Dexy`s Midnight Runners Biography
Dexy's Midnight Runners are a British New Wave and Northern Soul band who achieved their major success in the early-mid 1980s. Kevin Rowland (vocals, guitar) and Kevin 'Al' Archer (vocals, guitar) founded the band in 1978 in Birmingham, England, naming the band after Dexedrine, a recreational drug popular amongst Northern Soul fans at the time. Big Jim Paterson (trombone), Geoff 'JB' Blythe (saxophone), Steve 'Babyface' Spooner (alto saxophone), Pete Saunders (keyboard), Pete Williams (bass) and Bobby 'Jnr' Ward(drums) formed the first line-up of the band to record a single, 'Dance Stance' (1979). The song only reached number 40 in the British charts, but the next single, 'Geno' -- about Geno Washington -- (featuring new recruits, Andy Leek (keyboards) and Andy 'Stoker' Growcott (drums)) was a British Number One in 1980.
The band members were disappointed with their share of the profits, and soon stole the master tapes of Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, their debut LP, in order to renegotiate the deal. The album was released later in 1980 and became a massive success. After the next single, 'There There My Dear' was a hit, Rowland insisted on choosing the uncommercial, 'Keep It, Part Two' for the following single. It was a failure, and most of the band members quit, angered over continual personality problems with Rowland. Archer eventually formed The Blue Ox Babes, while Blythe, Spooner, Williams, Stoker and Mick Talbot (ex-Merton Parkas, who had recently joined on keyboards) left to form The Bureau. Paterson stayed with Rowland, who added Billy Adams (guitar/banjo), Seb Shelton (drums, formerly of Secret Affair), Micky Billingham (keyboard), Brian Maurice (alto saxophone), Paul Speare (tenor saxophone) and Steve Wynne (bass), releasing 'Plan B', 'Show Me' and 'Liars A to E' in 1981 without much success. Rowland then recruited fiddle players, Helen O'Hara (from Archer's new group, the Blue Ox Babes), Steve Brennan and Roger MacDuff, known collectively as 'The Emerald Express'. With the addition of new bass player, Giorgio Kilkenny this line-up recorded Too-Rye-Ay in 1982, a Celtic folk and soul hybrid. The first single, 'The Celtic Soul Brothers', was mildly successful but 'Come on Eileen' soon followed, and became a Number One hit in both the UK and the United States. Feeling that their role in the group had diminished following the arrival of the fiddles, the brass section of Paterson, Speare and Maurice left to form The TKO Horns, while Kilkenny was replaced by Johnny Edwards on bass and Billingham left to join General Public. With the singles, 'Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)' (a Van Morrison cover) and 'Let's Get This Straight (From The Start)' maintaining their popularity, the group continued to tour until 1983 with a nucleus of Rowland, Adams, O'Hara and Shelton augmented by other musicians.
After a two year break, Dexy's returned in 1985 with the critically-acclaimed album, Don't Stand Me Down, featuring Rowland, Adams, O'Hara and Nicky Gatfield together with various seasoned performers including Vincent Crane (ex-Atomic Rooster), Julian Littman and Tim Dancy (who had been Al Green's drummer). Rowland at first refused to issue any singles from the album, and by the time 'This Is What She's Like' was released, it was too late to save the album from commercial failure. The group disbanded the following year after a brief return to the charts with the single, 'Because Of You' (which was used as the theme tune to a British sitcom, 'Brush Strokes'), and Rowland became a solo artist with the release of 1988's poorly-received album, The Wanderer. Despite spending much of the 1990s suffering from financial problems and drug addiction, Rowland made plans to reform Dexy's together with Big Jim Paterson, although these resulted in no more than a solitary TV performance in 1993. Returning once more as a solo performer, Rowland signed to Creation Records, releasing an album of cover versions called My Beauty in 1999, which sold poorly. The demise of Creation meant that the planned follow-up album which would, once again have featured Dexy's Midnight Runners was never made. However, in April 2003 the group announced that they would be reforming for a tour and a new greatest hits album.
For an excellent recent interview with Kevin Rowland (01 October 2003) go to -
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