The War Song

"The War Song"
The War Song.jpg
Single by Culture Club
from the album Waking Up with the House on Fire
B-side "La Cancion de Guerra",
"La Chanson de Guerre"
"Der Kriegsgesang"
"Senso Hantai"
Released 6 October 1984 (1984-10-06) (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 1984
Genre New wave, reggae fusion
Length 4:14
Label Virgin Records
Epic Records (US)
Songwriter(s) Roy Hay, Boy George, Mikey Craig, Jon Moss
Producer(s) Steve Levine
Culture Club singles chronology
"It's a Miracle"
"The War Song"
"The Medal Song"
"It's a Miracle"
"The War Song"
"The Medal Song"

"The War Song" is a 1984 song by the British band Culture Club which features background vocals by Clare Torry. It was the lead single from the band's third album Waking Up with the House on Fire. The song became the group's seventh top-five hit on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number two.[1] In the U.S. the single peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100[2] and hit the top ten in many countries including Canada (#7), Ireland (#1), Italy (#3) and Australia (#2). While very popular at the time, it was not appreciated by some music critics for some weakness in the lyrics and less original arrangements.

The song was assisted by a popular music video, directed by Russell Mulcahy,[3] which features hundreds of children dressed as skeletons. Lead singer Boy George is shown with his new flame-red hair, and also employs four wigs in black, white, yellow and blue. The video cost more than £100,000 to make.[citation needed]

In many countries, the single was released with a B-Side consisting of a native-language version (Spanish, French, Japanese or German) of the song. It was available in two different extended versions, a first in Culture Club discography. Its 7" picture disc was shelved, and the only remaining copies are very rare.

It was Culture Club's last UK top 5 hit before 1998's "I Just Wanna Be Loved".

At the time of its release, Boy George claimed that the song was "the best thing we've ever done." However, since then he has joked about the song: "It ruined my career", mentioning often that he is not proud of this song.[citation needed] It has also been excluded from some music compilations of the band. Though not performed live by Culture Club since 1985, it was performed on New Year's Eve 2011 when Culture Club reunited for a one-off gig. The band also played the song in 2014.[4] It was parodied on the satirical British TV series Spitting Image as "War Is Naughty", a reference to the main phrase of the original song's chorus ("War is stupid").


Chart (1984-1985) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 2
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[6] 4
Canada (RPM 100 Singles)[7] 3
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100 Singles) 3
France (SNEP)[8] 7
Germany (Official German Charts)[9] 12
Ireland (IRMA)[10] 1
Italy (FIMI)[11] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[12] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[13] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[14] 5
Spain (AFYVE)[15] 4
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 6
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 10
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 17

Track listing


Released at least in UK, USA, Australia, Spain

A. The War Song
B. La Cancion De Guerra

Released in France and Canada

A. The War Song
B. La Chanson De Guerre


Released at least in UK, Australia, Spain, USA

A1. The War Song (Ultimate Dance Mix)
B1. The War Song (Shriek Mix)
B2. La Cancion De Guerra


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The War Song - Culture Club". Billboard Hot 100. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  6. ^ "the war song - culture club". VRT (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 July 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 1
  7. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 42, No. 22, December 10, 1984". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  8. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  9. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  10. ^ "Ireland singles charts". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2014-05-13. 
  11. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1984". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Creative Commons. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
    10. The War Song - Culture Club [#3]
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Culture Club search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  13. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  14. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song". VG-lista.
  15. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (December 1984). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  16. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song". Singles Top 100.
  17. ^ " – Culture Club – The war song". Swiss Singles Chart.
  18. ^ "Culture Club: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  19. ^ "Culture Club Chart History (Hot 100)" Billboard.

External links