Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen

This was a very enjoyable song by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. It was very different than what was on the radio at the time. It was released in 1982 and peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the UK Charts, and #2 in Canada. The song was written by lead singer Kevin Rowland.

I really thought this band would score another hit but they ended up a one hit wonder…one thing that didn’t help was when they were opening up for David Bowie in France, Kevin Rowland called Bowie a bad copy of Bryan Ferry and later he told the British press: “We only agreed to the show because France is an important market for us – not because I have any respect for Bowie”… Not a smart thing to do.

From Songfacts.

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.

Rowland was raised Catholic and served as an altar boy in church. Sex was a taboo subject, and considered “dirty” – something that fascinated him. When he wrote this song, Rowland was expressing the feelings of that adolescent enjoying his first sexual relationship and dreaming of being free from the strictures of a buttoned-down society:

You in that dress
My thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty

The song describes the thin line between love and lust.

 

“Come On Eileen”

Come on Eileen

Come on Eileen

Poor old Johnnie Ray
Sounded sad upon the radio
But he moved a million hearts in mono
Our mothers cried
Sang along
Who’d blame them?

You’ve grown (you’re grown up)
So grown (so grown up).
Now I must say more than ever

Come on Eileen

Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye
And we can sing just like our fathers

Come on Eileen
Oh, I swear (what he means)
At this moment you mean everything
You in that dress
My thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty
Oh, come on Eileen

Come on Eileen

These people ’round here
Wear beaten-down eyes sunk in smoke-dried faces
They’re so resigned to what their fate is

But not us (no, never)
No, not us (no, never)
We are far too young and clever
Remember

Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye
Eileen I’ll hum this tune forever

Come on Eileen
Oh, I swear what (what he means)
Ah, come on let’s take off everything
Pretty red dress
Eileen (tell him yes)
Ah, come on let’s
Ah, come on Eileen

Pretty red dress
Eileen (tell him yes)
Ah, come on let’s
Ah, come on Eileen, please

Come on Eileen, too-loo-rye-aye
Come on Eileen, too-loo-rye-aye
Now you’re all grown
Now you have shown
Oh, Eileen

Say, come on Eileen
These things they are real
And I know how you feel
Now I must say more than ever
Things ’round here have changed

I say, too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye-aye

Come on Eileen
Oh, I swear (what he means)
At this moment you mean everything
You in that dress,
My thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty
Ah, come on Eileen

Ah, come on Eileen
Oh, I swear (what he means)
At this moment you mean everything
You in that dress,
My thoughts I confess
Well, they’re dirty
Come on Eileen

Come on Eileen