Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Miss Me Blind" by Culture Club - March 8th 80's Quest Song of the Day

Do you remember the first time that you heard Culture Club? Do you remember your reaction the first time you saw their lead singer, Boy George? I do. The first song I heard by Culture Club on the radio was the song "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me". I heard it numerous times on the radio before I ever saw the band’s video on television. I think the song may have come out well before the video was released. At any rate, I thought that a black woman was singing the song. Imagine my surprise when I saw the video for the first time and realized that the singer was a white gay man who kinda dressed like a woman. It was 1983 and we had never seen anything like Boy George! The media and the public went crazy for him. Some didn’t know what to do or how to react, others capitalized on the public’s fascination with Boy George. There was marketing galore. I even had a stuffed Snoopy dog that was dressed in the same type of tunic Boy George wore on the Colour by Numbers album complete with black hat and rasta braids! There was even a fashion doll (the same size as a Ken, Barbie doll) that was released.
During my third year of high school my class visited Harvard University to sit in on a class on Homer’s "The Iliad", I was more excited about the opportunity to walk around Harvard Yard and the vicinity afterwards. I saw my first Hare Krishna’s in Harvard Square (which inspired my next Halloween costume) and went shopping for record albums. I remember that two of them I bought that day were Culture Club "Kissing to Be Clever", and The Joboxers "Like Gangbusters" plus one other that I can’t recall at the moment. I was never a huge fan of Culture Club, despite owning the Boy George Snoopy, but I quite liked a number of their songs (today’s 80’s Quest song "Miss Me Blind", "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", "Time", "I’ll Tumble 4 Ya", and "Church of the Poison Mind"); and on the flipside, there were other songs by Culture Club that I utterly loathed ("Karma Chameleon", "The War Song", "It’s a Miracle" and "Move Away" ). Though they were not my favorite band musically, I absolutely enjoyed watching Boy George anytime he was on television for an interview. I found him very sharp and witty and funny. I remember I recorded on VHS one interview with Boy George and "his mum" which was great fun!
Boy George (real name George O’Dowd) was born in 1961 in Bexley, England. He came up during England’s New Romantic movement during the early 1980’s. In reaction to the nihilism and grubby fashion of punk rock, the New Romantics loved to wear flamboyant and elegant clothing and wear elaborate and unusual make-up. Their home base was London’s Blitz Club. It was here and in the other clubs of London that Boy George honed his androgynous look, wild outfits and makeup.
For an instant in 1981 Boy George occasionally sang with the band Malcolm McLaren was managing, Bow Wow Wow (see 80’s Quest post for February 5th) under the name Lieutenant Lush, but then he met Mikey Craig (bass) and they decided to form their own band. They got a drummer, Jon Moss, who had played with Adam and the Ants (see 80’s Quest post for January 10th) and The Damned (see 80’s Quest post for March 12), and enlisted Roy Hay (guitars) to join. The group tossed around band names such as In Praise of Lemmings and Sex Gang Children. They settled on the name Culture Club because they had an Irish lead singer, a black British bassist, a white guy on keyboards and guitar, and a Jewish drummer. Culture Club recorded some demos that EMI Records financed. In the end, EMI decided not to sign them, but Virgin Records did (in the U.K.). Their United States releases were on Epic Records.
In May and June of 1982 the band released two songs that went nowhere, "White Boy" and "I’m Afraid of Me". In September 1982 they released a reggae-tinged single "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" it leaped up the charts to #1 in the U.K. and #2 in the U.S. The band released their debut album, "Kissing to Be Clever" in 1982 and it reached the U.S. shores in 1983. The album spawned two more hits "Time (Clock of the Heart" and "I’ll Tumble 4 Ya". Culture Club was the first band since The Beatles to have three Top Ten hits in America from a debut album. Kissing to be Clever sold over 2 million copies in the U.S. and over 3 million copies worldwide.
In 1983 they released their second album, "Colour by Numbers" which was a real sensation that shot straight to #2 on the U.S. Charts and contained the singles "Church of the Poison Mind" (featuring Helen Terry on backing vocals), "Karma Chameleon" which became their biggest hit, "Miss Me Blind", "It’s a Miracle", and "Victims. The album sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. ". Culture Club won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Boy George accepted the award via satellite saying, "Thanks America. You’ve got style. You’ve got taste, and you know a good drag queen when you see one."
