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Boy George

CULTURE CLUB

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Biography: 

Few new wave groups were as popular as Culture Club. During the early '80s, the group racked up seven straight Top Ten hits in the U.K. and six Top Ten singles in the U.S. with their light, infectious pop-soul. Though their music was radio-ready, what brought the band stardom was Boy George, the group's charismatic, cross-dressing lead singer. George dressed in flamboyant dresses and wore heavy makeup, creating a disarmingly androgynous appearance that created a sensation on early MTV. George also had a biting wit and frequently came up with cutting quips that won Culture Club heavy media exposure in both America and Britain. Although closely aligned with the new romantics -- they were both inspired by Northern soul and fashion -- Culture Club had sharper pop sense than their peers and they consequently had a broader appeal. However, their time in the spotlight was brief. Not only could they not withstand the changing fashions of MTV, but the group was fraught with personal tensions, including Boy George's drug addiction. By 1986, the group had broken up, leaving behind several singles that rank as classics of the new wave era. 

The son of a boxing club manager, Boy George (b. George O'Dowd, June 14, 1961), found himself attracted to the glam rock of T. Rex and David Bowie as a teenager. During the post-punk era of the late '70s, he became a regular at London new romantic clubs. Along with his cross-dressing friends Marilyn and Martin Degville (a future member of Sigue Sigue Sputnik), George became well-known around the London underground for his extravagant sense of style, and Malcolm McLaren invited him to join an early version of Bow Wow Wow. George briefly appeared with the band as Lieutenant Lush before leaving to form In Praise of Lemmings with bassist Mikey Craig (b. February 15, 1960). Once guitarist Jon Suede joined the group, they changed their name to Sex Gang Children. Within a few months, the band met Jon Moss (b. September 11, 1957), a professional drummer who had previously played with Adam & the Ants and the Damned. 



By 1981, Boy George had renamed the group Culture Club and Suede had been replaced by Roy Hay (b. August 12, 1961), a former member of Russian Bouquet. Toward the end of the year, they recorded a set of demos for EMI, but the label turned them down. Early in 1982, the band landed a contract with Virgin Records, releasing "White Boy" in the spring. Neither "White Boy" or its follow-up, "I'm Afraid of Me," made the charts but the British music and fashion press began running articles about Boy George. In the fall, Culture Club released their breakthrough single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," which rocketed to the top of the charts. Shortly afterward, the band's debut, Kissing to Be Clever, climbed to number five on the U.K. charts and the non-LP single "Time (Clock of the Heart)" reached number three. Early in 1983, Kissing to Be Clever and "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" began climbing the U.S. charts, with the single peaking at number two. "Time" reached number two in the U.S. shortly after the non-LP British single "Church of the Poison Mind," attained the same position in the U.K. "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" became a Top Ten hit in America that summer. 

By the time Culture Club's second album Colour By Numbers was released in the fall of 1983, the band was the most popular pop/rock group in America and England. "Karma Chameleon" became a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic, while the album reached number one in the U.K. and number two in the U.S. Throughout 1984, the group racked up hits, with "It's a Miracle" and "Miss Me Blind" reaching the Top Ten. In the fall, the group returned with its third album, Waking Up With the House on Fire. While "The War Song" reached number two in the U.K., the album was a disappointment in America, stalling at platinum; its predecessor went quadruple platinum. 

Following a brief tour in February, Culture Club went on hiatus for 1985, with Craig, Moss, and Hay pursuing extracurricular musical projects in the interim. During the year, Boy George -- who had previously denounced drugs in public -- became addicted to heroin. Furthermore, his romance with Moss, which had always been rocky, began to disintegrate. All of these problems were kept hidden, but it became evident that something was wrong when Culture Club returned to action in the spring of 1986. Though their comeback single, "Move Away," became a hit in April, its accompanying album From Luxury to Heartache stayed on the charts for only a few months. Rumors of George's heroin addiction began to circulate, and by the summer, he announced that he was indeed addicted to the drug. In July, he was arrested by the British police for possession of cannabis. Several days later, keyboardist Michael Rudetski, who played on From Luxury to Heartache, was found dead of a heroin overdose in George's home. Rudetski's parents unsuccessfully tried to press wrongful death charges on Boy George


While Boy George was battling heroin addiction, and his subsequent dependence on prescription narcotics, Culture Club broke up. George confirmed the group's disbandment in the spring of 1987, and he began a solo career later that year. While his solo career produced several dance hits in Europe, George didn't land an American hit until 1992, when his cover of Dave Berry's "The Crying Game" was featured in the Academy Award-nominated film of the same name. In 1995, George published his autobiography, -Take It Like a Man. Culture Club reunited in 1998, issuing the two-disc set VH1 Storytellers/Greatest Hits.

