Saturday, August 7, 1982

Dexy's Midnight Runners hit #1 in UK with “Come in Eileen”

Come on Eileen

Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Writer(s): Kevin Rowland, Jim Paterson, Billy Adams (see lyrics here)

Released: June 25, 1982

First Charted: July 3, 1982

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 3 GR, 3 RR, 31 AC, 6 AR, 1 CO, 14 UK, 2 CN, 15 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.61 UK, 1.96 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 45.8 video, 793.21 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come on Eileen” hit #1 in the UK and U.S. – eight months apart. The “gloriously gimmicky pop single” AMG topped the UK charts in August 1982 and became the biggest-selling single of the year. SF It topped the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1983, sandwiched between Michael Jackson’s two monstrous chart-toppers from Thriller – “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” It was the group’s only hit stateside, but they had another chart-topper in the UK with “Geno” in 1980 and also landed a couple of other top-10 hits.

The band went through a variety of looks and sounds. When they formed in 1978, their music had a “Stax Records/Van Morrison-influenced soul flavor” FB accompanied by a street gang look inspired by Rober DeNiro’s character in Mean Streets. FB However, they split up and lead singer Kevin Rowland reformed the group with a more puritanical bent before mixing things up again with a “silly street urchin look” AMG married with the sound of “born-again Celtic soulsters.” FB

It’s that later iteration which is employed on “Come on Eileen” and the parent album Too-Rye-Ay. FB The song is “armed with a cheerful and gay melodic hook courtesy of the band’s new fiddle section and the sort of chorus you can starting singing almost before you’ve heard it the first time.” AMG It also employs banjo, accordion, and saxophone, setting it apart from other hits of the synthesizer-driven era. SF Depending on perspective, “Come on Eileen” can be seen as “an elegantly catchy bit of pop folklore or teeth-grindingly tinny gypy lament.” TB

The former altar boy and one-time candidate for the priesthood was taught by his Irish-Catholic relatives that sex was dirty and used the song to make a point about Catholic repression. WK Rowland has said (but also denied) that the song is about a “a girl who I grew up with basically…and there was a time, about 14 or 15,…sex came into it and our relationship had always been so clean. It seemed at that time to get dirty and that’s what it’s about.” FB In his All Music Guide review, Stewart Mason amusingly describes the song as “about that special time in a young boy’s life when he realizes he wants to shag his best mate.” AMG


First posted 1/20/2021; last updated 5/2/2024.

Monday, August 2, 1982

Rush “New World Man” released

New World Man


Writer(s): Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart (see lyrics here)

Released: August 2, 1982

First Charted: September 4, 1982

Peak: 21 US, 35 CB, 25 RR, 11 AR, 36 UK, 12 CN (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.3 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

While it may sound absurd, Rush can technically be called a one-hit wonder. How, you ask? Well, if one uses the Billboard top 40 as the means of measuring hit status, the only song by the Canadian trio to reach those lofty heights was “New World Man,” peaking at #21 in 1982. They did have seven other songs reach the Billboard Hot 100, but the highest was 1981’s “Tom Sawyer” at #44.

Of course, Rush were never really about singles anyway. They were always more of an album band. They built their following at radio stations more apt to play album cuts, generating staples such as “Fly by Night,” “Closer to the Heart,” “The Trees,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Freewill,” “Tom Sawyer,” and “Limelight.” The release of 1982’s Signals became the band’s third straight top-10 album, thanks to more classic-rock staples like “New World Man” and “Subdivisions.” The former was the first of five #1’s on the album rock chart. Rush would surely have had even more if the chart existed prior to 1981. The song was also their only one to reach the pinnacle in their native Canada.

“New World Man” was the last song composed for the album. It only took a day to write and record. SF It grew out of a suggestion by Terry Brown, the producer, to round out the lengths of the two sides of the cassette version of the album. WK As singer Geddy Lee said, “It wouldn’t have been on the record if we didn’t have four minutes space available…Our shortest albums are about 18 minutes a side…I couldn’t see us going below that.” SF

The song is about a young man who could have it all. However, the same circumstances that could lead to success are the same ones which could cause him to lose it all and cost him the world.


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First posted 7/28/2022.