Top 10 hits from a debut album in the U.S., and Frank Zappa lampooned it -- which means Culture Club did something right here.
12. Colour By Numbers from Victims 12" single, 1983- Perhaps the most underrated song not included on the "Colour By Numbers" LP until 2003 when it was featured on the remastered version, "Colour By Numbers" is a beautiful ballad almost so close to "Victims" with a lyric seemingly penned during a fraught day in George and Jon’s relationship, tackling the issue of outside influences, with lyrics such as: “When I told you those lies, Felt the spirit of love, Demanding more than compromise, Took a chance for a while, Speaking in tongues, That float us down rivers, the past will remind us, All colors we chose”.
11. Victims from Colour By Numbers, 1983 – This track is considered by many to be Culture Club’s masterpiece. The grandiose ballad, beginning with a simple piano before building to an orchestral conclusion, was a snapshot of a tortured relationship and the powerlessness of being infatuated with someone (guess who Jon) This song is such a masterpiece and was perhaps acknowledged as such by the band during their 2017 World Tour, in which George wanted everyone in the audience to be quiet and not talk during the performance. The stadium was quiet with an elaborate piano sequence of just George and Roy Hay together. The audience just sat there to an unbelievable performance of the song. Boy George explains that the song takes him to another world when he performs this to a live audience.
10. Don't Go Down That Street , Love Is Love EP , 1985 - In the tradition of earlier Culture Club songs, "Don't Go Down That Street" includes chatting, but instead of Jamaican patois, it features Japanese chatting by Miko, Boy George's friend at the time. That song was recorded especially to be a B-Side, after the other songs were made for the "Waking Up With The House On Fire" album“ The song is really beautiful and the smooth jazz horns are amazing. The best part is when George sings in Japanese. The song is about a time when George used to be chased down the streets for being dressed as a nun. You can catch this moment in the bio motion picture "Worried About The Boy"
09. Crystal Blue Persuasion , P.S. Your Cat Is Dead Soundtrack , 2000 - It's a great cover of a song that will go down in history as one of the most feel good songs to ever be recorded by Culture Club.
08. Mister Man, Colour BY Numbers 1983- Inspired by stories about New York’s mean streets and the high crime rate in the early 80s, George wrote Mister Man on his first day in the Big Apple in November 1982, along with It’s A Miracle. A catchy pop track featuring a touch of reggae, Mister Man remains one of Culture Club’s lost classics, only released as a single in South Africa. Along with Black Money and It’s A Miracle, Mister Man was debuted on A Midsummer Night’s Tube in June 1983.
07. Too Bad, From Luxury To Heartache, 1986 - The sturdy funk of Too Bad, "This is America The Land of Dreams" A dance spin was placed on the "From Luxury To Heartache" album and reared its head on the dark and glorious "Too Bad." The production of this track sounds so big with such powerful lyrics "My children don't like thunder, my children don't like rain, my children don't like fighting. Songs like this will get you up a moving something that Culture Club is best known for.
06. Let Somebody Love You, Life, 2018 -"Let Somebody Love You" is a celebration of protesting but it's like turning protesting on its head, rather than protesting and complaining, we’re going to be angry in a productive way / why don’t you talk about something you love,” said Boy George in the behind the scenes of the music video for the light and cheery reggae-soul track. The colorful and diverse video matches the poetry and beauty of the song. With the chorus “Love is a revolution, war and famine too / Feed the hunger in your heart / Let somebody love you” the liberating song is perfect for a feel-good playlist.
05. Runaway Train (Feat Gladys Knight) Life, 2019 -Do you know the real story behind the making of the single "Runaway Train" Did you know it was inspired by a dream Boy George had, George, says, "I was in Australia and I had this mental dream one night and Mary J Blige was in my dream and she said to someone, ‘Have you heard this track that Gladys Knight has done with Culture Club?’, and I thought: ‘That's it! It’s got to happen’. So we made it happen. Reworking Runaway Train which was already a refreshing throwback soul jam, Ms. Knight, who has kept her voice in terrific shape, sounds, well, terrific. What is most surprising is how well she blends with Boy George’s slightly weathered but warm tones.
04. Heavens Children, From Luxury To Heartache, 1986 - This is by far every Culture Club fan favorite song. called Inequality which became the sickly sweet "Heavens Children" The original concept of the song which was about immigrant slave labor in America. Jon & Roy said the lyrics were patronizing Heavens Children later scheduled for release in July of 1986. White labels were sent to the radio stations but soon shelved. The 12" mix of this sounds like pure heaven.
03. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, from Kissing To Be Clever, 1982 - The Culture Club song that put both the band and Boy George on the map is still a lush pop masterpiece with a lightly rolling reggae flavor and a heartstring-tugging delivery of lyrics George has said were about every man he'd dated to that point -- including bandmate Jon Moss. It deservedly sits on the list of virtually every poll of the '80s greatest songs, and it could hold its own in any decade of the pop music era, before and since its release. Went to No 1 in over 16 countries!
02. Bad Blood - Life 2018 Bad Blood’ is a 70s disco-inspired, pop-dance song getting you in the dancing mood and setting the tone for the album. (“You wanna talk but do you want the truth? // Bad blood drippin’ on your dancin’ shoes // You own the world, nothin’ left to prove…”) Carrying Culture Club’s uplifting and heartfelt messages to all us weirdos. As Boy George said at a recent show: “Culture Club is for all us weirdos, yes even those who think you aren’t [weird] Bless you for thinking you’re not weird.”
01. Life from Life, 2018 - It's the ghost of "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" The very beginning of the song almost sounds like the beginning of "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me". Boy George maintains his wit without avoiding feeling. His vocal on Life is a bit lower and gravelly but still powerful, gives this often slick music a real human dimension, and helps the song live up to its title: this is the music of life, maintaining memory, focused on the future while living in the present. As the lyricist of ‘Life’, George wanted to express something truthful, honest and bare while carrying an uplifting message of hope. It's his story but it's a story so many people will resonate with. A story of recovery, transformation and the start of a brand new journey which has already brought Culture Club well deserved accolades. It's a song about second chances and new beginnings, enlightenment, spiritual growth, and personal redemption.” Life from Culture Club is the song that they have played on their last "The Life Tour 2018." People had their smartphone flashlights all turned on making the concert feel magical like everyone was there. The whole thing takes you there again and again. "Life". It's such an uplifting song from Culture Club.