The hit that almost never was, was the chart-topping song “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. For band front-runner Kevin Rowland, it was make-or-break-time, and he had one more opportunity to make something spectacular.
Come On Eileen is one of those songs that everyone has heard, and it easily has one of the most recognizable choruses and beats of any song from the 1980s (maybe ever?).
In 1982, the song “Come On Eileen” climbed its way to the top of both US and UK music charts. Its upbeat tune and message was something that was fresh and fun that fans couldn’t seem to get enough of.
Come On Eileen
The song “Come On Eileen” was written by Kevin Rowland along with his fellow band members, Billy Adams and Jim Patterson. By that point in the band’s career, they had not made any headway in the music industry. They were popular, but they had not released any truly successful songs.
So they set out to write the song with the goal that it should become the best song the band has ever performed. They worked hard to ensure that every single detail of the song was perfect. And, staying away from the popular synthesizers of the age, they were able to produce something that was extremely unique in its own right.
The Story Behind “Come On Eileen”
The band wanted something different than what was currently playing on the radio. With so many other bands focusing on using synthesizers in the early 1980s, Dexy’s Midnight Runners wanted to reintroduce actual musical instruments. With the help of Jim Patterson, they were able to create a chord structure that was unique, yet addicting.
Eventually, they decided to also add in a fiddle player which added even more to the music. In fact, the song itself starts off with a very catchy rhythm being played on the violin.
The Hit That Almost Never Was
In retrospect, the song that would become the band’s best-selling hit was almost passed over by the recording company. The record label did not have confidence that “Come On Eileen” was going to be a hit.
They were already preparing to release their next album, and so by the time that they had actually recorded the song, it was already very late in the production process.
As a result, the recording company simply did not want to release the song at all. It wasn’t until a local radio station DJ had heard the song, that the label was persuaded into releasing the song as a single.
The Come On Eileen Legacy
With the help of an intro featuring a fiddle rather than the traditional synthesizers of the early 1980s, the song “Come On Eileen” introduced an entirely new, yet extremely addictive beat.
The rhythm of the music gave off a feel-good vibe, even though none of it was produced electronically. Rather, the band focused on using fiddles, banjos, and accordions. And, with the help of MTV, the song was a hit.
Not only did it climb to the number one spot in 1983, but it actually knocked a Michael Jackson song from the top of the charts. While the climb to the top was slow in comparison to other popular songs of the early 80s, it nevertheless represented a hit for the band. To date, the official YouTube video has received more than 26 million views.