Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………………….on April 23rd of 1983 Dexys Midnight Runners went to the top of the Billboard singles chart with “Come On Eileen”, the group’s only US #1. The song also topped the UK chart. The band took their name from the amphetamine Dexedrine, commonly known as Dexys, and therefore the group’s name is improperly spelled when an apostrophe is used between the y and the s. Written by Dexys lead singer Kevin Rowland, trombone player Jim Paterson and guitarist Al Archer, this song was an enormous hit, going to #1 in America, the UK and Australia. While the song will fit nicely in an ’80s music time capsule, it sounded nothing like the other hits of the era. There are no synthesizers on the song, but there is banjo, accordion, fiddle and saxophone. This song is based on a true story. Eileen was a girl that Kevin Rowland grew up with. Their relationship became romantic when the pair were 13, and according to Rowland, it turned sexual a year or two later. Dexys Midnight Runners had no American distribution for their first album, which did very well in the UK and contained a #1 hit called “Geno.” “Come On Eileen” was their first single issued in US, and was the only American hit for the band – “The Celtic Soul Brothers” was served up as a follow-up single, but petered out at #86. Much of the US success for “Eileen” can be attributed to its video, which got constant airplay on MTV and remains one of the most memorable and beloved clips of the era.  When this hit #1 in the US, it knocked Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” off the top spot.This was the biggest-selling single of 1982 in the United Kingdom.