Thursday, February 8, 2007

Dexys Midnight Runners

Come On Eileen

Dexys Midnight Runners was are a British New Wave and Northern Soul band, who achieved their major success in the early to mid 1980s.

Kevin Rowland (vocals, guitar) and Kevin "Al" Archer (vocals, guitar) founded the band in 1978 in Birmingham, England, naming the band after Dexedrine, a brand of dextroamphetamine popularly used as a recreational drug amongst Northern Soul fans at the time. The midnight runners referred to the energy the Dexedrine gave, enabling one to run into the midnight hours. "Big" Jim Paterson (trombone), Jeff "JB" Blythe (saxophone), Steve "Babyface" Spooner (alto saxophone), Pete Saunders (keyboard), Pete Williams (bass) and Bobby "Jnr" Ward (drums) formed the first line-up of the band to record a single, "Dance Stance" (1979). The song was released on the independent Oddball Records, and only reached number 40 in the British charts, but the next single, "Geno" – about Geno Washington, and released on EMI – was a British Number One in 1980. It featured the band's newest recruits, Andy Leek (keyboards) and Andy "Stoker" Growcott (drums).

The band members were disappointed with their share of the profits, and soon stole the master tapes of Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, their debut LP, in order to renegotiate the deal. The album was released later in 1980 and became a massive success. After the next single "There, There, My Dear" was a hit, Rowland insisted on choosing the uncommercial "Keep It Part Two (Inferiority Part One)" for the following single. It was a failure, and most of the band members quit, angered over continual personality problems with Rowland. Archer eventually formed The Blue Ox Babes, while Blythe, Spooner, Williams, Stoker and Mick Talbot (ex-Merton Parkas, who had recently joined on keyboards) left to form The Bureau. Paterson stayed with Rowland, who added Billy Adams (guitar/banjo), Seb Shelton (drums, formerly of Secret Affair), Micky Billingham (keyboard), Brian Maurice (alto saxophone), Paul Speare (tenor saxophone) and Steve Wynne (bass), releasing "Plan B", "Show Me" (this line-up's only Top 40 hit) and "Liars A to E" in 1981 without much success.

Rowland then recruited fiddle players Helen O'Hara (from Archer's new group, the Blue Ox Babes), Steve Brennan and Roger MacDuff, known collectively as "The Emerald Express". With the addition of new bass player, Giorgio Kilkenny, this line-up recorded Too-Rye-Ay in 1982, a Celtic folk and soul hybrid. The first single, "The Celtic Soul Brothers", was mildly successful but the above video "Come on Eileen" soon followed, and became a Number One hit in both the UK and the United States (and, in the former, the biggest-selling single of 1982). The follow-up "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)" also reached the top 5 in the UK singles chart, having originally been written and recorded by Van Morrison.

Feeling that their role in the group had diminished following the arrival of the fiddles, the brass section of Paterson, Speare and Maurice left to form The TKO Horns and recorded an album in 1985 with Howard Jones, while Kilkenny was replaced by Johnny Edwards on bass and Billingham left to join General Public. The group continued to tour until 1983 with a nucleus of Rowland, Adams, O'Hara and Shelton augmented by other musicians.

After a two-year break, Dexys returned in 1985 with the critically panned album, Don't Stand Me Down, featuring Rowland, Adams, O'Hara and Nicky Gatfield together with various seasoned performers including Vincent Crane (ex-Atomic Rooster), Julian Littman and Tim Dancy (who had been Al Green's drummer). Rowland at first refused to issue any singles from the defiantly un commercial album, and by the time "This Is What She's Like" was released, it was too late to save the album from commercial failure. The group disbanded the following year after a brief return to the charts with the single "Because Of You" (which was used as the theme tune to a British sitcom, Brush Strokes), and Rowland became a solo artist with the release of 1988's poorly-received album, The Wanderer.

Dance Stance / I'm Just Looking (1979) #40 UK
Geno / Breakin' Down The Walls Of Heartache (1980) #1 UK
There, There, My Dear / The Horse (1980) #7 UK
Keep It Part Two (Inferiority Part One) / One Way Love (1980)
Plan B / Soul Finger (1981) #58 UK
Show Me / Soon (1981) #16 UK
Liars A To E / And Yes We Must Remain The Wildhearted Outsiders (1981)
The Celtic Soul Brothers / Love Part Two (1982) #45 UK
Come On Eileen / Dubious (1982) #1 UK, #1 US
Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile) / Let's Make This Precious (1982) #5 UK
Let's Get This Straight (From The Start) / Old (1982) #17 UK
The Celtic Soul Brothers (Reissue) / Reminisce Part One (1983) #20 UK
(An Extract From) This Is What She's Like / This Is What She's Like (Finale) (1985) #78 UK
Because Of You / Kathleen Mavourneen (1986) #13 UK

Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)
Too-Rye-Ay (1982)
Geno (1983)
Don't Stand Me Down (1985)

External links
Dexy's Midnight Runners fansite
A BBC audio interview with Kevin Rowland - recorded on 01 October 2003 (This is a RealAudio file, you will need a compatible media player to play this file)
Andy Leek's official website
Retrieved from ""

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