Boy George and Hay wrote songs for Helen Terry’s solo album, and a song "Passing Friend" for The Beach Boys. Culture Club also wrote two songs that appeared on the movie soundtrack for Electric Dreams, "The Dream" and "Love Is Love".
Despite (or because of) their success trouble started brewing. Boy George was using his newly earned money on lots of drugs. Unknown to the band or the public Boy George and Jon Moss had a secret 4-year relationship that was turbulent, physical, and violent. This was revealed in 1995 when Boy George’s autobiography, "Take It Like a Man" was published. In it he openly discussed his homosexuality and also revealed that he had a romantic relationship with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss which was tumultuous and tortured and was one of the big reasons for Culture Club’s demise because of the pressure to hide the relationship and the tension that created. Moss who by 1995 was married to a woman, denied having a homosexual relationship with Boy George.
The band’s third album, 1984’s "Waking Up With the House on Fire" did not do as well as the previous two albums and contained one hit, "The War Song". Two other singles that were released were only modest hits, "Mistake No. 3" and "The Medal Song". The album sold 2 million copies worldwide. Boy George felt that Culture Club was pressured by Virgin and Epic Records to quickly release a follow-up to Colour By Numbers, after coming off an exhausting world tour, and the material on the album suffered for it.
In 1984 Boy George participated in the recording of "Do They Know It’s Christmas" a holiday fundraising song for the famine in Ethiopia, released by Band Aid, a band arranged by Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats consisting of some of the most popular bands and singers in England at the time (see January 20th 80’s Quest post).
In 1986 Culture Club recorded another album, From Luxury to Heartache. Recording was hindered because by now Boy George was struggling with drugs. Nevertheless the first single, "Move Away" became a hit. The second single, "God Thank You Woman" went nowhere and by the time of its release we were seeing Boy George on the television news looking pasty and wan as the police raided his home. In July 1986 he publicly admitted to having a heroin problem and went to rehab with Dr. Meg Patterson who had previously helped Eric Clapton and Peter Townshend overcome their addictions. Once Boy George was off heroin, he unfortunately took up prescription drugs. Later that year his friend, musician Michael Rudetsky died of a drug overdose at Boy George’s home. Boy George was cleared of charges that would have implicated him in Rudetsky’s death. He completed another stint at rehab.
In addition to Boy George’s problems with drugs, the tension between he and Moss was so high that their American tour was cancelled. Culture Club broke up in by the summer of 1986. A 1989 attempt at a reunion was cancelled.
Boy George recorded several solo albums containing dance hits that were popular in Europe, including a reggae version of 1970’s soft rock band, Bread’s hit "Everything I Own". He did not regain cache in the U.S. again until he recorded a song for the 1992 movie soundtrack of The Crying Game – a cover song of the same name that was originally recorded by Dave Berry in 1964.
Boy George’s next incarnation was as a successful club DJ in London. He would also tour and DJ at other clubs around the world. He also began running a small independent British dance music label called More Protein Records.
In 1998 Culture Club reunited for a tour with some other 80’s bands. They also appeared on the American television show VH1 Storytellers. In 1999 Boy George released another solo album. The band reunited and toured again in 2002.


Miss me
I know you'll miss me
I know you'll miss me blind

Chorus 1:
I know you'll miss me
I know you'll miss me
I know you'll miss me blind

Bet you got a good gun
Bet you know how
To have some fun
And then
You turn it around on me
Because I'm better
Than the rest of the men

Chorus 2:
I say you'll miss me
And you always do
I say you'll miss me
Now would I lie to you

Now there's no need
To demand
Grab my golden hand
I'll teach you
And you'll never be sure
If the way that you need
Is too much like greed
Decide if you are rich or you're poor

(chorus 1)

Bet you make the fool run
Bet you know how
To make it last 4 ever
But you know
I'm never really sure
If you're just kissing to be clever

(chorus 2)

Because this love
That I have to give
Must be better than thet kind
It can make you rich
It can make you poor
But I know that
You'll miss me blind

(chorus 1)

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