“Hit me with your rhythm stick”

British musician and lead singer of The Blockheads, Ian Dury was born 12th May in 1942. The Blockheads were Originally fronted by vocalist Ian Dury as Ian Dury and the Blockheads, and quickly gained a reputation as one of the top live acts of New Wave music during the 1970’s. They built up a dedicated following in the UK and other countries and scored several hit singles, including “What a Waste“, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” (which was a UK number one at the beginning of 1979, selling just short of a million copies), “Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3” (number three in the UK in 1979), and the rock and roll anthem, “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll“.

Dury’s lyrics were a distinctive combination of lyrical poetry, word play, observation of British everyday (working-class) life, acute character sketches, and vivid, earthy sexual humour. sound drew from its members’ diverse musical influences, which included jazz, rock and roll, funk, and reggae, and Dury’s love of music hall. The band was formed after Dury began writing songs with pianist and guitarist Chaz Jankel, who took Dury’s lyrics, fashioned a number of songs, and they began recording with members of Radio Caroline’s Loving Awareness Band—drummer Charley Charles, bassist Norman Watt-Roy, keyboard player Mick Gallagher, guitarist John Turnbull and former Kilburns saxophonist Davey Payne. An album was completed, but major record labels passed on the band. However, next door to Dury’s manager’s office was the newly formed Stiff Records, a perfect home for Dury’s maverick style. Their classic single, “Sex & Drugs & Rock and Roll”, marked Dury’s Stiff debut and although it was banned by the BBC it was named Single of the Week by NME on its release. It was soon followed by the debut album New Boots and Panties!!, which achieved platinum status.

The band’s second album Do It Yourself was released in June 1979 in a Barney Bubbles-designed sleeve of which there were over a dozen variations, all based on samples from the Crown wallpaper catalogue. Bubbles also designed the Blockhead logo which received international acclaim, during this time The group worked solidly between the release of “Rhythm Stick” and their next single, “Reasons To Be Cheerful”, which returned them to the charts, making the UK Top 10. Sadly The Blockheads disbanded in early 1982 after Dury secured a new recording deal with Polydor Records

Sadly In March 1996 Dury was diagnosed with cancer and, after recovering from an operation, he set about writing another album. In early 1998 he reunited with the Blockheads to record the well-received album Mr Love-Pants. In May, Ian Dury and the Blockheads hit the road again, and gigged throughout 1999, culminating in their last performance with Ian Dury on 6 February 2000 at the London Palladium. Dury sadly passed away six weeks later on 27 March 2000, since then the band have continued to perform and are best known for their hit singles “What a Waste”, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, “Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3” and “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”.

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