Song: “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Reached #1: April 23, 1983 (their first, 1 week)
The thing most American music fans remember about Dexy’s Midnight Runners was the look – the scruffy beards and denim overalls. What we didn’t get then, and most listeners never knew, was that Dexy’s lead singer/mad genius – Kevin Rowland – liked to change the band’s gear to fit the theme of each of their albums. Because he’d gone for the fiddles and banjos sound on Too-Rye-Ay, the band dressed to match.
For their first single, the look was leather jackets and wool hats. The first full album saw the look change to hoodies and boots. The third album was accompanied with pinstripe suits. There wasn’t a fourth album, as an unfortunate part of Rowland’s leadership was an ability to keep driving off members of the band.
After the third album, Rowland went solo, signing with a small British independent label. That move left him in obscurity for over a decade. In 2003, Rowland reformed the band, now known as Dexys, and began recording again. A new album is due this summer.
And yes, the band’s name is a drug reference. “Dexy’s Midnight Runners” is a reference to all-night Dexedrine-fueled dance binges.
Tomorrow, we chase a runaway…
Other songs that reached #1 on April 23:
1977 – “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Thelma Houston (her first, 1 week)
1988 – “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston (her seventh, 2 weeks)