Ian Dury

From Academic Kids

Ian Dury (May 12, 1942March 27, 2000) was a rock and roll singer, songwriter, and bandleader. He is best known as founder and lead singer of the British band Ian Dury and the Blockheads, though he began his musical career in pub rock act Kilburn and the High Roads.

Ian Dury lived with the effects of polio, which he contracted at the age of seven — very likely, he believed, from a swimming pool at Southend on Sea. Ironically his 1981 song "Spasticus Autisticus", intended to mark the International Year of the Disabled, was banned by the BBC despite having been written by a disabled person. The lyrics were definitely uncompromising:

So place your hard-earned peanuts in my tin
And thank the Creator you're not in the state I'm in
So long have I been languished on the shelf
I must give all proceedings to myself

The chorus' refrain, "I'm spasticus, autisticus" was inspired by the response of the rebelling gladiators of Rome who (at least in the version of the story as portrayed in Kubrick's movie), all answered to the name of their leader, "I am Spartacus", to protect him.

Missing image
Original UK 45rpm single picture cover: Ian Dury and the Blockheads — Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

Managed by Andrew King, Ian Dury and The Blockheads had 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 Three)" (number three in the UK), and the rock and roll anthem "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" — a phrase which has subsequently entered the language. His music is marked by clever lyrics and word play, many jazz influences but with a strong allegiance to rock and roll.

He had small parts in several films, most well-known of which was Peter Greenaway's The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover, as well as cameo appearances in Roman Polanski's Pirates and the Sylvester Stallone science fiction film Judge Dredd. He also wrote a musical, Apples, staged at the Royal Court Theatre in London's Sloane Square.

Dury wrote and performed the theme song "Profoundly in Love with Pandora" for the television series The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 (1985), based on the book of the same name by Sue Townsend, as well as its follow-up The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1987).

In the 1990s, Dury became an ambassador for UNICEF, recruiting stars such as Robbie Williams to publicise the cause.

It was known for some time before his death that Dury had colorectal cancer. In 1998, his death was incorrectly announced on XFM radio by Bob Geldof, possibly due to hoax information from a listener.

Dury died of cancer in 2000. One of his obituaries read: "one of few true originals of the English music scene" (The Guardian). Meanwhile, he was described by Suggs, the singer with Madness as "possibly the finest lyricist we've seen."

His son, Baxter Dury, is also a singer. He sang one of Ian's songs at his funeral, and has released his own album, Len Parrot's Memorial Lift.


  • New Boots and Panties (1977)
  • Do It Yourself (1979)
  • Laughter (1980)
  • Lord Upminster (1981)
  • 4000 Weeks Holiday (1984)
  • The Bus Driver's Prayer and Other Short Stories (1992)
  • Mr Love Pants (1998)
  • Ten More Turnips from the Tip (Posthumous release, 2002)

See also

External links

nl:Ian Dury


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