Come On Eileen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Come On Eileen"
Single by Dexys Midnight Runners and the Emerald Express
from the album Too-Rye-Ay
  • "Dubious" (7" in most countries & 12")
  • "Let's Make This Precious" (7" in US only)
  • "Liars A to E (New Version)" (on 12" only)
Released25 June 1982
Length4:12 (single version)
4:07 (without fiddle intro)
4:47 (with a cappella coda)
3:48 (video version)
3:28 (special DJ edit)
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 group Dexys Midnight Runners (credited to Dexys Midnight Runners and the Emerald Express), released in the United Kingdom on 25 June 1982[3] as a single from their album Too-Rye-Ay. It reached number one in the United States, and it was their second number one hit in the UK, following 1980's "Geno". The song was initially claimed to be written by Kevin Rowland, Jim Paterson and Billy Adams, and it was produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, although Rowland later stated that the essence of the tune should be attributed to Kevin Archer.[4]

"Come On Eileen" won Best British Single at the 1983 Brit Awards and in 2015, the song was voted by the British public as the nation's sixth favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.[5] It was ranked number eighteen on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the '80s"[6] and was named as Britain's best selling single of 1982.[7]


There are various versions of the song; some, in addition to the main section, feature either a Celtic fiddle-solo intro or an a capella 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 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.

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

Although often believed to have been inspired by a childhood friend with whom Kevin Rowland had a romantic, and later sexual, relationship in his teens,[8] there was actually no real Eileen. "In fact she was composite, to make a point about Catholic repression."[9]

Music video[edit]

The 1982 music video was directed by Julien Temple and filmed in the inner south London suburb of Kennington in the vicinity of the corner of Brook Drive and Hayles Street, then Austral Street and Holyoak Road. The character of "Eileen" in the music video, as well as on the single cover, is played by Máire Fahey, sister of Siobhan Fahey from Bananarama.[10]

Archival footage of Johnnie Ray arriving at London Heathrow Airport in 1954 was featured in the video.[11]

Chart success[edit]

In a 2000 poll by Channel 4, the song was placed at number 38 in the 100 greatest number one singles of all time.[12] Similar polls by the music channel VH1 placed the song at number three in the 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders of all time,[13] number 18 in VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the '80s"[6] and number one in the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s[14] (the group had a previous number one single in the UK—"Geno" in 1980—but "Come On Eileen" was their only US hit). "Come on Eileen" has sold 1.33 million copies in the UK as of June 2013.[15]

The song reached number one in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 charts during the week ending 23 April 1983. "Come on Eileen" prevented Michael Jackson from having back-to-back number one hits in the US: "Billie Jean" was the number one single the previous seven weeks, while "Beat It" was the number one song the ensuing three.

Come on England version[edit]

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.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mann, Brent (2003). 99 Red Balloons...and 100 Other All-Time Great One-Hit Wonders. Citadel Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8065-2516-7. 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 Huey, Steve. "Dexys Midnight Runners – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 July 2013. "Come on Eileen," a distinctive fusion of '80s pop, Celtic folk, and blue-eyed soul.
  3. ^ "New Musical Express". NME. London, England. 19 June 1982. p. 34.
  4. ^ Moyes, Jojo (21 January 1997). "Rock star admits stealing song". The Independent. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  5. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (25 July 2015). "The Nation's Favourite 80s Number One: 12 more classic 80s chart-toppers which didn't make the cut". Metro. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b "VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the '80s" Preaches to the Choir with Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" Taking the Top Spot" (Press release). New York City: VH1. 24 October 2006. Archived from the original on 26 June 2007.
  7. ^ Copsey, Rob (12 March 2021). "The Official Top 50 best-selling songs of 1982". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners". Songfacts. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  9. ^ Simpson, Dave (16 October 2014). "'We were always hard workers': Kevin Rowland and Big Jim Paterson on their favourite Dexys songs". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  10. ^ "5 Things You Didn't Know: "Come On Eileen" By Dexys Midnight Runners". WCBS-FM. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  11. ^ Mann, Brent (2003). 99 Red Balloons: And 100 Other All Time Great One-Hit Wonders. Kensington Publishing Corporation. p. 185. ISBN 0-806-52516-9.
  12. ^ "Channel 4 - 100 Greatest Number One Singles in the UK". Classic Whitney. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Lists :: Best :: VH1 - 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders". Dave Tompkins. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  14. ^ Ali, Rahsheeda (2 May 2013). "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '80s". VH1. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015.
  15. ^ a b Copsey, Rob (19 September 2017). "The UK's Official Chart 'millionaires' revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Australia No. 1 hits -- 1980s". World Charts. Archived from the original on 9 January 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  17. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  18. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6194." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Le Détail par Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Dexy's Midnight Runners" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  21. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  22. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Come On Eileen". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  23. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express - Come On Eileen" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  24. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  25. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  26. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (D)". Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  27. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  28. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  30. ^ a b c "Too-Rye-Ay – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  31. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending APRIL 23, 1983". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012.
  32. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  33. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1982" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  34. ^ "The Top Singles of 1983". RPM. Vol. 39 no. 17. Library and Archives Canada. 24 December 1983. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  35. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1982" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  36. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1982" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  37. ^ "End of Year Charts 1982". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  38. ^ Lane, Dan (18 November 2012). "The biggest selling singles of every year revealed! (1952-2011)". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  39. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1983". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  40. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1983". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 25 December 2012.
  41. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen". Music Canada.
  42. ^ "British single certifications – Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen". British Phonographic Industry.
  43. ^ "Come on England – 2004". Archived from the original on 15 October 2013.

External links[edit]