Dexy Midnight Runners – Geno

The only song I knew from Dexy Midnight Runners was Come On Eileen but UK #1s Blog (Check him out if you haven’t already) featured this #1 UK song from 1980. I have been listening to it ever since.

This song is about Geno Washington, a US Soul singer the band admired. Geno Washington was not huge in America but was popular in the UK.

There is a reason that America never heard the single. This was the second Dexys Midnight Runners single released in the UK, and it shot to #1 on the chart, becoming a crowd favorite along the way. They had no distribution in America, so the song wasn’t heard in the US.

They would soon be heard in the US with Come On Eileen. Kevin Archer, Kevin Rowland wrote the song and it peaked at #1 in the UK in 1980.

Dexys frontman Kevin Rowland was originally in a punk band called The Killjoys with guitarist Kevin “Al” Archer. Rowland had an idea to form a big soul band with a brass section and he founded Dexy’s Midnight Runners in 1978 in Birmingham, England with Archer. They took their name from Dexedrine…. a pep pill favored by ’60 mods.

Kevin Rowland : “I saw Geno Washington in 68 at the Railway Hotel in Harrow. I was 15 years old and out with all the older kids – you had to be 18 to get in – short-haired, cool-looking mods-turning-into-skinhead types. Looking back, it’s probably not the best gig I’ve ever been to, but I didn’t have anything to compare it to.”

From Songfacts

As Dexys Midnight Runners were on the upswing, packing club shows and getting positive press, Washington’s career had faded, and the once-revered singer found himself on the cabaret circuit. “Geno,” which was written by Dexys lead singer Kevin Rowland and guitarist Al Archer, is a tribute to Washington and also a look at the cyclical nature of entertainment.

Dexys Midnight Runners made their mark by adding their distinctive Celtic flavor to Soul music. They championed artists like Washington and did covers of songs by Sam And Dave, Aretha Franklin and the lesser-known Zoot Money. “Soul” was part of Rowland’s stage patter (“our hearts are full of soul…”), as he made it clear where their musical roots had grown.

On the band’s second album, they had a hit with a cover of “Jackie Wilson Said,” which was Van Morrison’s tribute to another Soul singer.ne.

Rowland told The Guardian that the lyrics are all true. He recalled: 

The video features plenty of scenes running around alleyways and jumping over railway station ticket barriers. Al Archer told Mojo: “We did all those things. It wasn’t any kind of gimmick, we did actually bunk the trains and all that.”

Geno

Geno, Geno, Geno, Geno, Geno!
Geno, Geno, Geno, Geno, Geno!
Geno, Geno, Geno, Geno, Geno!

Back in ’68 in a sweaty club
(Oh, Geno)
Before Jimmy’s Machine and The Rocksteady Rub
(Oh, Geno)
On a night when flowers didn’t suit my shoes
After a week of flunkin’ and bunkin’ school
The lowest head in the crowd that night
Just practicin’ steps and keepin’ outta the fights

Academic inspiration, you gave me none
But you were Michael the lover
The fighter that won
But now just look at me as I’m looking down at you
No, I’m not bein’ flash, It’s what I’m built to do

That man took the stage, his towel was swingin’ high
(Oh Geno)
This man was my bombers, my Dexy’s, my high
(Oh, Geno)
How the crowd, they all hailed you, and chanted your name
But they never knew like we knew
Me and you were the same
And now you’re all over, your song is so tame, brrr
You fed me, you bred me, I’ll remember your name

Academic inspiration, you gave me none
But you were Michael the lover
The fighter that won
But now just look at me as I’m looking down at you
No, I’m not bein’ flash, It’s what I’m built to do

Oh, Geno
(Oh, Geno)
Oh, Geno
(Oh, Geno)

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

17 thoughts on “Dexy Midnight Runners – Geno”

  1. I like this and didn’t know it at all (I think). I much prefer the “rawer” first video – the second video had been “cleaned up” and made “tamer”. I thought it was a great stage act and the brass on the first one was fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was bigger over there than ‘Eileen’ was. I never heard it back in the day and only know about it from when I was researching for a blog on ‘Come onEileen’. Not a bad sound, might not have guessed the two songs were the same band. I had no clue what or who it was about though so I learned something new today.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: