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Kissing to Be Clever

Kissing to Be Clever is the debut album by the English band Culture Club, released on 4 October 1982 in the United Kingdom. It includes Culture Club's international breakthrough hit single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", which reached number one in the band's native UK and the Top 10 of many charts around the world. The album has reportedly sold over 5 million copies worldwide, including over 1 million in the US where it has been certified Platinum by the RIAA.[citation needed]

Kissing to Be Clever
Standard cover art
Studio album by
Released4 October 1982 (UK)
13 December 1982 (US)
StudioRed Bus Studios, London[1]
LabelVirgin (UK)
Epic Records (US)
ProducerSteve Levine
Culture Club chronology
Kissing to Be Clever
Colour by Numbers
Singles from Kissing to Be Clever
  1. "White Boy"
    Released: May 1982 (UK)
  2. "I'm Afraid of Me"
    Released: June 1982 (UK)
  3. "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me"
    Released: 6 September 1982 (UK), November 1982 (US)
  4. "Time (Clock of the Heart)"
    Released: November 1982 (UK), 29 March 1983 (US)
  5. "I'll Tumble 4 Ya"
    Released: June 1983 (US)


The album's first two singles were "White Boy" (which failed to crack the US or UK charts at all), and "I'm Afraid of Me" (which peaked at No. 100 in the UK). But with the release of "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", the band scored a global smash hit in over a dozen countries. The album spent 88 weeks on the US Billboard charts and reached its peak position of #14 in March 1983.[2] The follow-up single, "Time (Clock of the Heart)", became a US #2 and UK Top 3 hit. This song appeared on US versions of the album but not initially on the UK version. Another single was released in North America, "I'll Tumble 4 Ya", which became the group's third consecutive Top 10 single in the USA. This made Culture Club the first British band since The Beatles to have three Billboard Top 10 hits in the USA from a debut album.

Kissing to Be Clever was remastered and re-released in 2003 on CD. This edition contains the song "Romance Beyond the Alphabet", which is the orchestral instrumental version of "Time (Clock of the Heart), also included on Culture Club Collect – 12" Mixes Plus and its subsequent re-release Culture Club Remix Collection as "Time (Clock of the Heart) (Instrumental Mix)". The 2003 release of the album has the restoration of the original colour cover which had been replaced by a black-and-white picture of lead singer Boy George on previous versions.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
Rolling Stone     [4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [5]
Smash Hits9/10[6]
The Village VoiceB[7]

Reviews for Kissing to Be Clever have been generally positive. AllMusic's Lindsay Planer noted that it "was embraced by not only post-disco dance music enthusiasts, but also new wave listeners and pop fans as well." She also stated that the singles "provide accurate thumbnail sketches of what Culture Club were capable of pulling off musically." She concluded by saying: "From the light and buoyant Philly soul-inspired string arrangement to the effervescent and singalongable chorus, the melody foreshadowed a similar vibe that would carry over to their sophomore long-player, Colour by Numbers."[8]

Robert Christgau of The Village Voice wrote that "for all [Culture Club's] fashionability I think their hearts are in the right place". However, he stated that "their bland Caribbean rhythms move no muscles, and their confrontations with racial issues are rarely more than a phrase deep."[7] Lloyd Sachs of Rolling Stone stated that the album "positively jumps, from the pleasure-seeking masochism of "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" to the fearful soul-searching of "I'm Afraid of Me" to the shady "I'll Tumble 4 Ya"". He further stated that "[Boy George's] vocal "normalcy" [plays] against the provocative content of the material." He concluded that "the beat does special service to the message – even when we don't quite know what that message is."[4]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Culture Club.

