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Culture Club - Do You Really Want To Hurt Me (1982)

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  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.91
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” is a song written and recorded by the British new wave band Culture Club. ...

“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” is a song written and recorded by the British new wave band Culture Club. Released as a single in September 1982 from the group’s platinum-selling debut album Kissing to Be Clever, it was the band’s first UK No. 1 hit. In the United States the single was released in November 1982 and also became a huge hit, reaching No. 2 for three weeks.

History

“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” was the third single released in Europe by Culture Club and their debut release in the United States and Canada. The song was picked up by BBC Radio 2 and became a UK No. 1 single for three weeks in October 1982. It entered the American Pop chart the week ending 4 December 1982, hit No. 1 in Cash Box magazine, and held at No. 2 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March and April 1983 (kept from the No. 1 spot by the massive success of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”). The single achieved sales of 900,000 US copies and also hit No. 1 in Canada. It was also number one in Australia.

This was Culture Club’s first success, after their first two releases, “White Boy” and “I’m Afraid of Me” charted in the UK at No. 114 and No. 100 respectively. According to Boy George, it was their last chance to get an album deal.

The song rose rapidly in the UK charts after the group’s first appearance on Top of the Pops, which resulted in George’s androgynous style of dress and sexual ambiguity making newspaper headlines. The group were only asked to appear on Top of the Pops the night before the show, after Shakin’ Stevens pulled out.

In a retrospective review, Allmusic journalist Jose F. Promis described “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” as “a simple masterpiece, resonating with an ache that harked back to the classic torch songs of yesteryear.”

In 2007, Boy George said that the song was “not just about Culture Club’s drummer Jon Moss, my boyfriend at the time. It was about all the guys I dated at that time in my life.”

The B-side was a dub version featuring Pappa Weasel in many countries and “You Know I’m Not Crazy” on the US release. On the 12″ version of the record, the track “Love Is Cold (You Were Never No Good)” was also included.

Music video

The video for the song, directed by Julien Temple, featured lead singer Boy George on trial in a courtroom, with flashbacks to the Gargoyle Club, Soho in 1936 and the Dolphin Square Health Club, Pimlico in 1957. The jury was in blackface making jazz hands gestures. One band member, Mikey Craig, was not in the video, and was replaced by his brother Greg.

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