Kissing to Be Clever

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Kissing to Be Clever
Standard cover art
Studio album by Culture Club
Released 4 October 1982 (UK)
13 December 1982 (US)
Recorded 1982
Genre New Wave
Length 33:35
Label Virgin
Producer Steve 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)

Kissing to Be Clever is the debut album by the English band Culture Club, released in late 1982. It includes Culture Club's international breakthrough hit single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", which reached number one and the Top 10 of many charts around the world.


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.[1] 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 US. This made Culture Club the first band since The Beatles to have three Top 10 hits in America 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 The 2003 release of the album has the restoration of the original colour cover which had been replaced by a black-and-white picture of lead singer Boy George on previous versions.

The album has reportedly sold over 5 million copies worldwide, including over 1 million in the USA where it has been certified Platinum by the RIAA.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Smash Hits 9/10 stars[2]
AllMusic 4/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau (B)[4]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[5]

Reviews for Kissing to Be Clever have been generally positive. Allmusic's Lindsay Planer retrospectively rated it four out of five stars. She 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."[3] Robert Christgau rated the album a B, explaining 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."[4] Lloyd Sachs of Rolling Stone Magazine rated it three and a half out of five stars, explaining 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."[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Culture Club

Side One

  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

Side Two

  1. "Boy Boy (I'm the Boy)" – 3:50
  2. "I'm Afraid of Me" [Remix] – 3:16
  3. "White Boys Can't Control It" – 3:43
  4. "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" – 4:22

Later releases have "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" as the opening track of Side 2 (#6), and "Time (Clock of the Heart)" as the final song (#10).

Bonus tracks on the reissue[edit]

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

While on some Japanese editions of the album, the Japan-only single "Mystery Boy" was included, the following is the order of the tracks on the album as released by Epic Records:

  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
  6. "Time (Clock of the Heart)" – 3:41
  7. "White Boy" [Dance Mix] – 4:40
  8. "Boy Boy (I'm the Boy)" – 3:50
  9. "White Boys Can't Control It" – 3:43
  10. "Take Control" – 3:09


Additional musicians[edit]

  • 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


  • Producer: Steve Levine
  • Engineer: Steve Levine
  • Assistant engineer: Gordon Milne
  • Mixing: Steve Levine, Jon Moss
  • Synclavier programming: Keith Miller
  • Drum programming: Jon Moss
  • Cover Design: Jik Graham
  • Photography: Mark Lebon
  • Artwork: Jackie Ball
  • Logo: Jik Graham, Nick Egan
  • Typography: Jik Graham



Chart (1982–1983) Peak
Austrian Albums Chart 6
Canadian Albums Chart 2
Dutch Albums Chart 10
Finnish Albums Chart[7] 19
French Albums Chart 2
German Albums Chart 8
Italian Albums Chart[8] 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[9] 5
U.S. Billboard 200[1] 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 details[edit]

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. ^ a b "Billboard 200: March 19, 1983". Billboard. 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Hillier, Bev (14 October 1982). "Album Reviews (Culture Club - "Kissing To Be Clever")". Smash Hits. Vol. 4 no. 21 (EMAP Metro). p. 23. 
  3. ^ a b Planer, Lindsay. Kissing to Be Clever [Bonus Tracks] – Culture Club at AllMusic. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Reviews: Culture Club". The Village Voice. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Sachs, Lloyd (February 1983). "Kissing to Be Clever". Rolling Stone. No. 388. p. 49. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links[edit]