Flashback to Culture Club's 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me' Debut on 'Top of the Pops' in 1982

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Flashback to Culture Club's 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me' Debut on 'Top of the Pops' in 1982

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Boy George & Culture Club. Photo by Jörg Schmitt / picture alliance via Getty Images.

Culture Club, and their wildly androgynous lead singer, Boy George first appeared on the U.K.’s Top of the Pops in October 1982 – and what a reaction it caused! His unique style and love of makeup had everyone guessing if he was a boy or a girl, but, according to George, that’s exactly the reaction he was looking for.

In 2007, the tenacious frontman told The Guardian, “I stayed up all night trying to decide what to wear because Top of the Pops was such a big deal back then. I did use a lot of make-up at the time, and it really freaked people out. People couldn't deal with my sexual energy when they met me, and I loved that. It was my life's work.”

The band were given little time to prepare for the pivotal experience after being asked to fill in at the last minute for Shakin' Stevens, but truly brought the festive spirit to the episode aired on Christmas Day with a groundbreaking performance of Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? 

Culture Club | ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?’ [Top of the Pops 1982]

Released in September 1982, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?, lifted from their 1981 album Kissing To Be Clever, gave Culture Club their first taste of commercial success, climbing all the way to number one in the U.K. in 1983. 

Recalling the aftermath of their Top of the Pops appearance, George said, “There were newspaper headlines the next day saying things like 'Is it a Boy or a Girl?' but the reaction from the public was completely different to that of the press and the industry. I was in Notting Hill the day after and everyone came up saying 'You were great!' and being lovely. It was the press and Radio 1 who were like, 'What is that thing?!’”

Safe to say, thanks to his brave pioneering spirit, in 2022, Boy George no longer has to explain his wonderfully unique style to anyone!


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