Song of the Day: Chris de Burgh, “The Lady In Red”

Infamous Chicago gangster John Dillinger, who was accused of robbing a number of banks and police stations in his brief career, was born on this day in 1903. A woman named Ana Cumpanas, a Romanian national who operated a brothel in Chicago, was friends with Polly Hamilton, Dillinger’s girlfriend, and when she discovered who he was, contacted the FBI and offered to set him up so that they could arrest him in exchange for the government dropping a deportation case against her. Dillinger, Hamilton and Cumpanas were confronted by the FBI outside the Biograph Theater after a movie, and Dillinger was murdered trying to escape. Despite the sobriquet "the woman in red" applied to Cumpanas, she was actually wearing orange that evening. "The Lady In Red" was Chris de Burgh’s second single from his 1986 album Into The Light, and reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #1 in the UK, Ireland, and Canada. It was also rated the tenth most annoying song in a 2000 poll held by Dotmusic, and third most annoying song of the ’80’s by Rolling Stone magazine, along with several other dubious honors.

11 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Chris de Burgh, “The Lady In Red”

  1. This is a song I’ve never been able to get into or appreciate to any great extent. Glad to know that I wasn’t the only one annoyed by it.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  2. So deBurgh wrote the song? Written earlier by someone else? Sobriquet. What a lovely word.😉

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    1. DeBurgh wrote the song. I thought he had written it for the movie “The Woman In Red,” but it was written a couple of years later.

      I was stuck between “sobriquet” and “epithet.” I think I chose wisely…

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  3. Lady in Red was a fixture at school discos – the last dance when kids either shuffled around the dancefloor or ran away in tears because no one had asked them to dance.

    I wonder why it was voted so annoying though, I quite like it – although I probably wouldn’t choose to listen to it.

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    1. As sappy songs from the ’80’s go, it’s a pretty good one. Now, if someone were to play it over and over for ten hours straight, it’d probably drive me insane.

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  4. Hi John – I didn’t know the story – so interesting to read about it. It is an iconic song … cheers Hilary

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    1. Funny thing is, the song has nothing to do with Dillinger or the movie from the ’80’s. Still, not as bad as some would have you think…

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