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What's Culture Club All About?

And why are your parents, titos and titas, ditching you to go to their concert?
by Anne Mari Ronquillo | Jun 18, 2016
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Following the recent tradition of '80s hit bands coming out of left field to perform in Manila, Culture Club will finally be gracing Filipino fans with its presence on June 18. The original iconic group of Jon Moss, Roy Hay, and Mikey Craig, led by a consistently flamboyant Boy George, are currently on a world tour for the first time in 12 years. Millennials everywhere are going, “I’m sorry, who?” but that did not stop radio stations from throwing back to the good ol’ days of "Karma Chameleon."

What the hell does Karma Chameleon even mean?

Truth is, the appeal of bands like Culture Club may be hard to understand for anyone who was born after 1990, so let us break it down for you. According to record collector Reuel Almario, Culture Club’s success in the '80s had a lot to do with Boy George’s image. “His long braids and sequined robes made him one-of-a-kind.”

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Fun fact: 'Karma Chameleon' is about the karmic justice
that comes to bite you back when you change yourself
in order to please everyone. Now you know!

In their heyday, the Brit band spewed a steady stream of synth-pop music that your parents, titos, and titas loved to dance to. They stepped into the charts—then-dominated by Michael Jackson—riding a new wave with other British acts like Human League and Duran Duran. The emergence of MTV only helped propel the outlandish, post-glam visual style that these groups were known for. Boy George’s playful, androgynous swagger charmed party animals everywhere.

Boy George’s strong eyeliner game makes it easy for anyone
to overlook his vocal chops, but he sure can sing

Soon enough, Culture Club became recognized not only for “Boy Mania,” but also for their catchy and melodic singles. Their most loved album, Colour By Numbers is part of many "best albums of all-time" countdowns rounded up by the likes of Billboard and Rolling Stone.

Did he really want to hurt him?

In 2009, long after Culture Club and some intermittent '90s musical success, Boy George was sentenced to 15 months in prison for assault and false imprisonment charges. He was released after only four months for good behavior and spent the rest of his sentence under probation while doing community service.

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Out of Culture Club, Boy George is a club DJ and a
He is currently a judge on The Voice UK

George had a laundry list of scandals that centered around his frequent drug use. The band broke up in 1986 shortly after he was arrested for possession of heroin, making their success in pop music a short-lived one.


Unknown to the public at the time, Culture Club drummer Jon Moss was in a relationship with Boy George. According to Moss, he was at some point a muse and an inspiration to George for several of their hits. Jon has been married for the last 20 years, and is with children.

They initially called themselves 'Sex Gang Children'
before (fortunately) deciding on Culture Club

I still don’t get it. Why are they back? Why do my parents like them?

If you look closely, Culture Club doesn’t have a legion of rabid fans following them around. Unlike their '80s peers, especially Duran Duran, they didn’t have a bunch of screaming girls pining for autographs. Your (girl’s) steadfast devotion to Adele is serious business, but with Culture Club, you kind of just dance to the easy, synthesized rhythm. Boy George has, time and again, echoed that Culture Club was all about fun. So go on and let Daddy, Mommy, Tito, and Tita ride that wave of '80s nostalgia.

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So please don't judge them once they come home ("Nay, stop singing that song!"), they'll probably be so happy they can't stop smiling. Let them be.


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