Boy George is the stage name of George Alan O'Dowd — the lead singer of the group Culture Club who later became a solo artist. O'Dowd, born in Kent, England 14 June 1961, became famous as Boy George in the 1980s and George and Culture Club had several chart-topping hits. The band name, Culture Club, is said to refer to the band's cultural mix. O'Dowd has Irish heritage, the drummer is Jewish, the bassist is Jamaican-British and the guitarist is English.
The Culture Club's single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" from the album, Kissing to be Clever, became a top song worldwide in 1982. "Karma Chameleon," from the album,Colour by Numbers, was a huge worldwide hit single in 1983 and became the band's most successful song. O'Dowd also wrote both songs, along with Phil Pickett.
By the mid-1980s, Boy George not only became addicted to cocaine, but then to heroin. Recording sessions were not successful his struggle with drugs and rehabilitation slowed down the making of the album, From Luxury to Heartache, in 1986. He admitted to his struggles with cocaine and heroin as well as prescription drugs and managed to make a successful solo album, Sold, in 1987. Sold features four singles that made the UK top thirty.
Boy George had a huge hit in both the United States and the UK in 1992 with his cover of the Pet Shop Boys' "The Crying Game" for the film of the same name. He continued his solo career by experimenting with rock, reggae and dance music. Culture Club reunited in 1998 for concerts in Monte Carlo and did an appearance on David Letterman's show in New York. Culture Club soon enjoyed more hit songs in the UK such as "Your Kisses are Charity" and "I Just Want to Be Loved."
The performer's androgynous look of long hair, lipstick and sometimes feminine clothing prompted questions about his sexual identity, but he hedged such questions while he was in Culture Club. Later, in his 1995 autobiography, Take it Like a Man, he admits he is homosexual. Boy George mentions two men in the book he says he was in love with — one is Culture Club drummer Jon Moss. Jon Moss, who since married and had children, did eventually admit publicly that he had been in love with O'Dowd and involved in a secret relationship with him during the Culture Club days. Boy George also says in the book that most of the songs he wrote, including "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" and "Karma Chameleon", were inspired by his relationship with Moss.