Come On Eileen

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"Come On Eileen"
Single by Dexys Midnight Runners
from the album Too-Rye-Ay
B-side "Dubious"
Released 25 June 1982
Recorded 1981–82
Genre New wave,[1] Celtic folk,[2] pop,[2] blue-eyed soul[2]
Length 3:28 / 4:12 (single versions)
4:28 (album version)
Label Mercury
Writer(s) Kevin Rowland, Jim "Big Jim" Paterson, Billy Adams and Roger Mann
Producer(s) Clive Langer, Alan Winstanley
Dexys Midnight Runners singles chronology
"The Celtic Soul Brothers"
"Come On Eileen"
"Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)"

"Come On Eileen" is a song by English pop group Dexys Midnight Runners, released in the UK on 25 June 1982[3] as a single off their album Too-Rye-Ay. It was their second number 1 hit in the United Kingdom, following 1980's "Geno". The song was written by Kevin Rowland, "Big" Jim Paterson, and Billy Adams; it was produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.

"Come On Eileen" won Best British Single at the 1983 Brit Awards.


There are various versions of the song, some in addition to the main section featuring either an intro of a Celtic fiddle solo, or an a cappella coda both based on Thomas Moore's Irish folk song "Believe Me, if All Those Endearing Young Charms"

The main section begins with a Celtic-style fiddle played over a drum beat, with the bass guitar and piano providing accompaniment.

The lyrics of the song begin with the lines:

Poor old Johnnie Ray

Sounded sad upon the radio
Moved a million hearts in mono
Our mothers cried, sang along

Who would blame them?

The phrase "Come on Eileen" is used as the chorus to the song, which was loosely inspired by the song "A Man Like Me" by the 1960s British soul group Jimmy James and the Vagabonds.[4][5]

The bridge of "Come On Eileen" features an improvised counter-melody which begins in a slow tempo and gets faster and faster over an accelerando vocal backing. The chord sequence of the bridge is actually the same as the verses, but transposed up by a whole tone. The bridge is based on the Irish folk melody "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral". Throughout the song, there are numerous tempo changes and key changes:

Key changes throughout the song
Section Introduction Verses Chorus and bridge
Key F major C major D major

Single and album versions[edit]

  • The 7" vinyl single released worldwide (except the US) was a 3.28 edit of the main section of the song [6] featuring neither the intro or the coda. Dexy's CD compilations again omit the introduction and coda, but use the unedited main section(4.06).[7]
  • The worldwide 12"[8] and US 7"[9] singles featured the intro and the unedited main section (4.12). This version has only been released on CD on a Kevin Rowland CD single "Tonight".[10]
  • The album version features the unedited main section and the coda (4.32).[11] An exception to this is the 2002 US only release of Too-Rye-Ay which uniquely features both introduction and coda (4.47).[12]

Music video[edit]

The music video to accompany the single was directed by Julien Temple. It features members of the band wearing sleeveless shirts and dungarees. The "Eileen" as featured in the video (and on the record sleeve) is Máire Fahey, sister of Siobhan Fahey, former singer with Bananarama and Shakespear's Sister. The American singer Johnnie Ray, an early rock-and-roll crooner mentioned in the opening lyrics, is also featured in the video using old film footage.

Filming took place on Brook Drive, Kennington, London.

Chart success[edit]

In a poll by Channel 4, a UK TV channel, the song was placed at number 38 in the 100 greatest number 1 singles of all time.[13] Similar polls by the music channel VH1 placed the song at number 3 in the 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders of all time,[14] number 18 in VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 1980's[sic][15] and number 1 in the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.[16] It has sold 1.31 million copies in the UK as of November 2012.[17] The song reached number 1 in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 charts during the week ending 23 April 1983. "Come on Eileen" prevented Michael Jackson from ever having back-to-back number one hits in the US: "Billie Jean" was the number one single the previous week, while "Beat It" was the number one song the following week.

