Come On Eileen

"Come On Eileen"
Single by Dexys Midnight Runners
from the album Too-Rye-Ay
B-side "Dubious"
Released 29 June 1982
Recorded 1981-1982
Genre New wave, Pop rock
Length 4:28 (album version)
4:07 (single verion)
Label Mercury
Writer(s) Kevin Rowland, Jim "Big Jim" Paterson, Billy Adams
Producer 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" was a single released by Dexys Midnight Runners in 1982. The song was written by Kevin Rowland, "Big" Jim Paterson, and Billy Adams; it was produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. It also appeared on the album Too-Rye-Ay. It was their first #1 hit in the United Kingdom since 1980's "Geno".

The song won Best British Single at the 1983 Brit Awards.



The song begins with Celtic-style fiddle played over a drum beat, with the bass guitar and piano providing accompaniment. The original single version has an additional intro of a Celtic fiddle solo, playing Thomas Moore's Irish folk song Believe Me, if All Those Endearing Young Charms.

The chorus was loosely inspired by the song "A Man Like Me" by the 1960s British soul group Jimmy James and the Vagabonds.[1][2][3]

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

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 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. The corner store which was called "Vi's Stores" in the video is located at the corner of Brook Drive and Hayles Street. It is now called Brook Drive Mini Market and can be seen on Google Street View.[4]

Chart success

In the British charts, the song spent four weeks at number one in August 1982. This success was repeated around the globe; it spent five weeks as the Kent Report's number one in Australia and reached number one in April 1983 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. It also holds the distinction of preventing Michael Jackson from having back-to-back number one hits in the U.S. The number one hits "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" were separated by Dexys Midnight Runners' one-week stay at the top.[citation needed]

The song was also successful in Ireland, where it reached number one and spent a total of 11 weeks in the charts.[citation needed]

It is a common example of a one-hit wonder in the U.S., as the band failed to reach similar popularity with any of their later songs, though in the UK they had already reached number one two years earlier with "Geno", and went on to have further hits.

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.[5] Similar polls by the music channel VH1 placed the song at number 3 in the 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders of all time[6], number 18 in the Top 100 Songs of the 1980s[7] and number 1 in the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.[8]

Chart Performance Position[9]
Australian Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 1
US Billboard Hot 100 1
Irish Singles Chart 1

Cover versions

The song has been covered by several artists including the ska band Save Ferris (who replaced the strings with a horn section), folk metal band Skyclad, French art band Nouvelle Vague, the Japanese band nil, and Badly Drawn Boy.

In 2004, a band called 4-4-2 covered this song as "Come On England" with altered lyrics to support the England national football team during their appearance in the 2004 European Championships.

Australian alternative rock band Eskimo Joe were inspired by the song to create a 2009 track, Don't Let Me Down from the album Inshalla.

In 2010, Street Corner Symphony, an a cappella group from Nashville, performed a version of the song on the NBC show The Sing-Off.[10]

Other media

Musicians (band members)


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

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