In the latest episode of Fuse's digital series Backatcha, English singer-songwriter Boy George recalls Culture Club's iconic 1983 record Colour By Numbers, being a fashion icon and writing a makeup tutorial.
"It was the beginning of the real proper fashion photographers, this guy called Jamie Morgan. He styled the band. We got polished up nice for that sleeve," George recalls, examining the cover of Colour By Numbers. "They didn’t style me, but they styled the boys. I was always dressed already."
The wildly successful album wasn't just about aesthetics. "Colour By Numbers was just kind of the perfect pop record. When it got to No. 1 in different countries that’s when it became special. By that point we had quite a few records out, so it was just like, ‘We have another record.’ Kissing to be Clever was full of youthful exuberance and then we made what we thought was our perfect pop record and it was a big, big record all over the world."
The success of the album helped launch Boy George into super-stardom, eventually landing him a not-so-official book deal. "I’m not even sure if that book is a legal book, it was just something that got done because we were popular. It’s supposed to be 'How to Do the Look of Boy George: The Makeup.' I think it was illegal and I remember thinking it was quite kitsch and funny. I think I have a copy of it at home. I remember it had all these weird graphic pictures of different colors. At that point it was so unprofessional. I used to put on my makeup with my hands, before fame. We didn’t have money for brushes. It was done with fingers. It was quite primitive."
George also talks about dolls made up to look like him. "There were a couple. There was a boy Snoopy, which I often see. It pops up here and there. Why would anyone do a Snoopy Boy George doll? And then there was this one which looked nothing like me at all. It’s an anorexic, chiseled, we’ll call it twizzled. They were quite popular and they often pop up on ebay. They’re like one hundred dollars or something. I don’t own one of those. That would be really sad! Like a Barbie for freaks."