BPMI and Primary Wave Revamp Boy George Hit in Celebration of Pride Month

Berklee Popular Music Institute students reimagined the Culture Club chart-topper “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” in this video premiere.

June 22, 2022

In celebration of cultural icon Boy George and his lasting impact on the LGBTQ+ community, the Berklee Popular Music Institute (BPMI) and publishing company Primary Wave Music have partnered to remake Culture Club's smash hit “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” The song and accompanying video premiered on Berklee’s YouTube Channel on June 22 and has been shared on both Boy George and Culture Club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

[H]earing this song, interpreted from a new generation is exciting, as the message is still the same.

— Boy George

“It's interesting to hear this interpretation of this song, as we have just reinterpreted this ourselves,” said Boy George after hearing this cover. “For me personally, I'm always excited when someone takes the song and does something else with it. I've already done the original, so I don’t need another version of it, trying to sound like me. This version of the song is right up my street. When I think about the climate in the early eighties, when I wrote this song with Culture Club, attitudes to sexuality were different, and people were able to get away with more in terms of what they said about you and what they felt about you, and it's changed now, so hearing this song, interpreted from a new generation is exciting, as the message is still the same.”

The revamped version of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” marks the newest installment in the BPMI/Primary Wave video series, which was born out of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a music business program and a major publishing company. The piece was arranged, performed, produced, and mixed entirely by Berklee students, and it features singer-songwriter Tyler Christian on lead vocals, Julian Lewis on drums, and Liam Garcia on guitar and bass.

The group imbued the new wave classic with swirling vocal harmonies and a driving percussive foundation that distinguishes this interpretation from the original while still honoring its core elements. The team worked with Bottle Tree Pictures to create a video that captures the forceful energy of this ambitious cover.

[This project] helped me discover more about who I am as an artist and individual.

— Tyler Christian, singer-songwriter and Berklee student

“This project was super exciting to be a part of and it definitely pushed the limits for me in terms of my sound as a musician,” noted Christian. “It also helped me discover more about who I am as an artist and individual. I’m excited for people to hear it!”

The BPMI program has previously remade classics from several Primary Wave artists including War ("Why Can’t We Be Friends"), Donny Hathaway (“This Christmas”), and, most recently, Fleetwood Mac (“Landslide”). What started as a pandemic project filmed on cell phones and produced virtually by students from all corners of the globe has now garnered over 1.8 million views on Berklee’s YouTube channel. The original songwriters and producers have met with BPMI students to consult on several projects, promoting the final product on their own social media accounts and websites.

“This video series has been extremely rewarding for our students since beginning the collaboration with Primary Wave in May 2020, and with each video release we’ve seen a new level of growth and development from the students,” said Morgan Milardo, managing director for the Berklee Popular Music Institute. “I am quite proud of their accomplishments, and am continually humbled by the support of Primary Wave and their incredible songwriters.”

Tyler Christian will be releasing the BPMI cover of "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" on all streaming platforms on June 24.

Watch BPMI and Primary Wave's video for “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”: