I have been singing along to the radio my whole life, despite not knowing what the lyrics, and sometimes even the titles, are most of the time. This is not my fault as the singers are often not clear, and DJs rarely help as they are too busy talking about fascinating stuff like their toenail clippings, just because they can (I want to be a DJ). Anyway, some songs I have sung the wrong way for years. Sure I could look it up on that newfangled Google or look at a lyric video, but some of those translations are done so badly I could do just as well myself.
So I will.
One of my favorite songs from the 80’s is “Come on, Eileen” sung by the Dexys Midnight Runners. You remember that group right? Me neither, thanks Google. Anyway, this song is a classic example of not understanding what the heck the singer is saying. I mean I really don’t understand ANYTHING except most of the main chorus and, ironically, the nonsensical “Too ra loo ra too ra loo ra yay” part. I can imagine the group think that day.
Guy 1: We need something to go after “Come on, Eileen”.
Guy 2: Why not just drink some more and slur the lines again?
Guy 3: We could always use “Wo wo wo” or “Na na na”.
Guy 1: Been done. What’s that on the telly?
Guy 2: Buncha puppets on a kiddie show babbling.
Guy 3: Bloody brilliant! Let’s use that.
So they solved that part fine, and they knew they wanted to talk about this Eileen chick who wore that dress and was dirty. They could have said “Come on, Eileen go take a bath” but the too ra loos were too good to pass up I guess. All that was left was to drink heavily, strap on some overalls before remembering their shirts (see the video) and sing! I have written the lyrics to the best of my understanding while playing the song over and over. Good luck.
Come on, Eileen
Poo ol Johnny raid
I sat upon the radio
But the billion hearts is unknown
Our mother’s strange
Saddle on who’s them
Who’s crumb? (Who’s crumb?)
So brittle (So brittle!)
Now I must say “cold and never”
Come on, Eileen
Too ra loo ra too ra loo ra yay!
Gonna sing this like a boner!
Chorus: (sort of understandable – sobriety break?)
Come on Eileen (oh I swear)
By all means
At this moment, you mean everything
You wore that dress
I confess but you’re dirty
Oh, come on Eileen!
These people round here
But now I suck
I’m on my face
So it’s time to wonder
What pride is
But blah blahhh
We are just so young and clever (What’s that for?)
Too ra loo ra too ra loo ra yay
I hope it’s true foreverrr
Come on Eileen
(Oh I swear) By all means
Oh come on let’s
take off everything!
You and that dress (I confess)
Oh come on Eileen
Lots more too la roos
and Oh Eileens
And that is all I’ve got. When it came to the “blah blahs” I honestly, after multiple times listening, could not make out anything approximating any word in this language. I’m not saying I got the lyrics right, but if you do go and look up lyrics, you’ll often find out that the ones you thought they were saying probably made more sense than the ones they actually sang.
Speaking of nonsensical (too ra loo ra!), here’s the video.
Truly fascinating. It starts out with what looks like old footage of girls going gah gah over some guy. The video does write out (literally) the first line which is “Poor old Johnnie Ray”. I’m not sure who Johnny Ray was, or is, but girls dug him and one put his name on her shoes (that’s devotion).
So you might think – this song is about Johnny Ray? No? Well maybe about the old pictures of two children (labeled “me” and “Eileen”). Not sure, because we switch to the 80’s (I think?) with a bunch of hairy guys wearing only overalls and playing banjos, fiddles, and – an accordion? How did hillbillies get to the city? Did they hit a bubbling brew? Whatever happened, now they’re here singing on a street corner and oh look, that must be Eileen coming by with a friend and a baby stroller and – how nice they are trying to assault her.
“Ohhh Eileen, come on! You’re so dirty!” I can’t imagine why she would want to get away from them. Those “too la roos”? They turn out to be a gang rallying cry as they all get together and run up behind her and one of them grabs her and – suddenly she likes him?
And what did it all have to do with Johnnie Ray? WHYYYY?
I don’t have answers, folks, cause I didn’t even try to look them up (saying they were there). Maybe it’s better not to know. I certainly liked “She Bop” a lot better before I found out what that one was about (Cyndi didn’t need a guy cause – um – magazines) and the music is great so I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s just more thoughts that rattle around my head while I mindlessly sing along.