Top 10 Dexys Midnight Runners Songs

Dexys Midnight Runners Songs

Photo: Ueli Frey, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Dexys Midnight Runners Songs spotlight a band from England that brought a distinctive flair to pop-rock music. Originating from Birmingham in 1978, Dexys Midnight Runners found their stride in commercial success during the 1980s. Key founding members included the multifaceted Kevin Rowland, serving as songwriter, guitarist, and lead vocalist, alongside guitarist and vocalist Kevin Archer, both former members of the punk band The Killjoys. The name Dexys Midnight Runners was inspired by Dexedrine, a stimulant popular among soul enthusiasts for its energizing effects on the dance floor.

The band lived up to its vibrant name, with several songs gaining international acclaim, including reaching the pinnacle of the Billboard Hot 100—a monumental achievement for the group. Over the years, Dexys Midnight Runners experienced numerous lineup changes, each bringing fresh talent and perspectives. Despite disbanding in 1987, with Rowland embarking on a solo journey, the pull to reunite proved irresistible. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, Dexys Midnight Runners made a triumphant return in 2003, albeit with some new faces. Nonetheless, stalwarts like Kevin Rowland ensured the band’s essence remained intact. This list celebrates the top 10 Dexys Midnight Runners tracks, evoking nostalgia for the band’s golden era marked by a string of unforgettable international hits.

# 10 – Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)

Kicking off our top 10 Dexys Midnight Runners songs is their rendition of the beloved Van Morrison track, which found its way onto their 1982 album, Too-Rye-Ay, due to its popularity beyond just live gigs. Rowland, having a particular fondness for the original, was a driving force behind the band’s decision to cover “Jackie Wilson Said.” Dexys Midnight Runners’ version was a hit, climbing to number five on the UK Singles Chart, showcasing their adept ability to honor a classic while infusing it with their unique style. However, their performance of the song on “Top of the Pops,” which featured an image of darts player Jocky Wilson, led to speculation about whether the backdrop was a mix-up or an intentional choice, adding an intriguing layer to the song’s history.

# 9 – Nowhere is Home

In the track “Nothing is Home,” lead vocalist Kevin Rowland delves into themes of displacement and Irish nationalism, drawing from his own working-class Irish background. Rowland shared in an interview that the song encapsulates feelings of rootlessness and a deep connection to Irish identity. The song underwent notable revisions that likely contributed to its resonance with audiences, with a pivotal change in lyrics from “Can’t be myself with you” to “Nowhere is home,” enhancing its thematic depth. Additionally, the song’s composition was enriched by the contribution of Glen Matlock, the bassist from the Sex Pistols, marking a significant collaboration in the creation of this poignant track.

# 8 – The Celtic Soul Brothers

“The Celtic Soul Brothers,” a standout track from Dexys Midnight Runners’ 1982 album Too-Rye-Ay, emerged as one of the band’s most cherished songs, performing impressively on the charts. It reached number twenty in the UK and eighty-six in the US, showcasing the collective songwriting prowess of Rowland, Jim Paterson, and Micky Billingham. The song celebrates the band’s identity, highlighting the shared Celtic heritage of its members and their unified passion for soul music. Drawing parallels to “Jackie Wilson Said,” “The Celtic Soul Brothers” serves as another anthem that encapsulates the band’s unique blend of cultural influences and musical preferences, further defining their distinct sound and ethos.

# 7 – Plan B

“Plan B,” from the band’s 1980 album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, showcases an exceptionally astute Kevin Rowland, merging his intense conviction with a clear artistic vision. In this track, Rowland extends a rallying cry to his bandmates, inviting them to join him in his journey despite his own paranoia. The delivery of “Plan B” is compelling, with Rowland’s message resonating deeply, setting the stage for the subsequent album where the band members would significantly contribute to its success, highlighting the cohesive and dynamic nature of Dexys Midnight Runners.

# 6 – Incapable of Love

Years beyond their heyday, Dexys Midnight Runners continue to captivate rock enthusiasts with their enduring musical charm. From their 2012 album One Day I’m Going to Soar, the song “Incapable of Love” rekindles the quintessential Dexys vibe, resonating with fans familiar with the band’s 1980s era. The collaborative lyrical genius of Rowland, Paterson, and Talbot crafts a song that stands out as a modern classic. Madeleine Hyland’s contribution to the track is nothing short of spectacular, adding a fresh dynamic to the band’s beloved sound and ensuring that Dexys Midnight Runners remain relevant and cherished in the contemporary music scene.

# 5 – Tell Me When My Light Turns Green

Often, life’s most significant moments take shape unnoticed, as was the case with “Tell Me When My Light Turns Green.” This track was penned by Rowland during his tenure with the ephemeral band Killjoy, a period when he harbored aspirations of founding a distinguished band featuring a brass section. With an abundance of songs written in anticipation of future success, Rowland’s exceptional songwriting prowess shone through. “Tell Me When My Light Turns Green” emerged as a standout track on Dexys Midnight Runners’ debut album, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, underscoring Rowland’s vision and talent.

# 4 – Both Sides Now

“Both Sides Now,” a track from Dexys Midnight Runners’ latest album Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul, is a cover that pays homage to a timeless classic originally penned by Joni Mitchell in the 1960s and popularized by Judy Collins. Through this rendition, Dexys Midnight Runners evoke the splendor of the original, showcasing their ability to reinterpret and breathe new life into classic compositions. While this version may not have mirrored the immense success of its predecessors, it highlights the enduring talent within the band. Kevin Rowland’s vocal performance, undiminished by time, perfectly captures the essence of “Both Sides Now.”

# 3 – There, There My Dear

The 1980 album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels made a significant impact, in part due to standout tracks like “There, There My Dear,” which underscored the band’s unique appeal in a burgeoning music scene. Crafted as an open letter to a fictitious artist named Robin, “There, There My Dear” serves as a critique of insincerity within the music industry. Despite its somber undertones, the song resonated with audiences, achieving notable success by reaching number seven on the UK Singles Chart. This accomplishment highlighted Dexys Midnight Runners’ ability to combine poignant commentary with engaging music, setting them apart in a crowded field of emerging bands.

# 2 – Geno

“Geno,” a standout track from Dexys Midnight Runners’ album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, ascended to the pinnacle of the UK Singles Chart, cementing its status as the album’s most successful song. The track pays tribute to Geno Washington, a US soul singer greatly admired by the band. Despite modest success in his home country, Washington enjoyed significant popularity in the UK, where he worked alongside renowned artists such as Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. “Geno” stands out for its unique incorporation of Celtic elements, lending the song a distinctive flair.

# 1 – Come on Eileen

“Come on Eileen” is a vibrant and catchy song by the band Dexys Midnight Runners, featured on their second studio album, “Too-Rye-Ay.” The track is renowned for its unique blend of Celtic folk influences with pop and soul elements, creating an irresistibly upbeat and danceable tune. The song’s narrative centers around the protagonist’s plea to Eileen, a girl from his youth, to break free from the drudgery of their working-class lives and embrace a more carefree and hopeful future. The chorus, with its memorable refrain of “Come on Eileen,” combined with the song’s energetic violin riffs and powerful vocals, has cemented it as an iconic hit of the 1980s, resonating with themes of youth, change, and longing.

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