Ian Dury

Ian Dury (May 12, 1942 — March 27, 2000) was an English singer, lyricist, and bandleader who emerged in the R&B band Kilburn and the High Roads, which released one album on Dawn/Pye in 1975. As a solo artist, he debuted with the 1977 single “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”, followed that same year by the album New Boots and Panties!! Both releases appeared on Stiff Records with backing by what ultimately became The Blockheads, which share credits with the singer on two further albums and standalone a-sides between 1978 and 1980. Dury’s co-writer during this period was Blockhead keyboardist Chaz Jankel.

The Blockheads members: Ian Dury (vocals), Norman Watt-Roy (bass), Davey Payne (saxophone, 1977-98), Charlie Charles (drums, 1977-82), Chaz Jankel (keyboards, guitar, 1977-80), Wilko Johnson (guitar, 1980-2000)

He was born Ian Robins Dury on May 12, 1942, in Harrow Weald, Middlesex. Most of his childhood was spent between Cornwall and Switzerland with his mother, aunt, and maternal grandparents. At age seven, he fell victim to the 1949 polio epidemic, which left him hospital-bound for two years and partially paralyzed in his left extremities. He attended Chailey Heritage Craft School, where he learned cobbling and printing, followed by time at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, where he underwent a strict program of English literature.

In 1964, the 22-year-old Dury enrolled at the Royal College of Art, where he studied under pop artist Peter Blake, who later did the cover art for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1967, he partook in an exhibition, “Fantasy and Figuration,” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts alongside painters Pat Douthwaite and Stass Paraskos. Over the next several years, Dury taught art at various South London colleges and did illustrations for the The Sunday Times.

In 1971, Dury formed Kilburn and the High Roads, which played a mix of R&B and music hall. The band employed several of Dury’s art students, including guitarist Keith Lucas, who later fronted punk-rockers 999 under the stagename Nick Cash; and bassist Humphrey Ocean, who became a noted artist. The High Roads served as the opening act for The Who on a 1973 Christmas tour and issued one album, Handsome, on Dawn in 1975. Dury, who sang and wrote lyrics, had to fold the band due to health reasons in early 1976.


  • “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” / “Razzle in My Pocket” (1977)
  • New Boots and Panties!! (1977)
  • “What a Waste!” / “Wake Up and Make Love With Me” (1978)
  • “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” / “There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards” (1978 • Ian Dury and The Blockheads)
  • Do It Yourself (1979 • Ian Dury & The Blockheads)
  • Laughter (1980 • Ian Dury & The Blockheads)
  • Lord Upminster (1981)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *