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Ian Dury

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Ian Dury (May 12, 1942 - March 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, although 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. His song "Spasticus Autisticus", intended to mark the 1981 Year of the Disabled was banned by the BBC, because the lyrics were considered offensive, 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, "I'm spasticus, autisticus" was inspired by the response of the rebelling gladiators of Rome who all answered to the name of their leader, "I am Spartacus", to protect him.

The Blockheads had several hit singles, including "There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards", "Hit me with your Rhythm Stick", and the rock and roll anthem "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll". His music is marked by clever lyrics and word play, many jazz influences but with a strong allegiance to rock and roll.

He acted in several small films, most well known of which is probably in Peter Greenaway's The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover.

He died of colorectal cancer. One of his obituaries read: "one of few true originals of the English music scene" (The Guardian).

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)
  • Mr Love Pants (1998)

See also: Barney Bubbles, Stiff Records

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