The War Song

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This article is about the song by The Culture Club. For other uses, see War (disambiguation).
"The War Song"
Single by Culture Club
from the album Waking Up with the House on Fire
B-side "La Cancion de Guerra",
"La Chanson de Guerre"
"Der Kriegsgesang"
"Senso Hantai"
Released October, 1984 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 1984
Genre New wave, reggae fusion
Length 4:14
Label Virgin Records
Epic Records (US)
Writer(s) Culture Club
Producer(s) Steve Levine
Culture Club singles chronology
"It's a Miracle"
"The War Song"
"The Medal Song"

"The War Song" was the lead single from Culture Club's third Platinum-certified 1984 album Waking Up with the House on Fire. The song became the group's seventh top-five hit on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number two.[1] In the U.S. the single peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100[2] and hit the top ten in many countries including Canada (#7), Ireland (#1), Italy (#3) and Australia (#2). While very popular at the time, it was not appreciated by some music critics for some weakness in the lyrics and less original arrangements.

The song was assisted by a popular MTV music video, which features hundreds of children as skeletons. Boy George is shown with his new flame-red hair. He also employs four wigs in black, white, yellow and blue. It was directed by Russell Mulcahy and cost more than £100,000 to make.

In many countries, the single was released with a B-Side consisting of a native-language version (Spanish, French, Japanese or German) of the song. It was available in two different extended versions, a first in Culture Club discography. Its 7" picture disc was shelved, and the only remaining copies are very rare. It is the picture disc that sells with the highest price in record stores and on eBay, usually between US$250 and 1000.[citation needed]

The following singles from its parent album ("The Medal Song" in Europe, "Mistake No.3" in Americas) were not as popular. It was Culture Club's last UK top 5 hit before 1998's "I Just Wanna Be Loved".

Boy George once joked about the song: "It ruined my career", mentioning often that he is not proud of this song.[citation needed] It has also been excluded from some music compilations of the band. The song has never been performed live by Culture Club since 1985 and has never been performed live by Boy George as a solo artist. It was parodied on the satirical British TV series Spitting Image as "War Is Naughty", a reference to the main phrase of the original song's chorus: "War, war is stupid". The song was performed on News Years Eve 2011 when Culture Club reunited for a one gig.


Chart (1984-1985) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[3] 2
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[4] 4
Canada (RPM 100 Singles)[5] 3
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100 Singles) 3
France (SNEP)[6] 7
Germany (Media Control Charts)[7] 12
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 1
Italy (FIMI)[9] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[10] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[11] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[12] 5
Spain (AFYVE)[13] 4
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 6
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 10
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 17

Track listing[edit]


Released at least in UK, USA, Australia, Spain

A. The War Song
B. La Cancion De Guerra

Released in France and Canada

A. The War Song
B. La Chanson De Guerre


Released at least in UK, Australia, Spain, USA

A1. The War Song (Ultimate Dance Mix)
B1. The War Song (Shriek Mix)
B2. La Cancion De Guerra


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The War Song - Culture Club". Billboard Hot 100. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  4. ^ "the war song - culture club". VRT (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 July 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 1
  5. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 42, No. 22, December 10, 1984". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  6. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Culture Club – The war song". GfK Entertainment.
  8. ^ "Ireland singles charts". Retrieved 2014-05-13. 
  9. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1984". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Creative Commons. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
    10. The War Song - Culture Club [#3]
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Culture Club search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  11. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  12. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song". VG-lista.
  13. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (December 1984). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  14. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song". Singles Top 60.
  15. ^ "Culture Club – The war song –". Swiss Singles Chart.
  16. ^ "Culture Club" UK Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Culture Club Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Culture Club.

External links[edit]