XTC – Senses Working Overtime

1980’s music. Swindish(?) pop stars? Oh Yes.

What’s that you say? Pop stars from Swindon? No chance! Really… are they?

Well yes, they are… and as well as being pop stars they were right clever with the old wordplay, I mean XTC, ecstasy.

Good on em! (NB this was I believe before the time that the drug ecstasy (MDMA) was widely known in the UK).

The group’s success was an early 80’s phenomenon, with songs like Making Plans For Nigel and Sgt Rock (Is Going To Help Me) flirting with the top 10, but never quite making it.

Senses Working Overtime was a hit in early 1982, making it into the top 10 in the UK Singles Chart after its release in the w/e 23rd January. I didn’t buy it at the time, preferring instead to wait until 21st March 1987 when I must’ve ordered it from Oldies Unlimited, my preferred choice for ex-chart singles.

I loved the lyrics, seemingly innocent, but on closer inspection there is some anti-war sentiment in there – ‘…there’s fodder for the cannons and the guilty ones can all sleep safely…’

Dexys Midnight Runners (& The Emerald Express) – Come on Eileen

This write up is a bit of a con as I didn’t buy this at the time it was in the charts, so I do apologise.  The impact of this song however cannot be overestimated.

Released at the end of June 1982, Come on Eileen entered the chart at number 63, before breaking into the top 40 after just two weeks.  We were rapidly approaching the summer holidays now and by the first week of the hols it was in the top 10.  Hitting the top of the charts on 7th August, Eileen spent the whole of the rest of August at number 1 before gracefully moving aside for Survivor with their Rocky III theme Eye of The Tiger.

By this time, of course, it was back to school, but Come on Eileen had established itself in my psyche as a Cricket Club disco staple and of course as a wedding dance floor filler.  It was a great song to stomp around the dance floor to – although its various key changes meant you really had to concentrate.  Female company wasn’t strictly necessary (though it was an added bonus) and you really could let your hair down to it.  I think that alongside Bad Manner’s Can Can this has got to be the most completely brilliant way to end a disco.  Slow dancing?  Nah, stuff that!