Reading my friend Mike’s Back Tracks column on Culture Club on his website The Second Disc got me thinking about how it’s a shame that Boy George will probably be remembered more for his outrageous image, general bitchassness and criminal behavior than for his beautiful voice. Although that voice has grown a bit of a rough edge over the years (see his recent turn on Mark Ronson’s album for proof, in his heyday, he was one of the smoothest pop/soul singers around, with a voice that many compared to the legendary Smokey Robinson.
One of my favorite Boy George/Culture Club songs is “Time (Clock of the Heart)”. This dreamy midtempo track became the group’s second consecutive top five hit in late spring 1983. Not only did George’s singing owe quite a bit to Smokey, the song itself did. The title pays tribute to “Let Me Be the Clock”, a song that Robinson turned into a hit just three years earlier. When folks mention Smokey as one of the best songwriters in the history of music, not enough people refer to this song as an example. Smokey definitely knew how to turn a phrase, and this song was proof that gentle persuasion worked as well as the Pendergrass-style direct approach when it came to gettin’ in them draws.
You probably don’t want to start your Wednesday morning by getting back into bed, but a listen to these two songs might make you reconsider leaving your significant other wrapped up in those sheets.