Chart (1982–1983) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[18] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[19] 9
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[20] 1
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[21] 1
Canada (RPM 50 Singles)[22] 2
France (SNEP)[23] 5
Germany (Media Control AG)[24] 6
Ireland (IRMA)[25] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[26] 4
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[27] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[28] 1
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[29] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[31] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[32] 1
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary[32] 31
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[32] 6

Year-End charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 13

Other uses[edit]

The second single by ska band Save Ferris was a cover of the song in 1994.[33]

In 2004, the band 4-4-2 was formed to cover the song as "Come On England" with altered lyrics to support the England national football team during their appearance in the 2004 European Championships.[34]

On 7 August 2005, the song was used to wake the astronauts of Space Shuttle Discovery on the final day of STS-114 in reference to commander Eileen Collins.[35]

The song was used in the films Tommy Boy (1995),[36] Get Him to the Greek (2010), Take Me Home Tonight (2011)[37] and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012).[38]

Musicians (band members)[edit]


  1. ^ Brent Mann (2003). Citadel Press, ed. 99 Red Balloons...and 100 Other All-Time Great One-Hit Wonders. p. 46. ISBN 978-0806525167.  "New Wave spawned some of pop music's classic one-hit wonders, artists who are vividly remembered today: Dexys Midnight Runners ("Come on Eileen"), Nena ("99 Luftballons"), and Thomas Dolby ("She Blinded Me with Science"), to name just a few."
  2. ^ a b c Steve Huey. "Dexys Midnight Runners biography on Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 July 2013.  ""Come on Eileen," a distinctive fusion of '80s pop, Celtic folk, and blue-eyed soul."
  3. ^ NME (London, England: IPC Media). 19 June 1982. p. 34. 
  4. ^ Jimmy James - A Man Like Me. YouTube. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Audio "". [dead link]
  6. ^ "Discogs German 7in single entry". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Discogs Very Best Of... entry". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Discogs German 12in single entry". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Discogs US 7in single entry". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Discogs Tonight CD single entry". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Discogs Too Rye Ay entry". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Discogs Too Rye Ay 2002 reissue entry". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Channel 4 - 100 Greatest Number One Singles in the UK". Manish. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "VH1's Top 100 One-Hit Wonders". 12 May 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's". 26 October 2006. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Rahsheeda Ali (2 May 2013). "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the ’80s". Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". (The Guardian). Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Australian n°1 Hits - 80's". Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen –" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  20. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Come On Eileen - DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS". VRT (in Dutch). Retrieved 28 July 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 1
  22. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 37, No. 21, January 22, 1983". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. Retrieved 13 June 2013.  You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Dexy's Midnight Runners"
  24. ^ "Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express - Come On Eileen". Media Control. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  25. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. Retrieved 28 July 2013.  Only one result when searching "Come on Eileen"
  26. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express - Come On Eileen search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  27. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  28. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  29. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Acts (D)". John Samson. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  30. ^ "Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen –". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  32. ^ a b c "Too-Rye-Ay awards at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  33. ^ "Save Ferris". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  34. ^ "Come on England - Euro 2004 song". Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  35. ^ Colin Fries, NASA History Division (15 July 2011). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (pdf). NASA. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  36. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Original Soundtrack: Tommy Boy (Music from the Motion Picture) review at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  37. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Original Soundtrack: Take Me Home Tonight review at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  38. ^ James Berardinelli (19 September 2012). "Perks of Being a Wallflower, The". Retrieved October 2012. 
  39. ^ "Dexys Diary". Retrieved 28 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Fame" by Irene Cara
UK number-one single
7 August 1982 – 28 August 1982
Succeeded by
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
Preceded by
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
1 November 1982 – 29 November 1982
Succeeded by
"Pass the Dutchie" by Musical Youth
Preceded by
"Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
23 April 1983
Succeeded by
"Beat It" by Michael Jackson