Like a ghost in my dreams :: Songs of my youth

Culture Club-Colour By Numbers-Front

Victims :: Culture Club
from the album, Colour By Numbers

We love and we never tell,
what places our hearts in the wishing well.
Love lead us into the stream,
and its sink or swim,
like its always been.
And, I keep on loving you,
its the only thing to do.
When the angels sing,
there are greater things;
can I give them all to you?”

A Little History:

Victims is a single from UK band Culture Club’s album Colour by Numbers, released in 1983. As with most early Culture Club singles, the song is about Boy George’s then publicly unknown relationship with drummer Jon Moss.

Although the group’s previous single Karma Chameleon had been a massive hit throughout the world, Victims was only issued in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and Australia. It peaked at # 3 on the UK Singles Chart. In Ireland it peaked at # 2, and in Australia it peaked at # 4. Despite this global success, it was never released as a single in the United States.

The single was not released in countries like the United States, Canada and Japan, where they released Miss Me Blind instead; reportedly, Epic felt that the song was too depressing to be a single.

Its B-side was the then unreleased track Colour by Numbers, which is the title of the album but not included on it. An instrumental version was also issued on the 12″, renamed Romance Revisited. Both extra tracks are now available on the 2003 remastered version of Colour by Numbers.

An early demo version of the song was released re-titled Shirley Temple Moment on the Culture Club box set. The track is a candid glimpse of the relationships within the band as they argue viciously amongst one another between takes, before Boy George finally walks out. It is notable also for the different lyrics which appear in the first verse:

We love and we never tell what places our hearts in the wishing well / Strange lover I’ve never been, but you must be strong, you must come clean / And I keep on loving you, it’s the only thing to do / There are stranger things, if I do those things, I’m a puppet king for you.

Boy George re-recorded the song himself, now as a solo artist, in a folk arrangement and with his older voice, in 2002. That version can be found on the Culture Club box set that was out the same year.

Boy George, a cultural icon at the time of the original release, said to the BBC that his lyrics were based on his life experiences. “This song is about being brave and having strength in the darkest of nights“.
Helen Terry did the background vocals. She had a UK hit on her own in 1984 with Love Lies Lost.
A Little Memory:
It is near impossible to ever separate Boy George’s voice from my memories of a adolescent love, or from the close connection we had together, mostly as friends, in the last two years of high school, and the one year just after, before he disappeared. This was a favorite song of the both of ours. I think we both felt that we carried the scars and badges of being victims, and at that age we had not yet sorted out how to move beyond the pain.
My friend never seem to get past feeling the victim, at least not while I still knew him. No matter how much I loved and believed in him, he seemed to keep letting himself crash. Maybe he had too many secrets, and far too many scars. They say when you are young it feels impossible to see tomorrow, much less have any kind of faith in it.



Culture Club 1983

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