Dexys Midnight Runners

Dexys Midnight Runners were an English New Wave/soul-pop band from Birmingham that released the album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels on EMI/Parlophone in 1980, followed by two albums on Mercury between 1982 and 1985.

Initially inspired by Stax/Volt and two-tone, Dexys reinvented itself for each album, from the ragamuffin Celt-pop of the second lineup to the stripped, plaintive lyricism of the third album. The band enjoyed a promising start when their second single “Geno” topped the UK chart. However, a radical lineup overhaul preceded the transatlantic success of the sophomoric Too-Rye-Ay album and its anthemic evergreen “Come On Eileen.”

Members: Kevin Rowland (vocals, bass, guitar, piano), Kevin Archer [aka Al Archer] (guitar, vocals, 1978-81), Pete Williams (bass, vocals, 1978-80), Pete Saunders (organ, 1978-79, 1980, 2003), John Jay (drums, 1978-79), Jeff Blythe (saxophone, 1978-80), Steve Spooner (alto saxophone, 1978-80), Jeff Kent (trumpet, 1978-79), Jim Paterson (trombone, 1978-82, 1984, 1993-98, 2012-16), Bobby Ward (drums, 1979), Stoker [Andy Growcott] (drums, 1979-80), Andy Leek (organ, 1979-80), Mick Talbot (keyboards, 1980, 2003-13), Seb Shelton (drums, 1980-83), Paul Speare (flute, saxophone, whistle, 1980-82), Brian Brummitt (saxophone, 1980-82), Micky Billingham (organ, piano, keyboards, accordion, 1980-82), Steve Wynn (bass, 1980-81), Billy Adams (banjo, guitar, 1981-87, 1993), Giorgio Kilkenny (bass, 1981-82), Helen O’Hara (violin, 1982-86), Steve Shaw [Steve Brennan] (violin, 1982-83), Roger MacDuff [Roger Huckle] (violin, 1982-83), Nick Gatfield (saxophone, 1982-85), John “Rhino” Edwards (bass, 1982-85), Spike Edney (trombone, keyboards, 1982-83), Kevin Gilson (saxophone, 1982-83), Bob Noble (organ, 1983-85), Vincent Crane (keyboards, 1984-85), Crusher Green (drums, 1984), Mick Bolton (keyboards, 1984-86), Trevor Burton (bass, 1984), Mick Woodmansey (drums, 1984), Tim Dancy (drums, 1984-85), Julian Littman (mandolin, 1984-85), Tommy Evans (steel guitar, 1984-85)

Dexys Midnight Runners was formed in mid-1978 by singer/guitarist Kevin Rowland and guitarist/singer Kevin “Al” Archer. The pair hailed from Birmingham punks The Killjoys, which issued the single “Johnny Won’t Go to Heaven” in 1977. The original Dexys lineup included keyboardist Pete Saunders, bassist Pete Williams, trombonist “Big” Jim Paterson, and saxophonists Geoff “JB” Blythe and Steve “Babyface” Spooner.

Rowland insisted that all the members quite their dayjobs and spend the day practicing. Their bandname was derived from Dexedrine, a recreational drug that Northern soul enthusiasts used to energize themselves for all-night dancing. Dexys played their first concerts in late 1978. By the following spring, drummer Bobby “Jnr” Ward completed the initial lineup. They were taken under the wing of Clash manager Bernie Rhodes, who produced their first single, “Dance Stance” (b/w “I’m Just Looking“), released in November 1979 on Rhodes’ Oddball Productions.


  • Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)
  • Too-Rye-Ay (1982)
  • Don’t Stand Me Down (1985)


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