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Church of the Poison Mind

"Church of the Poison Mind" is a 1983 hit single by the British new wave band Culture Club. It was released as the lead single from their second - and most successful - album Colour by Numbers.

"Church of the Poison Mind"
Single by Culture Club
from the album Colour by Numbers
B-side"Man Shake"
Released1 April 1983 (UK)
October 1983 (US)
GenreNew wave
LabelVirgin Records
Epic Records (US)
Songwriter(s)Roy Hay, Boy George, Mikey Craig and Jon Moss
Producer(s)Steve Levine
Culture Club singles chronology
"I'll Tumble 4 Ya"
"Church of the Poison Mind"
"Karma Chameleon"

The song reached #2 in the United Kingdom, being kept out of the top spot by David Bowie's "Let's Dance".[1] It was also the band's fourth Top 10 hit in the United States and Canada. In America, it was still climbing the charts when "Karma Chameleon" was released as a single. This prompted Epic Records to release "Karma" ahead of schedule.

"Church of the Poison Mind" actually reached its peak position the same week "Karma Chameleon" debuted on the US charts. In many countries its B-side was the heavily percussive street song "Man Shake" and in some others, such as the United States, it was the song "Mystery Boy". Both songs were on the 12-inch single in many countries, except Canada, where it was issued with an extended version of previous hit "I'll Tumble 4 Ya".

Helen Terry sang backing vocals on the song.[2] AllMusic critic Stewart Mason stated that her "fiery performance of the chorus is a pop-song masterstroke."[3] Fellow Allmusic critic Jose J. Promis agreed that her performance "really brought the house down."[2] Mason regarded the song as a tribute to the songs written by Holland–Dozier–Holland for Motown in the 1960s.[3] It was ranked at number 8 among the top ten "Tracks of the Year" for 1983 by NME.[4]

In an interview with Rolling Stone in June 1984, Bob Dylan, when asked if he belonged to any church, joked that he adhered to the "Church of the Poison Mind".

Track listingEdit

7-inch recordEdit

A. "Church of the Poison Mind"
B. "Man Shake"

(Released in UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden)

A. "Church of the Poison Mind"
B. "Mystery Boy"

(Released in Peru, USA.)

12-inch recordEdit

A. "Church of the Poison Mind"
B1. "Mystery Boy"
B2. "Man Shake"

(Released at least in UK, Australia, Germany, Greece (different cover), Italy, Mexico.)

A. "Church of the Poison Mind"
B. "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" (extended dance mix)

(Released in Canada.)


Chart (1983) Peak
UK Singles Chart (United Kingdom) 2
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 4
Ö3 Austria Top 40 (Austria) 12
Ultratop (Belgium) 9
Canadian Singles Chart (Canada) 5
Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (France) 43
Media Control Charts (Germany) 23
Irish Singles Chart (Ireland) 2
Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (Italy) 12
MegaCharts (Netherlands) 11
Recorded Music NZ (New Zealand) 9
VG-lista (Norway) 11
Sverigetopplistan (Sweden) 13
US Billboard Hot 100 10


  1. ^ "Retro Charts". 16 March 2000. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Colour by Numbers - Culture Club | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b Mason, Stewart. "Church of the Poison Mind". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.

External linksEdit