Culture Club were one of the most popular New Romantic groups to break out of England during the New Wave era. Led by the charismatic and enigmatic lead singer Boy George, the group’s first two album’s featured numerous top charting hits, and the group ultimately won the Grammy for Best New Artist. Squabbles among the group, including George and ex-lover and Culture Club drummer Jon Moss, along with substance abuse led to Culture Club’s demise in 1986. The group’s sound was influenced by Sixties Soul, but also reggae and even country.

Boy George was a fashionista in London who occasionally performed with Bow Wow Wow. He soon formed his own group along with Moss, Mickey Craig (bass), and Roy Hay (guitar, keyboards). The group’s first two singles didn’t chart in early 1982, but their third single “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” became a breakthrough chart-topper. The slow number featured reggae elements and was anchored by George’s strong vocals. Soon, the singer would be instant celeb in tabloid-obsessed England. The public spotlight was a problem for the group, as George and Moss were lovers at the time. Follow-up singles from Kissing to Be Clever included “Time (Clock of the Heart)” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.”

The following year, the group issued Colour By Numbers which was an even bigger hit. The album went 4x Platinum in the U.S. and featured numerous singles including “Church of the Poisoned Mind”, “Karma Chameleon”, “Victims”, “Miss Me Blind”, and “It’s a Miracle”. 1984′s Waking Up with the House on Fire and 1986′s From Luxury to Heartache also featured singles but they charted a bit lower and were less frequent than the first two albums. The group broke up, though Boy George did carve out a credible solo career (between drug arrests). The group did a few reunion gigs in 2002, and there are rumors of 30th year reunion in 2011.

“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” was memorably used in the 1980′s nostalgia comedy, The Wedding Singer.