Author Topic: Ian Dury and The Blockheads/Kilburn and the High Roads  (Read 688 times)


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Ian Dury and The Blockheads/Kilburn and the High Roads
« on: August 10, 2017, 09:44:59 PM »
Ian Robins Dury (12 May 1942 – 27 March 2000) was an English rock and roll singer-songwriter and actor who rose to fame during the late 1970s, during the punk and new wave era of rock music. He was the lead singer of Ian Dury and the Blockheads and before that of Kilburn and the High Roads.

Dury formed Kilburn and the High Roads (a reference to the road in North West London) in 1971,  and they played their first gig at Croydon School of Art on 5 December 1971.  Dury was vocalist and lyricist, co-writing with pianist Russell Hardy and later enrolling into the group a number of the students he was teaching at Canterbury College of Art (now the University for the Creative Arts), including guitarist Keith Lucas (who later became the guitarist for 999 under the name Nick Cash) and bassist Humphrey Ocean.

Managed first by Charlie Gillett and Gordon Nelki and latterly by fashion entrepreneur Tommy Roberts, the Kilburns found favour on London's pub rock circuit and signed to Dawn Records in 1974, but despite favourable press coverage and a tour opening for English rock band The Who, the group failed to rise above cult status and disbanded in 1975.

The group produced two albums: Handsome and Wotabunch (plus a 5-track "Best Of" EP).

The Blockheads

Live at The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London, 1978
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.

Dury's lyrics are a combination of lyrical poetry, word play, observation of British everyday life, character sketches, and sexual humour: "This is what we find ... Home improvement expert Harold Hill of Harold Hill, Of do-it-yourself dexterity and double-glazing skill, Came home to find another gentleman's kippers in the grill, So he sanded off his winkle with his Black & Decker drill." The song "Billericay Dickie" rhymes "I had a love affair with Nina, In the back of my Cortina" with "A seasoned-up hyena Could not have been more obscener".

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. The band was formed after Dury began writing songs with pianist and guitarist Chaz Jankel (the brother of noted music video, TV, commercial and film director Annabel Jankel). Jankel took Dury's lyrics, fashioned a number of songs, and they began recording with members of Radio Caroline's Loving Awareness Band—drummer Charley Charles (born Hugh Glenn Mortimer Charles, Guyana 1945), bassist Norman Watt-Roy, keyboard player Mick Gallagher, guitarist John Turnbull and former Kilburns saxophonist Davey Payne. An album was completed, but major record labels passed on the band. Next door to Dury's manager's office was the newly formed Stiff Records, a perfect home for Dury's maverick style.

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 lyrics were 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 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.

It was known for some time before his death that Dury had cancer. He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1996 and underwent surgery, but tumours were later found in his liver, and he was told that his condition was terminal. Upon learning of his illness, Dury took the opportunity to marry his girlfriend, sculptor Sophy Tilson, with whom he had had two children, Bill and Albert.

In 1998, his death was incorrectly announced on XFM radio by Bob Geldof, possibly due to hoax information from a listener.  In 1999, Dury collaborated with Madness on their first original album in fourteen years on the track "Drip Fed Fred". Suggs and the band cite him as a great influence. It was to be one of his last recordings. He also performed again with the Blockheads in mid-1999 at Ronnie Scott's in Soho. This was a special performance recorded for LWT's South Bank Show and the audience were invited fans and friends of the band and crew. His deteriorating condition was evident and he had to take rests between takes and be helped on and off stage.

Ian Dury & the Blockheads' last public performance was a charity concert in aid of Cancer BACUP on 6 February 2000 at the London Palladium, supported by Kirsty MacColl and Phill Jupitus. Dury was noticeably ill and again had to be helped on and off stage.

Dury died of metastatic colorectal cancer on 27 March 2000, aged 57. An obituary in The Guardian read: "one of few true originals of the English music scene". Meanwhile, he was described by Suggs, the singer of Madness, as "possibly the finest lyricist we've seen." The Ian Dury website opened an online book of condolence shortly after his death, which was signed by hundreds of fans. He was cremated following a humanist funeral at Golders Green Crematorium with 250 mourners at the service, including fellow musicians Suggs and Jools Holland as well as other "celebrity fans" such as MP Mo Mowlam.

Kilburn & the High Roads - Patience (So What?)

Kilburn &the High-Roads-The Mumble Rumble &the Cocktail Rock

Kilburn and the High Roads - Rough Kids

Ian Dury - What A Waste (1977)

Ian Dury and the Blockheads - Blockheads, Live with Wilko Johnson (Game of Thrones & Dr Feelgood)



Ian Dury And The Blockheads - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (TOPPOP) (1977)

Ian Dury and The Blockheads - Reasons To Be Cheerful

Spasticus Autisticus (Live)

Ian Dury and The Blockheads - Bed O'Roses No.9

Ian Dury and the Blockheads 1999 Live at Ronnie Scotts FULL

« Last Edit: October 01, 2019, 03:58:25 PM by InnaGaddaDaVida »


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Re: Ian Dury and The Blockheads/Kilburn and the High Roads
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 10:17:46 PM »
The Old Grey Whistle Test - Ian Dury & the Blockheads (1980)


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Re: Ian Dury and The Blockheads/Kilburn and the High Roads
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2018, 05:09:53 PM »
Ian Dury & The Blockheads Sweet Gene Vincent

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - I Wanna Be Straight (1980)

Ian Dury and The Blockheads - Sink My Boats - Sweden 1980

Inbetweenies: Ian Dury and The Blockheads

Ian Dury and the Blockheads - Dance of the Screamers

Ian Dury and the Blockheads ' Bed o' Roses no.9