Source: Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com

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Biography: 

British singer Boy George combined a strong, soulful singing voice with a provocative sense of fashion, both of which were first brought to the attention of English and American audiences in the group Culture Club, for whom he served as lead singer from 1982 to 1986. The group wrote and played impeccable pop music, and Boy George's androgynous persona -- heavy makeup and outrageous costumes -- gave the group a distinct video image in the dawn of MTV. That very distinctiveness, however, made the group date quickly, and at the same time Boy George encountered highly publicized personal difficulties.

He re-emerged as a solo singer in 1987 with Sold, which contained a U.K. number one cover of Bread's "Everything I Own," but was unable to duplicate this success in the U.S. Boy George enjoyed four British singles' chart entries in 1987 and another three in 1988. His second album, Tense Nervous Headache (1988), was not picked up for release in the U.S.; his third, Boyfriend (1989), was a Europe-only release, though Virgin Records cobbled the second and third albums together to present a second U.S. album, High Hat (1989). In 1991 came The Martyr Mantras, another patchwork album largely made up of previously non-LP dance singles. In the U.K., it was credited to a new group, Jesus Loves You, and released on Boy George's own More Protein record label, though Virgin in the U.S. billed it as a Boy George album.

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By 1992, Boy George had faded at home, and in the U.S. his solo career had never taken off. Then he was brought in to sing a version of the '60s chestnut "The Crying Game" in a production by the Pet Shop Boys, as the title song for a movie that became the sleeper hit of the winter of 1992-1993, resulting in his first substantial U.S. hit as a solo artist. Cheapness and Beauty followed in 1995, and four years later Boy George resurfaced with the rarities collection Unrecoupable One Man Bandit. Throughout the '90s, he delved back into the club scene that birthed his early romanticism, and made a name for himself as DJ in demand. It became more than a hobby toward the end of the millennium, and Boy George garnered attention in the U.K. and U.S. club circuits; such musical creativity was captured on Essential Mix, released in fall 2000.

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Biography: 

The Boomtown Rats were one of the biggest bands to come out of the UK new wave, punk genre. The group consisted of Pete Briquette (bass), Gerry Cott (guitar), Johnny Fingers (piano), Bob Geldof (vocals), Garry Roberts (guitar) and Simon Crowe (drummer). This Irish six-piece was primarily active between the years of 1975 - 1985 and best known for hits I Don’t Like Mondays and Rat Trap.

In 1977, The Boomtown Rats appeared on Britain’s Top of the Pops performing Mary of the Fourth Form. The band had an interesting stage presence; Geldof was known for being new wave’s Mick Jagger and Fingers performed in striped pyjamas.

Two years later, the band set off on a world tour and shortly after Geldof and Fingers wrote the classic I Don’t Like Mondays after hearing about a Californian girl that shot her school principal and injured other fellow students. The track was banned on American radio and only managed to reach #73 on the US charts. But it was named 1979’s Single of the Year by the British Pop and Rock awards and sold over a million copies in England alone.

The early 80s ushered in the new romantics, a spin-off of the new wave movement, with bands like Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. It also proved to be the years that the Boomtown Rats were to break up.

After releasing its fourth album, the band began dabbling with a reggae sound and that wasn't popular with their core fans.

In 1985, after seeing a news report on Ethopia, Geldof set about arranging Band Aid that recorded a charity track called Do They Know It’s Christmas. The song featured The Boomtown Rats as well as vocals from some of the major British artists of the time including Sting, Bono, Paul McCartney and Boy George. This was the beginning of Geldof going solo and launching the Live Aid Trust.

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One year later, the band managed to release its final album In the Long Grass but it failed to produce any chart-topping singles.

In the end, some of The Boomtown Rats’ members went on to form other bands and Geldof became a household name by being an outspoken advocate for various humanitarian and charitable activities.

