On this date in 2000, British punk and new wave singer-songwriter & actor, Ian Robins Dury, died after a long battle with cancer at age 58.
Dury had been diagnosed with cancer in 1996, and continued performing until the month before his death, collaborating with Madness who cite him as a huge influence.
Dury is best known as the leader of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, who had a massive hit with “Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick” in 1978.
The band signed on with Stiff Records and toured with their label mates including Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello & the Attractions and Wreckless Eric after which Stiff embarked on a dedicated Dury campaign, garnering them success in the UK and Europe.
His lyrics were broad encompassing lyrical poetry, word play, observations of British everyday life, character sketches, and sexual humour. They also contained political statements, none more than “Spasticus Autisticus” song (1981) to show his disdain for that years International Year of the Disabled Person, which he viewed as patronising and counterproductive. Dury himself was disabled, due to his contracting polio as a child. Dury described the song as a “war cry”, and despite being banned from being played before 6pm by BBC, it was later used at the opening of the 2012 Paralympics in London.
The music video here, Ian Dury and the Blockheads performing—playback—on TopPop, “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”, in January 1978. The single was named Single of the Week by NME on its release, while BBC banned it.
Vale Ian Dury, to a life lived large and well.
• Read also MERRY BIRTHDAY, MR. SYLVIAN.