International issue (Virgin)Edit

  1. "White Boy" [Dance Mix] – 4:40
  2. "You Know I'm Not Crazy" – 3:36
  3. "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" – 2:36
  4. "Take Control" – 3:09
  5. "Love Twist" [Featuring Captain Crucial] – 4:23
  6. "Boy Boy (I'm the Boy)" – 3:50
  7. "I'm Afraid of Me" [Remix] – 3:16
  8. "White Boys Can't Control It" – 3:43
  9. "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" – 4:22

2003 reissue bonus tracksEdit

  1. "Love Is Cold (You Were Never No Good)" – 4:24
  2. "Murder Rap Trap" – 4:23
  3. "Time (Clock of the Heart)" – 3:45
  4. "Romance Beyond the Alphabet" – 3:49

American issue (Epic)Edit

Side one

  1. "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" – 4:22
  2. "I'm Afraid of Me" [Remix] – 3:16
  3. "You Know I'm Not Crazy" – 3:36
  4. "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" – 2:36
  5. "Love Twist" [Featuring Captain Crucial] – 4:23

Side two

  1. "Time (Clock of the Heart)" – 3:41 (not on original pressings)
  2. "White Boy" [Dance Mix] – 4:40
  3. "Boy Boy (I'm the Boy)" – 3:50
  4. "White Boys Can't Control It" – 3:43
  5. "Take Control" – 3:09


Culture ClubEdit

Additional musiciansEdit

  • Keith Miller – Synclavier
  • Terry Bailey – trumpet
  • Colin Campsie – background vocals
  • Nicky Payne – flute, harmonica, saxophone
  • Denise Spooner – background vocals
  • Helen Terry – backing vocals
  • Phil Pickett – keyboards, background vocals
  • Trevor Bastow – strings arrangement


  • Steve Levine – producer, engineer
  • Assistant engineer: Gordon Milne – assistant engineer, mixing
  • Jon Moss – mixing, drum programming
  • Keith Miller – Synclavier programming
  • Jik Graham – cover design, logo, typography
  • Andy Phillips - photography
  • Mark Lebon – photography
  • Jackie Ball – artwork
  • Nick Egan – logo


Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (1982–1983) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[10] 12
Austrian Albums Chart 6
Canadian Albums Chart 2
Dutch Albums Chart 10
Finnish Albums Chart[11] 19
French Albums Chart 2
German Albums Chart 8
Italian Albums Chart[12] 22
Japanese Albums Chart 7
New Zealand Albums Chart 2
Norwegian Albums Chart 3
Swedish Albums Chart 3
Swiss Albums Chart 5
UK Albums Chart[13] 5
U.S. Billboard 200[2] 14
U.S. Top R&B Albums 24


Chart (1982–1983) Single Peak
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" UK Singles Chart 1
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" U.S. R&B Singles 39
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" U.S. Adult Contemporary 8
"Time (Clock of the Heart)" UK Singles Chart 3
"Time (Clock of the Heart)" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
"I'll Tumble 4 Ya" U.S. Adult Contemporary 33
"I'll Tumble 4 Ya" U.S. Hot Dance Club Play 14
"I'll Tumble 4 Ya" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 9
"I'm Afraid of Me" / "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" U.S. Hot Dance Club Play 34

Release detailsEdit

Country Date Label Format Catalog
UK 1982 Virgin LP V2232
1983 Virgin CD 91390
USA 1982 Epic/Virgin LP FE 38398
1990 CD V2-86179
2003 CD 92404


  1. ^ "Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Billboard 200: March 19, 1983". Billboard. 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  3. ^ Promis, Jose F. "Kissing to Be Clever – Culture Club". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 25 September 2002. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b Sachs, Lloyd (3 February 1983). "Culture Club: Kissing to Be Clever". Rolling Stone. No. 388. p. 49. Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  5. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Culture Club". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 204–05. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Hillier, Bev (14 October 1982). "Culture Club: Kissing to Be Clever". Smash Hits. Vol. 4 no. 21. p. 23.
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (28 December 1982). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  8. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "Kissing to Be Clever [Bonus Tracks] – Culture Club". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  9. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever –". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  12. ^ "Hit Parade Italia – ALBUM 1983". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  13. ^ "CULTURE CLUB – full Official Chart History – Official Charts Company". Retrieved 11 February 2017.

External linksEdit