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 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)

Early Life

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 Sunday Times.

Kilburn and the High Roads

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”

On August 19, 1977, Ian Dury released his debut solo single: “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” backed with “Razzle in My Pocket,” both Dury–Jankel co-writes.

A. “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”
B. “Razzle in My Pocket”

“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” appeared as the seventeenth standard single on Stiff Records (BUY 17), between the debut single by Wreckless Eric (“Whole Wide World,” BUY 16), and releases by Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias (Snuff Rock EP, LAST 2)  and The Damned (“Problem Child,” BUY 18).

New Boots and Panties!!

Ian Dury released his debut album, New Boots and Panties!!, on September 30, 1977, on Stiff Records.

A1. “Wake Up and Make Love With Me” (4:19)
A2. “Sweet Gene Vincent” (3:30)
A3. “I’m Partial to Your Abracadabra” (3:10)
A4. “My Old Man” (3:36)
A5. “Billericay Dickie” (4:10)
B1. “Clevor Trever” (4:57)
B2. “If I Was With a Woman” (3:20)
B3. “Blockheads” (3:28)
B4. “Plaistow Patricia” (4:08)
B5. “Blackmail Man” (2:11)

Recorded 1977
Studio Workhouse Studio, Old Kent Road, London

Ian Dury – vocals
Chaz Jankel – guitars, keyboards
Norman Watt-Roy – bass
Charley Charles – drums
Additional personnel:
Davey Payne – saxophones
Edward Speight – ballad guitar
Geoff Castle – Moog synthesizer
Chris Gabrin – photography
Barney Bubbles – brush lettering

“Sweet Gene Vincent” / “You’re More Than Fair”
Released: 25 November 1977

“What a Waste!”

On April 14, 1978, Ian Dury released the standalone single “What a Waste!”

A. “What a Waste!”
B. “Wake Up and Make Love With Me”

Stiff UK BUY 27

“Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”

On November 23, 1978, Ian Dury and The Blockheads released “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.”

A. “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”
B. “There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards”

Stiff UK BUY 38

Do It Yourself

Ian Dury & The Blockheads released their second album, Do It Yourself, on May 18, 1979, on Stiff.

1. “Inbetweenies” (5:18)
2. “Quiet” (3:31) John Turnbull, Mick Gallagher, Norman Watt-Roy, Charley Charles
3. “Don’t Ask Me” (3:17)
4. “Sink My Boats” (4:12)
5. “Waiting For Your Taxi” (2:52)

6. “This Is What We Find” Gallagher (4:10)
7. “Uneasy Sunny Day Hotsy-Totsy” Turnbull (2:10)
8. “Mischief” Watt-Roy, Gallagher (3:33)
9. “Dance of the Screamers” (6:40)
10. “Lullaby for Francis/Frances” (5:02)

Studio The Workhouse, Old Kent Road, London

Ian Dury – vocals
Chaz Jankel – keyboards, guitars, musical direction
John Turnbull – guitars
Mick Gallagher – keyboards
Davey Payne – saxophones
Norman Watt-Roy – bass
Charley Charles – drums
The Breezeblocks – backing vocals

Chaz Jankel – producer
Laurie Latham – producer, engineer
Edwin Cross – second engineer
Barney Bubbles – sleeve design

27 Jul 1979 Stiff UK BUY 50
A. “Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3”
B. “Common as Muck”

22 Aug 1980 Stiff UK BUY 90
A. “I Want To Be Straight”
B. “That’s Not All”


Ian Dury & The Blockheads released their third album, Laughter, on November 28, 1980, on Stiff.

1. “Superman’s Big Sister” Ian Dury, Wilko Johnson (2:49)
2. “Pardon” Dury, Norman Watt-Roy (2:39)
3. “Delusions of Grandeur” Dury, Mick Gallagher (2:51)
4. “Yes and No (Paula)” Dury, Davey Payne (3:06)
5. “Dance of the Crackpots” Dury, John Turnbull (2:35)
6. “Over The Points” Dury, Turnbull (4.08)
7. “(Take Your Elbow Out of the Soup) You’re Sitting on the Chicken” Dury, Gallagher (2:34)
8. “Uncoolohol” Dury, Charley Charles (3:01)
9. “Hey, Hey, Take Me Away” Dury, Gallagher (2:27)
10. “Manic Depression (Jimi)” Dury, Gallagher (3:48)
11. “Oh Mr. Peanut” Dury, Johnson (3:49)
12. “Fucking Ada” Dury, Turnbull (5:59)

Studio The Producers Workshop, London

Ian Dury – vocals
Wilko Johnson – guitars, backing vocals
Johnny Turnbull – guitars, backing vocals
Mick Gallagher – piano, keyboards
Norman Watt-Roy – bass
Charley Charles – drums
Davey Payne – saxophones, harmonica, flute

Additional Personnel
Don Cherry – pocket trumpet
Will Gaines – tap dance on “Dance of the Crackpots”
Ray Cooper – percussion
Ivor Raymonde – strings

Ian Horne – sound engineer, mixing
Richard Wernham – assistant engineer
Chris Killip – photography
Ray Gregory – album design
Brain Love – album design

A. “Sueperman’s Big Sister”
B. “You’ll See Glimpses”

Lord Upminster

Ian Dury released his fourth album, Lord Upminster, in September 1981 on Polydor.

1. “Funky Disco (Pops)” (3:30)
2. “Red (Letter)” (3:47)
3. “Girls (Watching)” Sly Dunbar (4:28)
4. “Wait (For Me)” (3:41)

5. “The (Body Song)” (5:08)
6. “Lonely (Town)” (4:10)
7. “Trust (Is A Must)” (6:20)
8. “Spasticus (Autisticus)” (4:57)

Recorded April – May 1981
Studio Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas

Ian Dury – vocals
Chas Jankel – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, arrangements
Robbie Shakespeare – bass guitars, arrangements
Sly Dunbar – drums, arrangements
Tyrone Downie – Clavinets, Prophet-5, Steinway & Sons pianos, backing vocals
Tina Weymouth – backing vocals
Laura Weymouth – backing vocals
Harold Dorsett – backing vocals
Gina – backing vocals

Ian Dury – production
Chas Jankel – production
Steven Stanley – production, engineering, mixing
Harold Dorsett – engineering, assistant mixing
Paul Kaye – cover photography


  • “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)


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