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Come On Eileen

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Title: Come On Eileen  
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Subject: Dexys Midnight Runners, Helen O'Hara, 1982 in music, The Very Best of Dexys Midnight Runners, Kevin Rowland
Collection: 1982 Singles, 1982 Songs, 1983 Singles, Billboard Hot 100 Number-One Singles, Brit Award for British Single, Dexys Midnight Runners Songs, Irish Singles Chart Number-One Singles, Mercury Records Singles, Million-Selling Singles in the United Kingdom, Music Videos Directed by Julien Temple, Number-One Singles in Australia, Number-One Singles in New Zealand, Number-One Singles in South Africa, Number-One Singles in Switzerland, Song Recordings Produced by Clive Langer, Songs Written by Kevin Rowland, Uk Singles Chart Number-One Singles, Ultratop 50 Singles (Flanders) Number-One Singles
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Come On Eileen

"Come On Eileen"
Single by Dexys Midnight Runners
from the album Too-Rye-Ay
  • "Dubious" (7" & 12")
  • "Liars A to E (New Version)" (on 12" only)
Released 25 June 1982
  • 3:28 / 4:12 (single versions)
  • 4:28 (album version)
Label Mercury
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 UK on 25 June 1982[3] as a single from their album Too-Rye-Ay. It was their second number one hit in the United Kingdom, following 1980's "Geno". The song was written by Kevin Rowland, 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 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.[4]


  • Composition 1
  • Single and album versions 2
  • Music video 3
  • Chart success 4
    • Weekly charts 4.1
    • Year-end charts 4.2
    • Certifications and sales 4.3
  • Other uses 5
  • Musicians (band members) 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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.[5][6]

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

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,[7] there was actually no real Eileen; "In fact she was composite, to make a point about Catholic repression."[8]

Single and album versions

  • The 7" vinyl single released worldwide (except the US) was a 3.28 edit of the main section of the song[9] featuring neither the intro nor the coda. Dexys Midnight Runners' CD compilations again omit the introduction and coda but use the unedited main section (4.06).[10]
  • The worldwide 12"[11] and US 7"[12] 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".[13]
  • The album version features the unedited main section and the coda (4.32).[14] An exception to this is the 2002 US only release of Too-Rye-Ay which uniquely features both introduction and coda (4.47).[15]

Music video

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 Shakespears Sister. The American singer Johnnie Ray, an early crooner mentioned in the opening lyrics, is seen greeting his emotional fans at the beginning of the video using film footage of his arrival at Heathrow Airport in London in 1954.

Filming took place on Brook Drive in the suburb of Kennington in South London.

Chart success

In a poll by Channel 4, a UK TV channel, the song was placed at number 38 in the 100 greatest number one singles of all time.[16] Similar polls by the music channel VH1 placed the song at number three in the 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders of all time,[17] number 18 in VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 1980's[18] and number one in the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s,[19] despite the fact that the group had a previous number-one single in the UK, that being "Geno" in 1980. It has sold 1.33 million copies in the UK as of June 2013.[20]

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 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.

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
1 November 1982 – 29 November 1982 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Pass the Dutchie" by Musical Youth
Preceded by
"Private Investigations" by Dire Straits
Belgian Ultratop 50 Flanders number-one single
30 October 1982 – 6 November 1982 (2 weeks)
Belgian VRT Top 30 Flanders number-one single
30 October 1982 – 6 November 1982 (2 weeks)
Preceded by
"Maneater" by Hall & Oates
Canadian CHUM number-one single
15 January 1983 (1 week)
Preceded by
"Da Da Da" by Trio
New Zealand number-one single
7 November 1982 – 28 November 1982 (4 weeks)
South African number-one single
27 November 1982 – 4 December 1982 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Words" by F. R. David
Preceded by
"Fame" by Irene Cara
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
8 August 1982 – 29 August 1982 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
UK Singles Chart number-one single
7 August 1982 – 28 August 1982 (4 weeks)
Preceded by
"Words" by F. R. David
Swiss number-one single
28 November 1982 – 5 December 1982 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" by Culture Club
Preceded by
"Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
23 April 1983 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Beat It" by Michael Jackson
US Cash Box number-one single
23 April 1983 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Mr. Roboto" by Styx
Preceded by
"Don't You Want Me" by The Human League
UK Singles Chart best-selling single of the year
Succeeded by
"Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club

