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When Boy George Came to Rundle Mall

Rundle Mall was absolutely packed on the 5th of July 1984 as some 25,000 fans turned out to welcome British pop star sensation Boy George and his group Culture Club.

There had been bitter disappointment earlier for the band’s local fans when it was announced that the group would not perform in Adelaide due to the lack of a suitable concert venue.

What followed was similar to when the Beatles visited the city 20 years earlier, a local radio station (5AD) organised a massive petition to get the group here and with the help of Countdown’s Molly Meldrum the quartet agreed to a short meet and greet visit only, but no concert.

Photo posted by Greg Clark of Boy George's visit to Adelaide in 1984 "with myself, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, John Bannon, Boy George, Ian Molly Meldrum and Roy Hay."

Photo posted by Greg Clark of Boy George’s visit to Adelaide in 1984, “with myself, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, John Bannon, Boy George, Ian Molly Meldrum and Roy Hay.”

During an interview recently Molly recalled; “the first thing that we did with Culture Club when they came to Australia, before they came into the (TV) studio, was in fact go over to Adelaide which we organised because they weren’t touring Adelaide. So they took the day off on the Thursday, they were here in Melbourne, and so we organised for them to go to Adelaide and then just wave to the crowd in the Mall, and then as it turned out Boy George decided to just do an acapella of 2 songs which just blew everyone away.”

Greg Clark (formerly 5AD) posted the above photo on the Adelaide Remember When Facebook newsfeed; “A big big day for the radio station. 25,000 people in Rundle Mall, the world’s hottest group in town. All the big names are there on the old Richmond overpass (now demolished) – Unforgettable! Picture supplied by a punter. — with myself, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, John Bannon, Boy George, Ian Molly Meldrum and Roy Hay.”

Posters who recalled the event remembered Boy George wearing a long pink overcoat and apparently the songs he performed impromptu for the big crowd on the day were completely un-rehearsed.

Image from You Tube video. 25,000 fans turned out to welcome British pop star sensation Boy George. Were you there?

Image from You Tube video. 25,000 fans turned out to welcome British pop star sensation Boy George. Were you there?

Lisa Marker who was doing work experience at the time recalled it as one of the highlights of her teenage years, “Berties was on the same level as the walkway and Boy George walked right past me, so close.”

Others remember wagging school just to be there, including Emma Abbott, “I was there! I was only 12. It was a very good reason to miss school.

Lesley Siciliano wrote “My dad wouldn’t let me wag school to see Culture Club. They missed Adelaide off of their tour and there was a petition to bring them here. Though I think we really wanted a proper concert, not a couple of songs in the mall”.

It was in that same year of 1984 that Culture Club won the Brit Award for Best British Group, the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, and Best British Single (“Karma Chameleon”). They were nominated the same year for the Grammy Award for Pop Vocal by Group or Duo and also nominated for a Canadian “Juno Award” for International Album of the Year.

Were you in the crowd on that July day in 1984 to welcome Boy George to Adelaide?


9 Responses to When Boy George Came to Rundle Mall

  1. Simon Skuce January 15, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    Remember this day really well as was working in the original McDonalds store and was on my lunch break when Boy George sang. Never seen so many people squashed into the mall.

  2. Gill January 15, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

    I took my nephew Anthony down to Rundle Mall, Just so I could see my Idol Boy George and Culture Club.

  3. Jayne Stewart January 15, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    On that day I worked in The Advertiser building. Radio 5AD was on the 10th Floor. I went down to the foyer to wait for them to arrive. Both entrances to the building were locked and there were girls screaming and banging on the doors from outside. I was standing with the lift man Gordon and he informed me the band were coming into the building via the basement and would be getting the lift straight up to the 10th floor. Gordon was a sweet old guy and everyone in the building always chatted with him. Everyone liked Gordon. As a favour after my protest of not being able to see the band in the foyer….he made my day by stopping their lift ride at Ground level…where I conveniently positioned myself. Doors opened and there was George yes in his pink coat. I waved and shouted Hello George and he went to step forward but was summonds back stating ‘wrong floor’ and he waved at me and said ‘byeeeee’ and the doors shut!! I gave Gordon a big hug. He made my day 🙂

  4. Felicity January 16, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    The petition was organized initially by a woman called Pennyanne Garner and then picked up by the Adelaide stations once she contacted them all.

  5. Pennyanne Garner January 16, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    The petition was because they weren’t coming for the same reason as the Beatles 25 yrs earlier. No appropriate venue. Dispite years of lobbying we still had no reasonable sized entertainment venue. I know because I started the petition and pulled some mates on board. I do have the photos and letters to prove it. All these years later Adelaide has less venues and sod all support of local music. So we still lose the really good bands to interstate and get neglected where national tours are concerned.

  6. Niel Daly January 16, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    I wasn’t but I remember all the work my sister Pennyanne put in to getting petitions up and running and the continual flow of Cultue Club info in the house. Fun times! I hope the trip to Melbourne was worth it.

  7. Kathryn Leslie July 3, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    We had nothing to do and went to the airport to see him arrive, there were only four of us there! We saw him get off the plane and ran to the gate, the reporters interviewed us for the nightly news and my friend said: “I’m crying ………because of the wind, not for him, I don’t even like him” but the reporters cut her comment and made it appear like she was crying for him.
    I never forgot that, that was the day I learnt how reporters twist things.

  8. yvonne mcintyre August 29, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    I wish boy george wood come to mobile alabama. In the south I wood love to meet him and. See him in concert i love all his music

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