Originally published on 3rd May, 2005:

Twenty five years ago today, I stood in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, clutching a tinny transistor (almost certainly Hong Kong made) to my ear. I'd grown up in a household where the radio was playing in the background almost constantly it seemed, but during the previous months my personal interest in music had really awoken.

I had started to watch Top Of The Pops religiously. These were exciting times musically. New bands like Madness and The Specials were helping to change the musical terrain and their performances as much as their music made Top Of The Pops essential viewing. I remember one evening in particular in early 1980 I was watching the show with my brother Pete when another new band made their debut. As soon as the song started I was drawn to the brassiness of their sound. I'd developed a liking for brass instruments through my interest in the Two Tone groups but this was clearly something different.        


Pete told me that his friend Steve had seen this group supporting The Specials the previous year. This seemed to confirm in my mind that this was a group I SHOULD be interested in.

"What's their name?" I asked.

"Dexys Midnight Runners" he replied.

I sat back and watched the rest of the performance truly enthralled. There was something about the way the musicans moved - even stood - which was like nothing I'd ever seen before. I had no idea what the singer was singing but whatever it was he seemed angry about it. The guitarist stomped his foot as he strummed his guitar with attitude a-plenty while the brass section thrust their instruments skywards as they pumped out these unbelievably bold sounds.

"What was that name again?"

"Dexys Midnight Runners"

After the programme had finished I must have asked the same question a few more times as I relived the excitement of what I'd just seen with Pete. There was something about the name which was equally alluring and yet difficult to remember. Anyway, my persistence paid off. A few days later Pete - who had clearly picked up on my interest in this new band - bought me a copy of the single. In fact I must have gone on about it rather a lot because my other brother Dave picked up a copy for me too!

A few months later as I stood by the foot of Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens holding that tinny transistor I listened in anticipation to "this week's parade". My favourite group of the moment had a single in the charts at the time called "Geno". It was the follow-up to the single which had blown me away but, whereas that song had hardly dented the top forty, this new single had made its way - somewhat improbably - into the top ten. I thought about how amazing it would be if this group - MY group - could actually claim the number one spot.

There used to be a real thrill in listening to the chart countdown in those days. Songs didn't enter the Top Forty at number one and slip out of the charts again two weeks later as they do now. A new release could work its way up the charts gaining increased air-play and Top Of The Pops coverage as it did. "Geno" had already been knocking around the Top Forty for the previous five weeks. As we reached the Top Ten and the recent Number Ones "Talk Of The Town" and "Working My Way Back To You" my anticipation grew. At least it was still in the running. Gradually I realised it must still be in the Top Five.

"And at this week's Number Five, up six places it's 'Toccata' by Sky."

The Number Four was no more inspiring - 'Silver Dream Machine' by David Essex - but what the DJ announced next was of far more interest. The previous week's chart-topper, Blondie's "Call Me" had slipped two places to Number Three. We had a new Number One.

"And at Number Two... he's 'Coming Up' five places... it's Paul McCartney."

I knew exactly what this meant. I felt a shiver down my spine and a sense of overwhelming pride which caused tears to well up in my eyes. My group had done it. But I still had to listen to a recap on the rest of the chart before I could hear the words I'd been waiting for.

"Which means... the new Number One is 'Geno'... by Dexys Midnight Runners!"

Now everybody would remember their name.         



...Just for the record (as it were) the Top Forty from 3rd May 1980 was - in its entirity - as follows:


01  Geno - Dexys Midnight Runners       
02  Coming Up - Paul McCartney       
03  Call Me - Blondie
04  Silver Dream Machine - David Essex
05  Toccata - Sky
06  King/Food For Thought - UB40
07  Working My Way Back To You - The Detroit Spinners
08  Sexy Eyes - Dr. Hook
09  Talk Of The Town - The Pretenders
10  Check Out The Groove - Bobby Thurston
11  My Perfect Cousin - The Undertones
12  Don't Push It Don't Force It - Leon Haywood
13  The Groove - Rodney Franklin
14  Work, Rest And Play EP - Madness
15  What's Another Year - Johnny Logan
16  My Oh My - Sad Cafe
17  Dance Yourself Dizzy - Liquid Gold
18  January February - Barbara Dickson
19  I Shoulda Loved You - Narada Michael Walden
20  Wheels Of Steel - Saxon
21  Poison Ivy - The Lambrettas
22  Kool In The Kaftan - B.A. Robertson
23  Golden Years EP - Motorhead
24  Missing Words - The Selecter
25  Don't Make Waves  - The Nolans
26  Let's Do Rock Steady - The Bodysnatchers
27  The Greatest Cockney Rip Off - Cockney Rejects
28  Ne-Ne-Na-Na-Na-Na-Nu-Nu - Bad Manners
29  Breathing - Kate Bush
30  Fool For Your Loving - Whitesnake
31  No Doubt About It - Hot Chocolate
32  Staring At The Rude Boys - The Ruts
33  Going Underground - The Jam
34  Take Good Care Of My Baby - Smokie
35  A Forest - The Cure
36  Hold On To My Love - Jimmy Ruffin
37  Dear Miss Lonely - Phil Lynott
38  This World Of Water -  New Musik
39  Let's Go Round - Again Average White Band
40  In The City - The Jam

 See also: "Dexys, Spring 1980"
...and "Dexys On Tiswas" 
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