Juanita Appleby

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PAUL MCCARTNEY

Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney
John and Paul
Paul and Ringo
Macca
James Paul McCartney
Biography: 

Out of all the former Beatles, Paul McCartney by far had the most successful solo career, maintaining a constant presence in the British and American charts during the '70s and '80s. In America alone, he had nine number one singles and seven number one albums during the first 12 years of his solo career. Although he sold records, McCartney never attained much critical respect, especially when compared to his former partner John Lennon. Then again, he pursued a different path than Lennon, deciding early on that he wanted to be in a rock band. Little more than a year after The Beatles' breakup, McCartney had formed Wings with his wife, Linda, and the group remained active for the next ten years, racking up a string of hit albums, singles, and tours in the meantime. By the late '70s, many critics were taking potshots at McCartney's effortlessly melodic songcraft, but that didn't stop the public from buying his records. His sales didn't slow considerably until the late '80s, and he retaliated with his first full-scale tour since the '70s, which was a considerable success. During the '90s, McCartney recorded less frequently, concentrating on projects like his first classical recording, a techno album, and The Beatles' Anthology.

Like Lennon and George Harrison, Paul McCartney began exploring creative avenues outside The Beatles during the late '60s, but where his bandmates released their own experimental records, McCartney confined himself to writing and production for other artists, with the exception of his 1966 soundtrack to The Family Way. Following his marriage to Linda Eastman on March 12, 1969, McCartney began working at his home studio on his first solo album. He released the record, McCartney, in April 1970, two weeks before The Beatles' Let It Be was scheduled to hit the stores. Prior to the album's release, he announced that The Beatles were breaking up, which was against the wishes of the other members. As a result, the tensions between him and the other three members, particularly Harrison and Lennon, increased and he earned the ill will of many critics. Nevertheless, McCartney became a hit, spending three weeks at the top of the American charts. Early in 1971, he returned with "Another Day", which became his first hit single as a solo artist. It was followed several months later by Ram, another homemade collection, this time featuring the contributions of his wife, Linda.

By the end of 1971, the McCartneys had formed Wings, which was intended to be a full-fledged recording and touring band. Former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell became the group's other members, and Wings released their first album, Wild Life, in December 1971. Wild Life was greeted with poor reviews and was a relative flop. McCartney and Wings, which now featured former Grease Band guitarist Henry McCullough, spent 1972 as a working band, releasing three singles -- the protest "Give Ireland Back to the Irish", the reggae-fied "Mary Had a Little Lamb", and the rocking "Hi Hi Hi". Red Rose Speedway followed in the spring of 1973, and while it received weak reviews, it became his second American number one album. Later in 1973, Wings embarked on their first British tour, at the conclusion of which McCullough and Seiwell left the band. Prior to their departure, McCartney's theme to the James Bond movie Live and Let Die became a Top Ten hit in the U.S. and U.K. That summer, the remaining Wings proceeded to record a new album in Nigeria. Released late in 1973, Band on the Run was simultaneously McCartney's best-reviewed album and his most successful, spending four weeks at the top of the U.S. charts and eventually going triple platinum.

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Following the success of Band on the Run, McCartney formed a new version of Wings with guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Geoff Britton. The new lineup was showcased on the 1974 British single "Junior's Farm" and the 1975 hit album Venus and Mars. At the Speed of Sound followed in 1976, and it was the first Wings record to feature songwriting contributions by the other bandmembers. Nevertheless, the album became a monster success on the basis of two McCartney songs, "Silly Love Songs" and "Let 'Em In". Wings supported the album with their first international tour, which broke many attendance records and was captured on the live triple album Wings Over America (1976). After the tour was completed, Wings rested a bit during 1977, as McCartney released an instrumental version of Ram under the name Thrillington and produced Denny Laine's solo album Holly Days. Later that year, Wings released "Mull of Kintyre", which became the biggest-selling British single of all time, selling over two million copies. Wings followed "Mull of Kintyre" with London Town in 1978, which became another platinum record. After its release, McCulloch left the band to join the re-formed Small Faces and Wings released Back to the Egg in 1979. Though the record went platinum, it failed to produce any big hits. Early in 1980, McCartney was arrested for marijuana possession at the beginning of a Japanese tour; he was imprisoned for ten days and then released, without any charges being pressed.

