NEW TITLE | What’s She Like by Helen O’Hara


Route is delighted to announce the acquisition of Helen O’Hara’s memoir, What’s She Like – the first memoir by a member of Dexys Midnight Runners.

The book recounts O’Hara’s Bristol upbringing, playing a mixture of classical and popular music, before embarking on a music degree at Birmingham Conservatoire where she was headhunted by Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners who was looking to add strings to the group’s previously horn-heavy sound. The resulting album Too-Rye-Ay included the global smash hit record ‘Come On Eileen’, and lead to O’Hara turning down a contract with Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in order to join Dexys full time. O’Hara and Rowland started a romantic relationship and were due to be married, but their relationship broke down during the making of what many believe to be Dexys’ masterpiece album, Don’t Stand Me Down, which included Rowland’s song for O’Hara, ‘This is What She’s Like’ from which the memoir draws its name. O’Hara also has a long working relationship with Tanita Tikaram, and the memoir covers her work with Nicky Hopkins, Graham Parker and Tim Burgess amongst others.

Route Editor Ian Daley acquired the rights from agent Daniel Scott.

Daniel Scott said: ‘I was contacted by my friend Kevin Rowland, who told me about an astonishing memoir Helen had written, which, among other things, totally got to the heart of Dexys. Knowing how Kevin often feels underwhelmed by writers trying to convey the spirit and soul of this idiosyncratic band, I suspected Helen’s book might be rather special. It exceeded my expectations and I am thrilled that Route are bringing their customary passion and energy to this wonderful book.’

Ian Daley said: ‘Dexys Midnight Runners have a very special place in the history of British popular music, and we can’t wait to share Helen’s story; not just with the legion of Dexys fans, but with the wider world too. Short of role models of female instrumentalists in pop music growing up, Helen became one herself, inspiring young women to take up the violin and embark on a career in music themselves. We hope this book, and Helen’s beautiful attitude to life, will inspire many more.’

What’s She Like will be officially released on 19th August 2022. However, if you want to be amongst the first to read it, signed and numbered advance copies will be made available in late June exclusively from Route at standard cover price. To secure a copy, click here to pre-order.