Boy George: His Early Life
Boy George was born George Alan O'Dowd on June 14, 1961 in Bexley, South London in the United Kingdom. George was the third child born to Gerald and Dinah O'Dowd. George joined a family which would eventually grow to include five brothers and one sister. George was always more interested in being unique and artistic than being conformist, and this was an issue in his schooling from the beginning. As a teenager, George was already experimenting with cross-dressing, makeup, and outrageous hairstyles and found himself very unwelcome at school as a result. Following a series of youthful transgressions, he was expelled from school and had to leave home.
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In his late teen years and early adulthood, George wandered around the UK, taking on widely varied jobs to make ends meet. He worked as a fruit picker, a seamstress, a makeup artist for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and in various boutiques and small clothing shops. During this period, George became quite well known for his fashion flair, and he was encouraged by many to seek a career in fashion design or as a fashion consultant.
George had his eye on the music industry, however, and when he was seen by
music industry mogul Malcom McLaren, the wheels were set in motion.
Originally, Boy George was placed in the band Bow Wow Wow by McLaren based
more upon his unique androgynous look than on his vocal talents. McLaren
felt that the UK music scene needed a fresh new vibe and saw Boy George as
a good way to help achieve that. While Bow Wow Wow already had a lead
singer, the young Annabella Lwin, the 16 year old soon found herself
completely eclipsed by Boy George. His voice had a smooth and intriguing
quality that was irresistible to the crowds. While the two singers tried
to work together for a time, friction invariably caused issues and soon
Boy George began looking to head up his own band. That opportunity came
quite soon, when he formed Sex Gang Children, which would eventually
become Culture Club.