Alternative Version

Culture Club/Club Culture

He wasn’t all about the dressing up, y’know. Or the heroin habit. Or the kidnapping and chaining up and false imprisonment of the male escort. Boy George made some great records too. Not necessarily the Culture Club ones that he’s best known for, although anyone who tells you they don’t like Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? is lying – that great, dubby bass outro alone is totally ripe for sampling into a blissed-out, cosmic audio adventure by someone with talent. Weatherall could’ve done wonders with it. Maybe he did….I dunno. 

Post Culture Club*, George fully embraced the burgeoning club culture of the acid house scene. Stealing a nod on The Shamen by a good couple of years, he and long-time pal Jeremy Healy produced the nudge-nudge, wink-wink Everything Starts With An E, a four-to-the-floor, hands-in-the-air dancefloor banger that was enthusiastically put together following Healy’s first visit to Ibiza.

E-Zee PosseeEverything Starts With An E

Taking the island’s anything-goes manifesto, the track featured some (frankly hideous) rock guitar shredding, a Ronald McDonald sample and some box-fresh ragga toasting from reggae artist MC Kinky which was then welded to a steady 120 beats per minute groove. At times evocative of the slinky electro groove that powers Lil’ Louis’ French Kiss, Everything Starts With An E chugs along quite happily for seven and a half minutes.

Turn-of-the-decade epoch-defining, it conjures up images of liberated care-free, hedonistic young folk; bare-chested boggle-eyed boys, jaws going like the clappers, ogling the girls and the strobed-out, sillhouetted podium dancers in far-flung foreign nightclubs. By the time it builds to the end, the loved-up, laser-lit crowd is as one, raising their hands higher and higher and higher to the eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-Eh-Eh-EH-ECSTACY-EEEH! refrain, arms stretched straight up in praise-the-Lord euphoria as the chant and the dancers peak as one. I’d been on Ibiza at the time and yeah, that’s just how I remember it, daddy-o.

Produced while the dance music scene was still relatively underground, the duo created a label, More Protein, purely to enable the track’s release. Despite George’s obvious chart potential and Healy’s background in occasional chart grazers Haysi Fantayzee, no label it seems would touch the track, the lyric proving too hot for the more sussed executives who rejected it. In the event, the single peaked at number 15 with no airplay but also none of the tabloid furore that accompanied Ebeneezer Goode a couple of years later. A product very much of its time, it remains a slightly dated artefact from a dance scene that was heading pell mell overground from the underground.

Reflecting the balanced yin-yang of the More Protein logo, if Everything Starts With An E was a Saturday night record, George’s next venture was Sunday morning’s bleary-eyed groove.

Jesus Loves You Generations Of Love (full length mix)

Generations Of Love is the sound of the Mediterranean, of beach cafes and breaking waves, late sunsets and early sunrises.

It has all the hallmarks of Ibizan influence; the filtered windchimes (?) at the start, the break beat, the sparse Italo house piano line, the ricocheting whooshes and a soulful vocal bang in the centre of the mix. George’s voice is spectacular here, a silken husk that duets with itself throughout the record, until MC Kinky pops up like a hyperactive ne’erdowell gatecrashing a redemptive meditation session.

The lyric too is multi-faith, the message one of hope over hate.

No big AIDS sensation…No twenty-eighth clause…The end of apartheid…No message of war

Generations of love have done you wrong

The Jew and the Gentile…The black and the gay…The lost and the futile…They’ve all got something to say
The African nation…The sword of Islam…The rebels in China…The Sikhs and the Tams

And there’s much more we can say
And there’s much more we can do
And there’s much more we can learn

Jesus Loves You Generations Of Love

The 7″ version might be even better. It breezes along on the same shuffling beat, but includes essential frantically-scrubbed Spanish acoustics and some lilting Paris-in-the-Spring accordion. Not something I’d ordinarily miss, but perfect on this Balearic brain soother.

*Culture Club phase 1. There was a flat as a pancake attempt at a reunion a few years ago. Filmed for posterity by the BBC, I’m fairly certain none of the principal players would want to watch again.

25 thoughts on “Culture Club/Club Culture”

  1. This article is an attempt at wittiness turning out as a massive pile of shit, typical of the bitter by-standers doing nothing but watching and criticising something they would be unable to do themselves in the first place

    Keep typing, you loser!

  2. Why do people criticize when their knowledge on the subject of his music is absolute Zero! Boy George HAS done far more interesting things in his life than the publicized ones referred too in this article. George is a fantastic musician who is much more than the makeup and Karma Chameleon! Victims, The Crying Game, king Of Everything and Clouds are just a few songs I would urge people to listen to!

  3. I’ve always loved the cheeky wee Tears For Fears sample at the start of “Generations of Love” track. It’s from “Change”. Which just goes to show you that you can get cracking samples from the most unlikely material. George and his cronies were well ahead of the game.

  4. Very true. See also the Tears for Fears sample in JBC’s acid house cover of We Love You, the sped up ‘DJ’s the man you love the most’ part.

  5. Oh. I need to hear that version. We used to love an old acid version of We Love You bit could never track the right one down. Either that, or the same record sounds totally different on an mp3 in 2002 compared to a thumping record playing in a club in 1989.

  6. Crikey – Don’t do twitter but hopped over as you suggested and was reminded why?!?

    Simply two great records in the spotlight as you said.

  7. Jeez, and I thought the Mozzer ‘fans’ were off the chart with MorrisseyGate!
    Sdanoffre, all music is subjective mate but I don’t think that you’ve grasped that this is a ‘music blog’ which means Craig McAllister picks a subject and then writes about it, usually brilliantly. He is not ‘bitter’ about anything, let alone Boy George, who by the way, he is PRAISING. Go read it again, we’ll wait.

    There are only two negative things in the piece, both at the beginning. The heroin and the escort story and guess what, both true. The rest is about the music, ALL POSITIVE. Great songs, Great writing, Great pop star, above all, Great blog …………
    Plain Or Pan, Keep On Keeping On
    Sdanoffre, Keep Whingeing, ya Loser.

  8. I think George got upset because he only read the first paragraph. But if you read the whole article it’s actually very flattering about George’s solo music. A big problem today is that people’s attention span is so short. If anything is longer than a tweet, they stop reading.

  9. That’s you outraged the Morrissey and Boy George fans that read the first paragraph of your blogs. Can i suggest you start a Fall piece using the following words.. curmudgeon, always different always the same, granny with bongos, sulphate, alcohol, fight on stage and Levitate is shit. You’ll get ripped to pieces.

    You are a lot of things but bitter is not a word i would associate with you unlike your football club who insisted on empty seats rather than money in the bank.

  10. SDanoffre can i suggest you start your own blog. An idea for your first post could be why The Beach Boys are the most overrated band in music history. Craig will do his dingduster in the comments section.

    Rik heroin and escorts are hardly negative things, i myself am partial to a bit of one and Boy George clearly enjoyed doing both at the time.

  11. My bad, never never never talk about Scottish football on a music blog. Wee Budgie’s doing enough chirping about a new BetFred Reformation Post TLC Premier League.

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