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Boy George

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Submitted By havanese
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Boy George was born George Alan O'Dowd at Barnehurst Hospital in Bexley, Kent on 14 June 1961, to Gerald and Dinah O'Dowd, who were originally from Thurles, County Tipperary in Ireland. He is one of six children. His siblings are Richard, Kevin, David, Gerald, and Siobhan. He was a follower of the New Romantic movement which was popular in Britain in the early 1980s. George and his friend Marilyn were regulars at The Blitz, a trendy London nightclub run by Steve Strange of the group Visage. George and Marilyn also worked at the nightclub as cloakroom attendants. Boy George's androgynous style of dressing caught the attention of music executive Malcolm McLaren, who arranged for George to perform with the group Bow Wow Wow, featuring Annabella Lwin. Boy George's tenure with Bow Wow Wow proved quite popular, much to the dismay of Lwin, the group's actual lead singer. His association ended soon afterwards and he started his own group with bassist Mikey Craig. Next came Jon Moss (who had drumming stints with The Damned and Adam and the Ants), and then Roy Hay. The group called themselves In Praise of Lemmings, but the name was later abandoned, and they settled on the name Culture Club The band recorded demos that were paid for by EMI Records but the label declined to sign them. Virgin Records expressed interest in signing the group in the UK, while Epic Records would handle the US distribution. They recorded their debut album Kissing to Be Clever and it was released in 1982. The single "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” became an international hit, reaching number one in a dozen countries around the world, plus top ten in several more countries. This was followed by the Top five hit "Time (Clock of the Heart)" in the US and UK, and "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" which reached US number nine. This gave Culture Club the distinction of being the first group since the Beatles to have three Top ten hits in the US from a debut album. Their next album, Colour By Numbers was an enormous success, topping the UK charts and hit number two in the US. The single "Church of the Poison Mind" became a Top ten hit, and "Karma Chameleon" became an international hit, peaking at number one in sixteen countries, and the top ten in additional countries. It hit number one in the US where it stayed for three weeks. It was the best-selling single of the year in the United Kingdom, where it spent six weeks at number one. "Miss Me Blind" and "It's a Miracle" were Top five and Top twenty hits respectively in the US. "Victims" was another Top five UK hit. The band's third album waking up with the House on Fire featured the hit single "The War Song" and a modest hit in "Mistake No. 3". George then provided a lead vocal role on the Band Aid international hit single "Do They Know It's Christmas", he was not featured on the cover sleeve of the single. Proceeds from the single were donated to feed famine victims in Africa, particularly Ethiopia. In 1986, George guest-starred on an episode of the television action-drama series The A-Team, in which he played himself. The episode was entitled "Cowboy George". George had been occasionally using drugs for several years, and by 1985, he had developed a heroin addiction. His relationship with Jon Moss had also completely soured, and the two could hardly be around each other at that point. The group released its fourth album, From Luxury to Heartache, and it featured one hit single, "Move Away". However, word shortly began circulating in tabloids that George was addicted to drugs. He was arrested in Britain for possession of cannabis. Shortly thereafter, keyboardist Michael Rudetsky, who co-wrote the song "Sexuality" on Culture Club's From Luxury to Heartache album, was found dead of a heroin overdose in George's London home. George had expressed interest in working with the keyboardist on a solo album George was planning. Rudetsky's parents filed a wrongful death suit in Britain against George, seeking financial damages for their son's death. With George's drug addiction, the underwhelming performance of their latest album, a soured romance between band members shrouded in secrecy, and a wrongful death lawsuit, the group ultimately disbanded. George would win the court case against the Rudetskys, and would not be required to pay any monetary damages. He would agree to seek treatment for his addiction. Following next would be the death of his friend Mark Golding, who overdosed on methadone and Valium at a party. George had been arrested en-route to the party on suspicion of carrying drugs. Boy George, now a solo artist and now signed to Virgin Records in the US as well, entered treatment for his addiction. In kicking his heroin addiction, he then became addicted to the prescription narcotics that were used during his treatment. In 1987, he released his first solo album, Sold, and enjoyed its success in Europe. It spawned the UK singles "Everything I Own", "Keep Me In Mind", "To be Reborn", and the title song, "Sold". The singles were hits in various other European countries as well. The album's success, however, was not duplicated in the US. This may be due in part to the fact that George was prohibited by US authorities from travelling to America for several years (because of his British drug charges). He did score his first solo Top fourty hit with the single "Live My Life" from the Hiding Out soundtrack. Tense Nervous Headache (1988), and Boyfriend (1989) would be his next two internationally released albums; however, these two albums would not be distributed in the US. Instead, Virgin Records selected several songs from these two albums for a US-only release called High Hat (1989). This album scored a Top five R&B hit in "Don't Take My Mind on a Trip", produced by Teddy Riley. George's following single in the UK was a protest song against the UK Conservative Party's legal restriction that anyone working for a local authority be barred from "promoting" homosexuality. The song, 'No Clause 28 (Emilio Pasquez Space Face Full Remix)' was an underground acid house hit.
In 1989, George formed his own record label, More Protein, and began recording under the name Jesus Loves You. He released several underground hits; "After The Love", "Generations Of Love", and "Bow Down Mister", the latter giving him a UK Top 30 hit in 1991. Inspired by his involvement in the Hare Krishna movement, George had written the song during a trip to India. Another single, "One on One", featured a remix by Massive Attack. From March 1990 to April 1991, George presented a weekly chat and music show on the Power Station satellite channel called Blue Radio. In 1992, George had a major US and UK hit with the song "The Crying Game", from the movie soundtrack of the same name. The movie became a surprise hit and the single reached the US Top twenty. Although he had had several solo hits in Europe, this would be Boy George's biggest US hit since Culture Club's "Move Away" reached the US Top twenty. George made many recordings between 1990 and 1994, but none were issued. In 1992 a pop and world music-oriented album was scheduled for release by a group George was fronting called Jesus Loves You. The album, to be named "Popularity Breeds Contempt", was never released. An EP entitled "Sweet Toxic Love" released in 1990 reached number sixty five on the UK Chart. The phrase "popularity breeds contempt" was used as the opening line on the beginning of the 1993 greatest hits album At Worst: the Best of Boy George and Culture Club. From 2002 to 2004, under the pseudonym "the Twin", Boy George experimented in Electronica 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 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 mid-2005. It was to include tracks such as "Panic" and "Talking Love". Four tracks were released as a sampler with the book of the same name in 2005. A reggaeton 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. On 20 October 2006, it was announced that he would be writing some tracks for Kylie Minogue with Amanda Ghost; however, the songs were not included on her 2007 album. It was not the first time that George wrote songs for other artists; in the past, he shared songwriting credits 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.
Boy George has run his own fashion line for some years, called "B-Rude". B-Rude has shown at fashion shows in London, New York and Moscow. On 24 December 2006, George appeared on a one-off BBC TV programmed Duet Impossible in which he performed with himself from the 1980s and joked about his street cleaning. To this day boy George roams crowds at the concerts of the people who would not have their own famous styles without his braveness to create the desire to want to be different such as Merlyn Manson, Adam Lambert, and lady gaga.

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