I had to go into a box room where the suitcases were stored and learn 80 lines of Ode to Autumn by yer man Keats. If I got a word wrong I had to go back, they added that to the end of the sentence and after five nights of this my head had definitely gone. He left the school at the age of 16 to study painting at the Walthamstow College of Art, having gained GCE ‘O’ Levels in English Language, English Literature and Art. Under the management of Andrew King and Peter Jenner, the original managers of Pink Floyd, Ian Dury and the Blockheads quickly gained a reputation as one of the top live acts of new wave music.
The Blockheads’ sound drew from its members’ diverse musical influences, which included jazz, rock and roll, funk, and reggae, and Dury’s love of music hall. Roll”, released 26 August 1977, marked Dury’s Stiff debut. Although it was banned by the BBC it was named Single of the Week by NME on its release. Mickey Gallagher, the band recorded 28 takes of the song but eventually settled on the second take for the single release.
The Blockheads briefly reformed in June 1987 to play a short tour of Japan, and then disbanded again. Spain in January 1991, then disbanded again until August 1992 when, following Jankel’s return to England, they were invited to reform for the Madstock! In March 1996 Dury was diagnosed with cancer and, after recovering from an operation, he set about writing another album. In early 1998 he reunited with the Blockheads to record the album Mr Love-Pants.
Blockheads hit the road again, with Dylan Howe replacing Steven Monti on drums. The Blockheads have continued after Dury’s death, contributing to the tribute album Brand New Boots And Panties, then Where’s The Party. The Blockheads still tour, and are currently recording a new album. They currently comprise Jankel, Watt-Roy, Gallagher, Turnbull, John Roberts on drums, Gilad Atzmon and Dave Lewis on saxes. In 1984, Dury was featured in the music video to the Who’s Roger Daltrey’s minor hit single “Walking in My Sleep”. Dury’s 1981 song “Spasticus Autisticus”—written to show his disdain for that year’s International Year of Disabled Persons, which he saw as patronising and counter-productive—was banned by the BBC.
Dury was a disabled person himself, having been left crippled by childhood polio. The song’s refrain, “I’m spasticus, autisticus”, was inspired by the response of the rebellious Roman gladiators in the film Spartacus, who, when instructed to identify their leader, all answered, “I am Spartacus”, to protect him. Ian Dury, that ‘flaw of the jungle’, produced a remarkable and sustained body of work that explored issues of disability, in both personal and social contexts, institutionalisation, and to a lesser extent the pop cultural tradition of disability. Dury described the song as “a war cry” on Desert Island Discs. Although the song was banned from being broadcast by the BBC before 6 p. Dury’s confident and unusual demeanour caught the eyes of producers and directors of drama.
Dury also wrote a musical, Apples, staged in London’s Royal Court Theatre. Road at the Royal Court Theatre. I hear ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ I feel sick, it’s so bad. He got Richard Stilgoe to do the lyrics in the end, who’s not as good as me. When AIDS first came to prominence in the mid-1980s, Dury was among celebrities who appeared on UK television to promote safe sex, demonstrating how to put on a condom using a model of an erect penis. Dury appeared in the Classic Albums episode that focused on Steely Dan’s album Aja. Dury commented that the album was one of the most “upful” he’d ever heard, and that the album “lifted spirits up” whenever he played it.