One-Hit Wonders: Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come On Eileen”

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Kevin Rowland (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Kevin Rowland (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

A tumultuous band subject to the tumultuous whims of leader Kevin Rowland, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Dexy’s Midnight Runners[/lastfm] were a hit many times over in the UK. In the US, however, they’ve never managed to break free from the category known as One-Hit Wonders.

dexysmidnightrunner 385 One Hit Wonders: Dexys Midnight Runners Come On Eileen

Named after dexedrine (“Dexy’s”) and the energy they gave revelers to dance all night (hence the “Midnight Runners”), the band was formed in 1978 by Kevin Rowland.

Their one US hit, “Come On, Eileen,” came from the second of their three albums, each finding the band taking on a different persona. For Too-Rye-Ay, the one that included “Eileen,” the band portrayed themselves as Celtic rock street urchins. (Their next album, Don’t Stand Me Down, found them in pinstripe suits).

Based on the 1960s soul tune, “A Man Like Me” by Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, inclusive of a snippet from the folk song “Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms” and aired endlessly MTV, “Come On Eileen” was different enough to capture record buyers’ attention in 1983. It reached #1 on April 23 of that year.

[metrolyrics artist="Dexy's Midnight Runners" song="Come On Eileen"]

Gone but not forgotten, find more tales of One-Hit Wonders.

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