Flashback Friday: Dexys Midnight Runners, the Soundtrack to Awkward '80s Makeouts
Where we're going, we don't need roads; just a synthesizer, eyeliner, and a touch of androgyny. Welcome to Flashback Friday.
The post-punk and new wave bands that emerged from the late '70s began their emotional cutting long before it was actually cool to be a self-loathing sycophant; sprucing up the best elements of punk with synthesizers, punchy pop beats, and lyrical complexity that had a little more substance than that of today's emo kiddies.
In this series, we won't debate whether The Cure was more cause than remedy to our adolescent anguish or whether our feelings of isolation were that of our own or really a product of Ian Curtis, but we will relive some of the best moments of a decadent decade. If you lived through the '80s, you laughed, you loved, and you danced in a golden age of pop singles.
To get things going, we look to new wave front-runners Dexys Midnight Runners, as Thursday marked the 32nd anniversary that the British outfit first sat atop the UK singles chart with "Geno." While the song isn't the band's most readily recognized tune, the ode to American soul singer Geno Washington helped garner attention to the troupe's take on the post-punk movement that defined the era.
In 1982, the group made its biggest splash stateside with "Come On Eileen." The Celtic-folk infused fiddle, oft-changing time signature and falsetto crescendo of Kevin Rowland had people everywhere singing, "too-ra loo-ra too-ra loo-rye-ay."
Although new wave became an all-encompassing term for anything that wasn't a part of mainstream rock, the broad generalization incorporated groups like the horn-heavy Dexys, which helped influence an array of alternative rockers and ska revivalists such as 1990s ska-punk band Save Ferris.
The Orange County pop-rockers bolstered their 1997 debut, It Means Everything, with a cover of "Eileen."
Rowland continues to tour today with a revamped lineup and is currently working on a new album which is scheduled for release later this year.