One of the first acts mentioned whenever someone brings up the subject of “’80s One-Hit Wonder,” Dexys Midnight Runners actually had quite a few hits in the UK, including a number one single (“Geno”) that wasn’t “Come On Eileen.” As Homer Simpson once spoke of the group, “You haven’t heard the last of them!”
Except in America, where, of course, we had. Despite “Eileen’s” monster success Stateside, Kevin Rowland’s rotating band of ragamuffins never followed up that hit but it wasn’t for lack of trying. 1985’s follow-up to the Gold-selling Too-Rye-Ay, the band’s third album overall, Don’t Stand Me Down, had a lot going against it. First off, gone were the overalls and hobo clothes, replaced by a new gimmick/look of tailored suits and skirts — call it Business Rock. Secondly, lead singer/songwriter Rowland refused to release a single to help promote the album, all but dooming it to failure.
Face with the withering failure of the album, Rowland finally relented and a single was issued for “This Is What She’s Like.” But in keeping with the series of poor decisions, the “single” was actually a 12-minute track, all but obliterating any chance of radio play. Oh, Kevin. The group’s label stepped in and issued a single edit (“This Is What She’s Like [Single Edit]”), (download) mercifully reducing the song to it’s catchy core. The superior edit is not too dissimilar to Too-Rye-Ay‘s sound, but despite a video to match the new image, it was too late, and Don’t Stand Me Down sank without a trace.
Seriously, who besides Yes and Pink Floyd releases 12-minute singles? Especially singles with about two minutes of nearly inaudible spoken dialog at the beginning? While I like the song, the album version is a form of pop punishment, forcing the listener to wait out a bunch of filler to get to the good part? Don’t believe me? Well, brave soul, give “This Is What She’s Like” (download) the album version a shot. You have been warned.
As far as Don’t Stand Me Down goes, it’s gone on to become something of a cult classic, being reissued in 1997 and again in 2002 in a so-called “Director’s Cut” that adds a track and fixes the remastering. Both CD versions include all 12 minutes of “This Is What She’s Like,” but I believe the single version above has only been available as a vinyl promo and on a 1994 import-only best of.
“This Is What She’s Like” did not chart.
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