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In the US, this was the only hit for Dexys Midnight Runners, but they were very popular in their home country of England and had several hits there.
Eileen was a girl that songwriter and band member Kevin Rowland grew up with. Their relationship became romantic when the pair were 13. The song describes the thin line between love and lust.
The band's name was inspired by the amphetamine drug Dexedrine, which is commonly known as "Dexys" (Contrary to popular belief, the band's name does not have an apostrophe). The band itself steered away from drinking and drugs, saying nothing should interfere with their dedication to music. (thanks, Beau - Phoenix, AZ)
When this hit #1 in the US, it knocked Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean
" off the top spot.
When Dexys Midnight Runners recorded this, they had recently changed some of their members and altered their sound and image. They were previously a Soul band and very popular with critics in the UK. For this album, they added fiddles and switched to more of an Irish Folk sound. They also took on a ragged, unkempt look. It became their best-selling album and their only one that did well in the US.
After this album, group leader Kevin Rowland kept the band going, but they continued to lose members and never came near the success of this album again. Rowland started recording as a solo artist in 1988, but his career went nowhere.
This was the biggest-selling song of 1982 in the United Kingdom. (thanks, Martin - London, United Kingdom)
The girl representing Eileen in the video was played by Maire Fahey. The actress' sister Siobhan Fahey was a member of Bananarama ("Cruel Summer
") and Shakespear's Sister ("Stay
Kevin "Al" Archer was a guitarist in the early days of Dexys Midnight Runners. He left the group after their first album. Archer explained why to Mojo magazine July 2009: "Kevin (Rowland) ruled the group with a rod of iron - he wouldn't speak to us personally. After shows we'd be in a room on our own, it became 'hate Kevin Rowland time.' We were in Switzerland, we'd played to 2,000 people, and Kevin and I got on a plane to Luxembourg and the rest got in a van and went to England. That was it. Kevin got me to help form a new group, rehearsing in a freezing industrial unit in Birmingham. He was irritable, treating everyone like they were nobody. I did the (1981 single) "Plan B" demo, Kevin wasn't happy with it. It got too much. We met in the little Nibble caff in Bearwood and I said I was leaving. He never showed any emotion. He got me to go round to Billy (Adams) the new guitarist's house to teach him the new chords. I formed The Blue Ox Babes, and I lent Kevin a tape with three of our songs on including 'What Does Anybody Ever Think About.'"
Shortly afterwards this song became an international hit. Archer was not impressed as Rowland had stolen the build-up of "What Does Anybody Ever Think About" for it and Too-Rye-Aye's whole style and sound was that of The Blue Ox Babes. Rowland later admitted that the sound of Too-Rye-Aye did indeed come from Archer and paid him royalties from the album.
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