Dexys Midnight Runners

Kevin Rowland and Kevin "Al" Archer were both members of Birmingham punk band the Killjoys when they decided to form a new band based on Northern soul music. Their first single Dance Stance came out in 1979 but it was the follow-up Geno - a tribute to one of their heroes, veteran soul star Geno Washington - that brought them stardom. While Washington himself made a comeback on the back of the record, Rowland moulded Dexys into a large, dance-orientated band with a truculent, rebellious image reflected on their debut album Searching For The Young Soul Rebels. The personnel changed as their initial success faded but Rowland re-invented Dexys with an Irish-themed gypsy image featuring dungarees and an ebullient new pop/folk style Express heavily focused on fiddle player Helen O'Hara. The result was the good-time 1982 album Too-Rye-Ay and the smash hit single Come On Eileen, a Number 1 in the UK and US. Honouring another former soul star, their cover of Van Morrison's song Jackie Wilson Said was also a major hit. The experimental Don't Stand Me Down album (1985) was coolly received and, despite a hit with Because Of You (theme song for TV series Brush Strokes), Dexys split, with Rowland going solo. They reunited briefly in 2003 but a rumoured new studio album didn't materialise.

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