Wings effectively broke up in the wake of McCartney's Japanese bust, although its official dissolution was not announced until April 27, 1981, when Denny Laine left the band. Back in England, McCartney recorded McCartney II, which was a one-man band effort like his solo debut. Ironically, the hit single associated with the album was a live take of the song "Coming Up" that had been recorded in Glasgow with Wings in December 1979 and was intended to be the B-side of the 45, with the solo studio recording as the A-side. DJs preferred the live version, however, and it went on to hit number one. Later in 1980, McCartney entered the studio with Beatles producer George Martin to make Tug of War.

Released in the spring of 1982, Tug of War received the best reviews of any McCartney record since Band on the Run and spawned the number one single "Ebony and Ivory", a duet with Stevie Wonder that became McCartney's biggest American hit. In 1983, McCartney sang on "The Girl Is Mine", the first single from Michael Jackson's blockbuster album Thriller. In return, Jackson dueted with McCartney on "Say Say Say", the first single from Paul's 1983 album Pipes of Peace and the last number one single of his career. The relationship between Jackson and McCartney soured considerably when Jackson bought the publishing rights to The Beatles songs from underneath McCartney in 1985.

McCartney directed his first feature film in 1984 with Give My Regards to Broad Street. While the soundtrack, which featured new songs and re-recorded Beatles tunes, was a hit, generating the hit single "No More Lonely Nights", the film was a flop, earning terrible reviews. The following year he had his last American Top Ten with the theme to the Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd comedy Spies Like Us. Press to Play (1986) received some strong reviews but the album was a flop. In 1988, he recorded a collection of rock & roll oldies called Choba B CCCP for release in the U.S.S.R.; it was given official release in the U.S. and U.K. in 1991. For 1989's Flowers in the Dirt, McCartney co-wrote several songs with Elvis Costello; the pair also wrote songs for Costello's Spike, including the hit "Veronica". Flowers in the Dirt received the strongest reviews of any McCartney release since Tug of War and was supported by an extensive international tour, which was captured on the live double album Tripping the Live Fantastic (1990). For the tour, McCartney hired guitarist Robbie McIntosh and bassist Hamish Stuart, who would form the core of his band through the remainder of the '90s.

Early in 1991, McCartney released another live album in the form of Unplugged, which was taken from his appearance on MTV's acoustic concert program of the same name; it was the first Unplugged album to be released. Later that year, he unveiled Liverpool Oratorio, his first classical work. Another pop album, Off the Ground, followed in 1993, but the album failed to generate any big hits, despite McCartney's successful supporting tour. Following the completion of the New World tour, he released another live album, Paul Is Live, in December 1993. In 1994, he released an ambient techno album under the pseudonym the Fireman. McCartney premiered his second classical piece, "The Leaf", early in 1995 and then began hosting a Westwood One radio series called Oobu Joobu. But his primary activity in 1995, as well as 1996, was The Beatles' Anthology, which encompassed a lengthy video documentary of the band and the multi-volume release of Beatles outtakes and rarities. After Anthology was completed, he released Flaming Pie in summer 1997. A low-key, largely acoustic affair that had the some of the same charm of his debut, Flaming Pie was given the strongest reviews McCartney had received in years and was a modest commercial success, debuting at number two on the U.S. and U.K. charts; it was his highest American chart placing since he left The Beatles. Flaming Pie certainly benefited from the success of Anthology, as did McCartney himself, only a few months before the release of the album in 1997, he received a Knightship.

On April 17, 1998, Linda McCartney died after a three-year struggle with breast cancer. A grieving Paul kept a low profile in the months to follow, but finally returned in fall 1999 with Run Devil Run, a collection primarily including cover songs. The electronica-based Liverpool Sound Collage followed a year later, and the pop album Driving Rain, a successor, of sorts, to Flaming Pie, came a year after that. The live album Back in the U.S. appeared in America in 2002 with the slightly different international edition, Back in the World, following soon after. McCartney's next studio project included sessions with super-producer Nigel Godrich, the results of which appeared on the mellow Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard, released in late 2005. McCartney performed every instrument (not including the strings) on 2007's David Kahne-produced Memory Almost Full, a bold but whimsical collection of new songs, some of which were recorded before the Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard sessions.

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This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com

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