You Say It's Your Birthday: Mike Craig of Culture Club

Today is the 38th birthday of Mikey Craig, bassist for Culture Club.

Culture Club are probably best-known for thrusting androgynous frontman Boy

George into the limelight, but they also produced some of the catchiest

earworms of the '80s, including "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" and "Karma

Chameleon." Born in London, Craig hooked up with Boy George after

George left Bow Wow Wow in 1981. The two recruited former Adam and the

Ants drummer Jon Moss and guitarist/keyboardist Roy Hay and formed Sex Gang

Children; they soon changed the band's name to In Praise of Lemmings and finally to Culture Club. Within a

year, the group was signed by Virgin Records, a label that recognized the implicit catchiness of Culture Club's unique blend of reggae-influenced, new-romantic pop. Kissing

To Be Clever hit the top of the charts around the world in 1982, fueled

by tabloid headlines that speculated about George's then-closeted

homosexuality and by such hits as "Time

(Clock of the Heart)," "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" and "I'll Tumble 4 Ya."

Colour by Numbers, the group's 1983 sophomore effort, was also a

worldwide hit and spawned the hit singles "Church of the Poison Mind,"

"Karma Chameleon," "Miss Me Blind" and "It's a Miracle." By this time, the

doors had been blown open for similar androgynous pop-acts such as Dead or

Alive and A Flock of Seagulls to walk through and pick up their checks. By the

time 1984's Waking Up with the House On Fire was released, Culture

Club were experiencing the strains of fame and the drug addiction of

George, not to mention the failed love affair of George and Moss. The

album was a failure compared to the group's previous successes, though it

had a minor hit in "The War Song." A final EP entitled From Luxury to

Heartache was released in 1986, but it was dismissed by critics and fans

alike. When George's heroin addiction was revealed by British tabloids

later that year, the group officially broke up. While George went on

to a modestly successful solo career, Craig went on to do some production

work but generally stayed out of the limelight. There have been some recent rumors of a Culture Club reunion, but nothing official has been stated yet.

Other birthdays: John Helliwell (Supertramp), 53; David Brown

(Santana), 51; Melissa Manchester, 47; and Ali Campbell (UB40), 39.