Saturday, October 23, 1982

Culture Club “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” hit #1 in UK

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me

Culture Club

Writer(s): Roy Hay, Boy George, Mikey Craig, Jon Moss (see lyrics here)

Released: September 6, 1982

First Charted: September 18, 1982

Peak: 2 US, 11 CB, 12 RR, 8 AC, 39 RB, 21 AR, 1 CO, 13 UK, 12 CN, 16 AU, 4 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.88 UK, 6.5 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 117.91 video, 112.03 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The new wave/pop band Culture Club formed in London, England, in 1981. Lead singer Boy George’s flamboyant, androgynous style first caught the attention of Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren, who wanted him to replace the lead singer of Bow Wow Wow. Boy George, however, broke away from the group to form Culture Club. KL

The group released two singles, “White Boy” and “I’m Afraid of Me” but neither made any impact. However, they hit gold with “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” Boy George, who was dating the band’s drummer Jon Moss at the time, said the song “was about all the guys I dated at that time in my life.” WK That included the band’s drummer, Jon Moss, who he dated for about six years but they kept their relationship hidden from the public. SF

Boy George originally opposed releasing it as a single, saying “it was too personal and wasn’t a dance record.” KL However, the song caught on after the group appeared on the UK music show Top of the Pops. Shakin’ Stevens pulled out and Culture Club was asked the night before to fill in. WK Boy George’s look (a “white nightie with dreads wrapped in colourful ribbons and a face caked in make up”) SF and sexual ambiguity made newspaper headlines. The song soared up the UK charts (and hit #1 in 23 countries overall). SF All Music Guide’s Jose F. Promis described it as “a simple masterpiece, resonating with an ache that harked back to the classic torch songs of yesteryear.” WK

The song also caught on in the United States, where it reached #2, held out of the top spot by Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” The group’s debut album, Kissing to Be Clever, reached #5 in the UK and #14 in the United States, where it achieved platinum status. The album produced three more top-10 hits in the U.S.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Culture Club
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Pages 284-5.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 10/1/2022.

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