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Boy George plays us his most inspiring records

Normally Boy George has an obvious template when writing a record, something’s troubling him, someone’s upset him or he’s got a broken heart. But this time round with his forthcoming album, ‘This Is What I Do’, he’s in a good place. Looking fantastic due to a metabolic diet plan and being on a positive tip, “it started off as a reggae album but it’s become a lot of other things. I think this is so me wearing my influences blatantly on my sleeve,”.

Growing up George’s dad was a builder and would bring home boxes of records from house clearances, allowing a curious George to sift through “which was really when I started listening to jazz, because as a kid there was no discretion about what I listened to. If the record sleeve looked interesting I put the record on and I’d just play it,” he reveals to DJMag…

What’s the track that reminds you of your childhood?
“Probably the most obvious one would be ‘Gypsys, Tramps & Theives’ by Cher, and I’ve still got that 45. I remember Cher and she was looking pretty fantastic when I was a kid, but that record particularly, because it was a story record. It’s a great track and it still stands up. That record probably would be the most obvious one.” 

What was the first record that you ever bought?
“T-Rex ‘Tank’ the album with Marc Bolan sitting on a tank. I’d had other T-Rex albums but they were given to me by my brother. This was the first one that I ever bought with my money and I remember you got a free poster with this one. I remember thinking ‘the tank is really small, why is he sitting on such a small tank?’. The poster went straight up on the wall. I was a big Marc Bolan fan as well as a big Bowie fan.”

What’s the most embarrassing record in your collection?
“Well I’m not sure that I’m embarrassed by any music really. I would probably say ‘The Right Stuff’ by New Kids On The Block, it’s probably the most ‘I can’t believe you like that’, but I actually unashamedly love that record."

I don’t know why, it’s a funny old thing, there’s lots of pop records like that that I really don’t like. I think it’s really hard to explain why you like certain records and you don’t like others. In fact that record, of that genre, of all those boy bands, that was my favourite one.”

What’s the record that’s guaranteed to make you cry?
“Oh ‘The Beautiful Ones’ by Prince, I’ve cried a lot to that. You know ‘you were so hard to find, don’t make me lose my mind’ and it’s such a beautiful song and then he goes mental at the end. I love ‘Purple Rain’ anyway, that whole album. A lot of Prince songs do that to me, but that’s a favourite.”

What’s an album that you’re currently into?
“Adam Ants album. I loved that. I completely loved it. It’s very Adam Ant. It’s not Adam Ant as in ‘Prince Charming’, it’s more like early Adam Ant, punky and deconstructed. Here and there I wish his voice was louder, but I love it. I bought it when we were in Spain and we were just jumping around to it and loving it. I’m not sure it’s to everyone’s taste. It feels like a return to form for him, I think it’s brilliant, I think he’s a star. When someone goes through that stuff and they come out the other side of it, it’s quite triumphant, speaking from my Ivory Tower.”

What’s the most valuable record in your collection?
“It would probably be ‘Hunky Dory’ by David Bowie. I go back to that album more than any other album, particularly the song ‘Quick Tan’. The whole album I think is great, and also that album turned me on to Bob Dylan, it made me want to know who Bob Dylan was, it got me into Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, it’s a really important album and I love the sleeve, the Garbo pose on the sleeve. It’s an unusual record, a very different record, it’s so odd and if you listen to a lot of records that were made around that time it really stands out.”

What is your all time favourite track of all time?
“Oh my god, that’s an impossible question to answer. Well it used to be ‘Always On My Mind’ by Elvis, because I just thought that was such a fantastic song. But my all time favourite of all time? I’ve got so many. Well if I were to do a top three, ‘Metal Guru’ by T-Rex, would be in there, I don’t know if it would be number one but it would definitely be in there. And I would say probably, ‘Mississippi Goddam’ by Nina Simone is right up there, I find it very stirring, it’s a song about the segregation in America and it’s such a brilliant version. Most versions you get are live. It’s so gutral and pure and it makes you want to start a riot. The other one is a kind of an odd one, I recently did a little radio show where I played some of my favourite music and one of the tracks I played was ‘People Have The Power’ by Patti Smith which isn’ really DJ Mag. If I were to pick one ‘People Have The Power’, it’s such a great song.”