Album: Searching For The Young Soul Rebels (1980)
Charted: 1

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about Geno Washington, a US Soul singer the band admired. Washington was never big in his home country, but was a popular performer in the UK, where he played with Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd and scored two Top 40 hits in the '60s: "Water" and "Michael."

    As Dexys Midnight Runners were on the upswing, packing club shows and getting positive press, Washington's career had faded, and the once-revered singer found himself on the cabaret circuit. "Geno," which was written by Dexys lead singer Kevin Rowland and guitarist Al Archer, is a tribute to Washington and also a look at the cyclical nature of entertainment.
  • This was the second Dexys Midnight Runners single released in the UK (following "Dance Stance"), and it shot to #1 on the chart, becoming a crowd favorite along the way. Dexys had no distribution in America, so the song wasn't heard in the US. The band would make their splash stateside in 1983 when "Come On Eileen" topped the charts and became an MTV staple.
  • Dexys Midnight Runners made their mark by adding their distinctive Celtic flavor to Soul music. They championed artists like Washington and did covers of songs by Sam And Dave, Aretha Franklin and the lesser-known Zoot Money. "Soul" was part of Rowland's stage patter ("our hearts are full of soul..."), as he made it clear where their musical roots had grown.

    On the band's second album, they had a hit with a cover of "Jackie Wilson Said," which was Van Morrison's tribute to another Soul singer.
  • There is a reference to the band's name in the line, "This man was my bombers, my dexys, my high." The "dexys" are pep pills - Dexedrine.
  • Rowland told The Guardian that the lyrics are all true. He recalled: "I saw Geno Washington in 68 at the Railway Hotel in Harrow. I was 15 years old and out with all the older kids – you had to be 18 to get in – short-haired, cool-looking mods-turning-into-skinhead types. Looking back, it's probably not the best gig I've ever been to, but I didn't have anything to compare it to."
  • The video features plenty of scenes running around alleyways and jumping over railway station ticket barriers. Al Archer told Mojo: "We did all those things. It wasn't any kind of gimmick, we did actually bunk the trains and all that."

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