On 21st May 2015 Boy George collected PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

BASCA has acknowledged the outstanding services of a British songwriter or composer since the first Ivor Novello Awards in 1956. Today, the award is title sponsored by our ceremony sponsor PRS for Music, and continues to celebrate exceptional songwriters and composers who have shaped British cultural life and excelled in their field.

Originally commissioned to appear in the award ceremony programme, music journalist Mark Sutherland, profiles the songwriter’s career to date:

The word “icon” may have become over-used in popular culture but, in the case of George Alan O’Dowd, no other epithet will do.

Ever since he exploded into the British cultural consciousness in 1982 as Do You Really Want To Hurt Me became an enormous hit for his band Culture Club – his androgynous image prompting endless playground discussion and tabloid debate, his irresistible songwriting prompting millions of record sales – Boy George has been a maverick presence at large in the mainstream. He’s endured his share of tough times personally, but he’s always bounced back and his music has always been at the heart of each recovery.

The Culture Club years were studded with hit after international hit as great songs such as Church Of The Poison Mind, Karma Chameleon, Victims and Move Away flowed from the studio. Over the course of four successful albums, George became a huge star at home and abroad, guaranteed to enliven any chat show or chart show. And when the band broke up in 1986 he embarked on a solo career that has always produced sparkling music, whether recording under his own name (as with hits such as The Crying Game, Sold, No Clause 28 and To Be Reborn), his dance music persona Jesus Loves You or other electronic pseudonyms. Interest in Culture Club has remained strong around the world, with the original line-up back together for a new album and live dates this year.

But George is now a member of more than one Club. Over the years, he’s also become a renowned DJ, starred in musicals, run a clothing line, presented radio shows and even once appeared as himself in an episode of The A-Team – the 1980s TV action show famous for the catchphrase, “I love it when a plan comes together.” And, while George’s career may have been too unconventional for there to have been too much of a plan behind it, there’s no doubting his status as a brilliant songwriter and a national treasure. That’s why, today, The Ivors will come together to hail his Outstanding Contribution To British Music and his iconic presence. All hail King George.

Mark Sutherland (c) 2015