The Dexys Midnight Runners frontman – famed for their 1982 smash hit Come On Eileen – said he was proud to be given the honour at a recent ceremony.
The Wednesfield-born singer was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, in recognition for his contribution to popular culture, at a ceremony at the University’s School of Health and Wellbeing, on Thursday, September 12.
He said: “I was really surprised when I was asked and I thought about it before accepting it. I had one or two really good teachers in school but I left when I was 15.
“No matter what has happened in my life, I have always had warm feelings for Wolverhampton, though it has changed completely over the years.
“I moved to Birmingham when I was 20, I had no intention of forming a band when I originally did but we could not have done that in London.”
Kevin formed Dexys Midnight Runners, together with Kevin Archer, in Birmingham, 1978.
Sporting donkey jackets, leather coats and woolly hats, the band had a unique image and, by adding an energetic brass section, a unique sound. They also developed a reputation for raucous, powerful live performances.
In 1980, they released the single Geno, which went straight to number one in the UK charts, propelling the group to stardom.
A few lineup changes later, the band returned in 1982 with a new image - dungarees, scarves and leather waistcoats – and a new record, Too-Rye-Ay, and a new single, Come On Eileen.
The anthemic singalong was an instant hit, becoming number one on both sides of the Atlantic. But, due to increasing tension within the group, the band split after its next album, Don’t Stand Me Down.
After the Midnight Runners disbanded in 1986, Kevin embarked on a solo career, but in 2003 reformed the band, with one other original member, bassist Pete Williams, and violinist Lucy Morgan. They embarked on a successful comeback tour backed up with a greatest hits compilation album including two newly recorded songs, Manhood and My Life in England.
In 2012, Kevin re-launched Dexys Midnight Runners once more as Dexys, with the critically-acclaimed album One Day I'm Going to Soar, which was accompanied by a sold out UK tour.
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Date Issued: Friday 13 September 2013