Sunday, April 23, 2023

Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 3

This week in 1983, a new song hit Number One: “Come On Eileen” (video above). The song is by Dexys Midnight Runners, a UK pop rock band from Birmingham. It was number one for just the one week.

Dexys Midnight Runners—now called merely “Dexys” (and still, annoyingly, without the apostrophe…) had numerous personnel changes over the years—so much so that this one of the bands for whom Wikipedia published a chart showing the various members at different times. Still, lead singer Kevin Rowland (now 69) has been, and still is, a fixture.

“Come On Eileen” was released in the UK on 25 June 1982, and became the band’s second Number One hit in there, after their 1980 UK Number One, “Geno”, which was also the band’s second single to be released.

The music video was directed by Julien Temple, who also directed a lot of music videos, including The Sex Pistols and Neil Young in the 1970s, and continuing on with Judas Priest, Gary Numan, Stray Cats, ABC, Culture Club, Depeche Mode—far too many to list here, but there are many of my favourite videos on that list.

This song is one of many over the years that I liked because I liked the sound—but I had little if any idea what was being sung. I didn’t know who Johnnie Ray was, or why, as the song put it, “Our mothers cried, sang along”. Those parts of the lyrics may have been a reference to Ray’s 1951 hit, “Cry”, but in finding that out, I also learned that Ray died of liver failure from alcoholism, and that he was, at least, bisexual, perhaps leaning more toward homosexual (he had been arrested twice for soliciting male undercover officers). All of which could be why he “sounded sad upon the radio”. It clearly would’ve been helpful, back in the day, to be able to read the lyrics, though even if I had I’m not sure I would’ve grasped it was “to make a point about Catholic repression”. Still the lyrics were right about one thing: “you'll hum this tune forever”. Yep.

In addition to hitting Number One the USA, “Come On Eileen” hit Number One in Australia (Gold), 2 in Canada (Gold), Number One in New Zealand, and Number One in the UK (2x Platinum).

Next week, another multi-week 1983 hit.

Previously in the “Weekend Diversion – 1983” series:
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 1
Weekend Diversion: 1983, Part 2

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

IDK why I like this song so much, but I do.