Friday, February 17, 2012

Poor Old Johnnie Ray

I am a child of the '80s. My favorite movie is from the '80s. My favorite television show is from the '80s. My favorite music is from the '80s. I enjoy many of the one-hit wonders that hit the airwaves during the days of Rubik's Cubes, Guess jeans and New Coke.

One of my favorites is "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners. The 1982 song was a No. 1 hit in the United States and the year's top-selling single. Those accomplishments were bolstered, no doubt, by a video featuring a group of overall-wearing musicians.

As a fiddle plays over a percussive beat, the video opens with archival footage of Johnnie Ray, a singer and songwriter popular in the 1950s, exiting an airplane. His devoted female admirers are waiting for him. One has "Johnnie Ray Fan" spelled out on her shirt. Another has "Johnnie Ray" written on her shoes. A third has "Johnnie" emblazoned on her sweater.

Where's the beef, you might be wondering.

Well, the opening lyrics of "Come On Eileen" are as follows:

Poor old Johnnie Ray / Sounded sad upon the radio / Broke a million hearts in mono

Yet when the lyrics kick in, spelled out for us on the screen, what do we see?

"Poor old Johnny Ray..."

Poor old Johnnie Ray, indeed. He had his name misspelled. Did the music-video director not notice the shirt? The shoes? The sweater? Come on, Dexys Midnight Runners.

Johnnie on a shirt
Johnnie on some shoes
Johnnie on a sweater
Johnny on the screen

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