Pop-Up Video: Come On Eileen (1982)

Come On Eileen
Dexys Midnight Runners
B-side: Dubious
Released: June 25, 1982
Songwriters:  Kevin Rowland, Jim Paterson, Billy Adams

Dexys Midnight Runners song "Come On Eileen" was number 2 in the "Rolling Stone Readers Pick the Top 10 One-Hit Wonders of All Time" article on May 4, 2011. It lands at number 3 on the VH1 tally of the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders. 

The song won Best British Single at the 1983 Brit Awards. In 2015, it was voted by the British public as the nation's sixth favorite 1980s number one in a poll for ITVIt ranked number eighteen on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '80sSimilar polls by the music channel VH1 placed the song at number three in the 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders of all time and number one in their list of 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s

The Band

Dexys Midnight Runners' name was inspired by the amphetamine drug Dexedrine, commonly known as "Dexys." The group steered away from drinking and drugs, saying nothing should interfere with their dedication to music. The band's name does not have an apostrophe. 


"Come On Eileen" 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 taboo and considered "dirty" - something that fascinated him. When he wrote this song, Rowland expressed the feelings of that adolescent enjoying his first sexual relationship. 

Dexys Midnight Runners

"Come On Eileen" was the band's first single issued in the US and their only American hit. It reached number one in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 charts during the week ending April 23, 1983. It prevented Michael Jackson from having back-to-back number-one hits in the US. "Billie Jean" was the number-one single in the previous seven weeks. "Beat It" was the number-one song for the ensuing three weeks.


Dexys Midnight Runners

Much of the US success for "Eileen" was due to its video. Most videos at the time were slick productions featuring beautiful people in exotic settings. Dexys,' with the overall-clad band acting out the love story on a gritty street, was radically different. The girl representing Eileen in the video was played by Maire Fahey. The actress's sister Siobhan Fahey was a Bananarama and Shakespear's Sister member.

Johnnie Ray

Johnnie Ray

The video shows Johnnie Ray arriving at London Heathrow Airport in 1954. Ray was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist famous for most of the 1950s. 

Did You Know?
Come On Eileen
Dexys Midnight Runners


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