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Lyric Music

Karma Chameleon

Culture Club

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Story of Song

Be yourself. According to Boy George, “Karma Chameleon” is about the cause and effect of not being true to oneself for fear of being ostracized by other people. Although the group wrote their songs together, Boy George often crafted their lyrics. Many of Boy George’s words were inspired by his relationship with the group’s drummer, Jon Moss, with whom he had an affair during the height of the group’s success. George admitted that their first single “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” was about Moss, and their difficult lover-professional relationship was the inspiration for the line “You’re my lover, not my rival” in “Karma Chameleon.” The stress from the public/professional and personal/private relationship would eventually take its toll on both of them, as well as the band. Boy George explained in The Billboard Book of number 1 Hits by Fred Bronson, “The song is about the terrible fear of alienation that people have and about trying to suck up to everybody. If you aren’t true, if you don’t act like you feel, then you get Karma justice, that’s nature’s way of paying you back.

Release date

September 1983 (UK)   –  3 December 1983 (USA)


George O’Dowd, /Jon Moss /Michael Craig/ Roy Hay, Boy George and also Phil Pickett helped write this song.



Chart Rankings

US – 1

UK – 1


In the UK Karma Chameleon became the second Culture Club single to top the UK Singles Chart and  it remained there for six weeks in September and October 1983, It was the UK’s biggest selling song of the same year. To date, it is the 31st best-selling single of all time in the UK, selling 1.49 million copies there. It has sold over 5 million global copies, making it one of the best-selling singles worldwide. Karma Chameleon was number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100  for three weeks in early 1984.

Artist’s age on release date

The band was active for 2 years at that time.

Cover Versions

The group performed the song as a finale when they appeared in the 1986 episode “Cowboy George” of The A-Team. No records of a remade.


Added by Slate

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    Trailer Jake

    February 17, 2020 at 11:23 am

    What is the name of the castle in the German TV video for this song?

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