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"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 byClive Langer and Alan Winstanley.

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


 [hide*1 Composition


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]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]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]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 BillboardHot Adult Contemporary[32] 31
US BillboardHot Mainstream Rock Tracks[32] 6

Year-End charts[edit]Edit

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

Other uses[edit]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]Edit

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