1983: Karma Chameleon By Culture Club

Composed by Boy George, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay, Phil Pickett, all of English band Culture Club. Recorded by Culture Club for their second studio album, Colour by Numbers. Explaining what the song is about, Culture Club front-man Boy George said “It is about the terrible fear of alienation that people have, the fear of standing up for one thing. It’s about trying to suck up to everybody. Basically, if you aren’t true and if you don’t act like you feel, then you get Karma-justice. That’s nature’s way of paying you back.” Karma Chameleon won Best British Single at the 1984 Brit Awards. The video was filmed at Desborough Island, Weybridge during the summer of 1983. Desborough Island is a 112-acre man-made island on the River Thames in the UK. The video is set in Mississippi, USA in 1870. It shows a large multiracial group of people in late 1800’s costumes. A pickpocket and jewellery thief is seen wandering through the crowd, stealing from unsuspecting victims. The band and other people board a riverboat, The Chameleon, as Boy George continues to sing. The thief is discovered cheating at cards and is forced to return his ill-gotten gains and walk the plank. As the video ends, day has turned to evening and the party continues on the boat as it cruises down the river. The real name of the actual boat used was The New Southern Belle, which was a Thames riverboat.

Weekly Chart History (1983 – 1984)Peak Position
Australia1
Austria3
Belgium1
Canada Adult Contemporary Chart12
Canada Top 100 Singles Chart1
Finland1
France5
Germany (West)2
Ireland1
Italy4
Netherlands Dutch Top 40 Chart1
Netherlands Top 100 Singles Chart1
New Zealand1
Norway1
South Africa1
Spain1
Sweden1
Switzerland1
United Kingdom1
USA Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart3
USA Billboard R&B / Hip-Hop Singles Chart67
USA Billboard Top 100 Singles Chart1
USA Cash Box Top 100 Singles Chart1
Year-End Chart History (1983)Final Position
Australia8
Belgium5
France17
Italy16
Netherlands Dutch Top 40 Chart 11
Netherlands Top 100 Singles Chart 10
New Zealand7
Switzerland5
Year-End Chart History (1984)Final Position
Canada Top 100 Singles Chart 5
South Africa7
USA Billboard Top 100 Singles Chart 10
USA Cash Box Top 100 Singles Chart 14
Weekly Chart History (2017)Peak Position
Poland Top 100 Singles Airplay Chart63