The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song: Come on Eileen

come on eileen, dexys midnight runners
The winner!
“Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners is the official winner of the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament!

It beat “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco in the final round of voting.

The name Eileen has a complicated etymology. It’s an Anglicized form of the Irish name Eibhlín, which is a form of the Norman French name Aveline, which is a form of the Germanic name Avelina, which is ultimately based on either the Germanic root avi, which might mean “desired, wished for,” or the Germanic root aval, which means “strength.”

The related name Evelyn is the 20th most popular baby girl name in the country right now, but not-as-stylish Eileen is down in 748th place. Eileen was most popular in the U.S. during the 1940s, peaking at 70th in 1945.

And how about the band — where did they get the name Dexys Midnight Runners? “Dexys” (no apostrophe) comes from the club drug Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate) and “Midnight Runners” refers to the extra energy the stimulant gives users.

Thanks for playing along, everyone! I threw the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament together last-minute, so there wasn’t much time to research songs. I ended up overlooking a few good ones, such as:

  • “All for Leyna” (1980) by Billy Joel
  • “Romeo and Juliet” (1980) by Dire Straits
  • “Luanne” (1981) by Foreigner
  • “Baby Jane” (1983) by Rod Stewart
  • “Jane Says” (1987) by Jane’s Addiction
  • “Sweet Jane” (1988) by Cowboy Junkies (Velvet Underground cover)

Do you think any of these would have had a chance against “Come on Eileen”?

Finally, if I hold another name-related tournament next March, should it be songs again? If so, songs from what decade? If not, what would you like the theme to be?

7 thoughts on “The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song: Come on Eileen

  1. I could see Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ being a hit, too.
    I like the celebrity re-name idea A LOT!
    It was really fun this year, Nancy. No one would guess it was last minute.

  2. Woo hoo, go Eileen! Dexy’s had another “name” song, “Jackie Wilson Said”, but it’s a cover of a 1970s Van Morrison song. What about one of 1970s songs?

  3. I figured I’d do either ’70s or ’90s songs next year by default, but I really like the celebrity name-change idea now, so I’m torn.

    Maybe (early) next year we’ll put it to a vote on Facebook or something.

  4. Perhaps! Either in consecutive years or maybe I’ll randomly do another tournament in a few months, so we don’t have to wait so long.

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