WTF Are They Saying Songs: Come On, Eileen?

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.

Blame these guys.

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

Blah blaaaahddy

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.

Look at that armpit hair! Come on, Eileen!

“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.




24 responses

  1. I haven’t laughed this hard in ages…
    Poo ol Johnny raid

    I sat upon the radio

    But the billion hearts is unknown

    Our mother’s strange


    1. So glad you laughed. I kept replaying the same lyrics and damned if even they know what they’re saying sometimes. 🙂

      1. I think they were all trashed, man. Who is Johnny Ray? I want answers, damn it.

        1. Well, they were named after the infamous upper Dexedrine, so you’re probably not wrong. 😉

          1. So that’s where the name came from! Thanks, Ruby. 🙂

        2. Ruby gave us some! I knew someone would research for me if I was lazy enough!

          1. Yeah, didn’t research a thing. Just know way too much about ‘80s bands and drug slang. 😉

          2. I just know way too much about ‘80s bands and drug slang. There has to be a marketable skill in that combination somewhere.

  2. Reblogged this on Merbear's World and commented:
    This brought me some much needed laughter today.

  3. There is a song on the radio they’ve been playing lately (I don’t know by who or what it is called) it sounds like the main verse is ” I shit on you”!! lol..

    1. I’ll have to check that one out!

      1. I’ll figure out who it is and what it is called and let you know!

  4. Cute sis, ya you’ll drive your self nuts trying to figure out some of those songs, I don’t think even they knew what they were saying.


    1. I heard Bruce Springsteen thought his song said “douche” instead of “deuce” just like the rest of us.

  5. I sometimes sing along to songs like this. And sometimes, I ask my 14 year old if she realizes what the song is about. For this one, I would say, “you know this song is about this guy sexually harassing a chick named Eileen, right?” I’m told I’m a party pooper. Eyes roll.

    1. Haha. I have to admit I like probably a few too many harassment songs. Can I help it if “Centerfold” is catchy?

  6. Watch this and it will change your life. Also make you feel so happy on shit days.

    Sugarland and Sara Bareilles – Come On Eileen:

    And Johnnie Ray was an American singer/songwriter circa 1950s widely considered the father of rock and roll. Seriously not a know-it-all on purpose. Musician’s daughter. This is in my DNA.

    I know this was not your point and you are much more fun, like the link. This cracked me up. But it’s like actually physically painful for me not to give a send-up to Johnnie.

    1. I love that version of “Come on, Eileen”! Thanks. Also thanks for letting me know who Johnnie Ray was. I actually used to research for a living, but like I said i was lazy lol. I didn’t know you were a musician’s daughter! I will have to read up more on Johnnie. I just can’t figure out his connection to these goofs in the overalls!

      1. Anything for you, Alice. 🙂

  7. The songs of the 80’s were even dirtier than the trash they make today… our generation of pop stars just new how to be a little more coy about their prevertedness. I’ve always heard that the title of this song was meant to be taken literally, for instance….. poor Eileen. Now she’s going to have to wash her overalls…

    1. That’s why you wear something under the overalls! Sheesh. Yes, you have a good point about the trash stars of today lacking subtlety. Madonna sung “Like a Prayer” not “Like having sex with a black Jesus in a church” after all.

  8. I know they were hoping that they would start a new fashion trend with those overalls, but thankfully it never happened. Excellent analysis!

  9. May I recommend that you next look at “Agadoo”? Or perhaps the incredibly deep “Doop”? 😉

    1. Agadoo? Doop? These have got to be at least as profound as Mmmbop!

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