Other uses

The second single by ska band Save Ferris was a cover of the song in 1997.[49]

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.[50]

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.[51]

The song was used in the films Tommy Boy (1995),[52] This Is England (2006), Get Him to the Greek (2010), Take Me Home Tonight (2011),[53] The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)[54] and the TV shows Spaced and Hindsight. It was also referenced in the Kevin Smith movie Clerks (1994) as the name of a pornographic film ordered by the character Randall Graves.

Musicians (band members)

See also


  1. ^ Mann, Brent (2003). 99 Red Balloons...and 100 Other All-Time Great One-Hit Wonders.  
  2. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. "Dexys Midnight Runners – Artist Biography".  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (25 July 2015). "The Nation's Favourite 80s Number One: 12 more classic 80s chart-toppers which didn't make the cut".  
  5. ^ Jimmy James - A Man Like Me.  
  6. ^ Audio at the Wayback Machine (archived 1 March 2009). Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners". Songfacts. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "Dexys Midnight Runners & Emerald Express, The – Come On Eileen".  
  10. ^ "Dexys Midnight Runners – The Very Best Of Dexys Midnight Runners". Discogs. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Dexys Midnight Runners & Emerald Express, The – Come On Eileen". Discogs. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen". Discogs. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Kevin Rowland Of Dexys Midnight Runners – Tonight". Discogs. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners – Too-Rye-Ay". Discogs. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners – Too-Rye-Ay". Discogs. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Channel 4 - 100 Greatest Number One Singles in the UK". Classic Whitney. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Lists :: Best :: VH1 - 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders". Dave Tompkins. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's". 26 October 2006. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Ali, Rahsheeda (2 May 2013). "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '80s".  
  20. ^ a b Lane, Daniel (27 June 2013). "Daft Punk's Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!".  
  21. ^ "Australia No. 1 hits -- 1980's". World Charts. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  22. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  23. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Radio 2 Top 30 : 30 oktober 1982" (in Nederlands).  
  25. ^ CHART NUMBER 1356 – Saturday, January 15, 1983 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 November 2006). CHUM. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  26. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6194." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  27. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste" (in Français). InfoDisc. Select "Dexy's Midnight Runners" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  28. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  29. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Come On Eileen". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express - Come On Eileen search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  31. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  32. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  33. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (D)". Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  34. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Español) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE.  
  35. ^ " – Dexys Midnight Runners & The Emerald Express – Come On Eileen". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  36. ^ "Archive Chart: 1982-08-07" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  37. ^ a b c "Too-Rye-Ay – Awards".  
  38. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending APRIL 23, 1983 at the Wayback Machine (archived 13 September 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  39. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  40. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1982" (in Nederlands).  
  41. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 39, No. 17, December 24, 1983".  
  42. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1982" (in Nederlands).  
  43. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1982" (in Nederlands).  
  44. ^ Lane, Dan (18 November 2012). "The biggest selling singles of every year revealed! (1952-2011)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  45. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1983". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  46. ^ The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1983 at the Wayback Machine (archived 25 December 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  47. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen".  
  48. ^ "British single certifications – Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen".   Enter Come On Eileen in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  49. ^ Bush, John. "Save Ferris – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  50. ^ Come on England – 2004 at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 October 2013). Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  51. ^ Fries, Colin, NASA History Division (15 July 2011). "Chronology of Wakeup Calls" (PDF).  
  52. ^  
  53. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "Original Soundtrack – Take Me Home Tonight". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  54. ^ Berardinelli, James (19 September 2012). "Perks of Being a Wallflower, The". Retrieved October 2012. 
  55. ^ "Dexys Diary". Retrieved 28 July 2013. 

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