Culture Club – Karma Chameleon

Karma Chameleon – Culture Club | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 3 weeks); 1984

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Caravan Club? Can’t Wait Club? None of these names struck a chord with the band formerly known as Sex Gang Children. Then drummer Jon Moss commented on the band’s mixed heritage, and “Culture Club” was born. With new moniker in place, George “Boy George” O’Dowd and the gang grabbed a record deal and set about releasing hit singles. Yes’ Owner Of A Lonely Heart opened up 1984 at #1, then Karma Chameleon slid in after it. Listeners can be forgiven if they failed to decipher Karma’s cryptic lyrics which – according to Boy George – are about fear of alienation and how, by not being true to yourself, you suffer cosmic justice. George’s attempt at deep insights aside, meaning hardly mattered. Karma’s infectious hook and George’s constant media presence propelled the tune up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. A month later Culture Club received a Grammy for Best New Artist.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Steve Levine

Lyrics Written by:

  • Boy George
  • Jon Moss
  • Mikey Craig
  • Roy Hay
  • Phil Pickett


  • Won Grammy Awards for Best New Artist (1984)
  • Won Brit Awards fro Best British Group and Best British Single for “Karma Chameleon” (1984)
  • Nominated for Canadian Juno Awards for International Album of the Year (1984)