David Corio

Dexys Midnight Runners

(June 10, 1980)

This is Dexys Midnight Runners before they had a major label or hit record. I spent a few days in Birmingham with them before seeing the band perform or knowing anything about their music. When I finally saw them live in London a few weeks later they blew me away. With a mighty horn section and stomping rhythm tightly controlled by lead singer Kevin Rowland, this was one of the most powerful shows I had the good fortune to attend.
Journalist Gavin Martin and I met up with them several times always in working-mens’ cafes for endless cups of tea and to hear Kevin’s philosophy on life. Kevin Rowland controlled the band completely - banning alchohol and enforcing a strict dress code of white tees, donkey jackets or leather coats and woolen docker hats. Somehow he managed to persuade the others into going for regular early morning runs, long before jogging became fashionable. Despite their immense talent Dexys Midnight Runners weren’t suited to the commercial music scene and their albums didn’t sell as well as they should have. Each new album was always a surprise as they invariably came up with a different musical style.
A few years after taking this photo I got on a plane in Lisbon after photographing Rick Wakeman. I was wearing espadrilles with my hair in a pony-tail. And there already on board was the whole band - coincidentally all wearing the same espadrilles and sporting pony-tails.

Dexys Midnight Runners