Having been a teenager in the U.K. in the ’70s, George Alan O’Dowd (better known to the world as Boy George) saw pop music very differently than how it’s perceived today. But there was one major common denominator. “For me it’s always about songs,” he tells Billboard. Of course now George, who just finished a successful reunion tour with his mates in Culture Club, is thinking all the time about pop music as one of the judges on The Voice U.K. The Culture Club singer — who has a new album in the works with the band — shares his thoughts on the best pop groups of all time.
See the All-Time Charts: Billboard 200 Albums | Billboard 200 Artists | Hot 100 Songs | Hot 100 Artists
1. Siouxsie And The Banshees
“All of my artists are people that embody their work to the extent to even the way they look is part of it and what they think and what they eat and what they read is such a part of it. For me it’s such a package I don’t think you can pull any of those things away. You can never imagine anyone singing what Siouxsie sings, even her covers. You cannot imagine anyone singing “Spellbound” and doing it successfully.”
2: David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust
“The fucking greatest pop band ever. [Meeting] Bowie was a big one for me. I met him properly, I had dinner with him in like 2005, but we haven’t spoken since. He’s kind of gone Greta Garbo on me. He used to email me and stuff and I’d always send birthday messages, but I haven’t heard from him in a long time. Bowie was amazing.”
3: T. Rex
“They would have to be one of the best pop bands ever.”
4. Roxy Music
“I’ve never really met Bryan Ferry, but I admire him. I do quite a good Bryan Ferry (starts singing “Virginia Plain”).
5: Patti Smith
“Patti Smith is another one. I met her for the first time last year. I’d been backstage at gigs with her for years, I’m a massive fan and she totally intimidates me. I was in a macrobiotic restaurant in New York and she was there. I was like, ‘I’m gonna fucking go up and say hello to her.’ So as she was leaving I jumped up and said, ‘Hey, Patti Smith, I’m Boy George.’ She goes, ‘You are?’ She goes, ‘You’re really handsome. Wow, it’s so nice to meet you.’ She’s so great. My friends were like, ‘Oh my god, you had such a fan moment.'”