Lost in the '80s, Music
Leave a comment

Lost in the ’80s: Culture Club, “Mistake No. 3”

lit80s

It must have sucked to be a non-Boy George member of Culture Club.  Well, except for Jon Moss, who was actually sucking a member of Culture Club.  Okay, cheap shot.  But seriously, here you are, finally realizing your dreams of being in a hugely popular rock band and, to paraphrase Roy Hay in the group’s Behind the Music special, you’re stuck in the middle of a gay soap opera.

Besides the lead singer and drummer having screaming fits in hotel hallways, you’d also have to deal with the pressure of your label demanding a third album of original material in as many years.  And to top it all off, your singer and visual focal point of the band has become a raging coke head.  Is it any wonder your third album was a comparative failure to the first two?

Culture Club’s Waking up with the House on Fire was aptly named, since the band was in a shambling mess of an emergency.  After their first two multi-platinum smashes and several hit singles, expectations were extremely high for the third and the only place to go was down.  The album’s first single really set the tone, as “The War Song” was a simplistic, jingoistic, embarrassing attempt by Boy to be political.  “War, war is stupid” – shock!  Thanks to the chart momentum from the last two years, it still made the Top 20.

While the U.K. and other territories got “The Medal Song” as the album’s second single, Epic made the wise choice of picking “Mistake No. 3” (download) to be the follow-up single in the States.  I’ve read that the song was about Boy George warning young couples against marriage, that being the titular mistake number three.  I’m not quite sure what the first two mistakes are supposed to be.  Shagging your drummer and snorting coke, perhaps?

Speaking of Bolivian marching powder, check out the video, featuring Boy George as the huge bride on an even huger wedding cake:

Despite a desperately raspy vocal from George, which actually helped rather than hinder the song, the single barely scraped the Top 40 and Waking up with the House on Fire died a swift death.  Culture Club made a comeback of sorts in 1986 with “Move Away,” then split for quite a while before reuniting twice since.  These days, when he’s not chaining escorts to his bedroom wall, Boy George is a tremendously popular club DJ and rampant Tweeter.

“Mistake No. 3” peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and at #61 on the Hot R&B Singles Chart in 1984.

Get Culture Club music at Amazon or on Culture Club