Saturday, June 28, 2008


Ian Dury was a man of many parts. Rock and Roll singer, poet, eclectic songwriter, bandleader, fundraiser and actor, he became a household name from the late 1970s following Punk and as New Wave rock reigned supreme in the UK charts.

Dury often portrayed himself as an Essex cockney wide boy, although he was born into a middle-class Harrow home in 1942. At seven, he contracted polio and when adult, he identified with his hero, Gene Vincent, who also had a leg disability. Leaving the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe at 16 to study at Walthamstow Art College, Dury won a place in 1964 at the Royal College of Art. His tutor was the celebrated British artist Peter Blake. In 1967, Dury himself began teaching at various colleges.

Dury married his first wife Betty Rathmell in 1967 and they had two children, Jemima and Baxter, who is now a recording artist. The Durys divorced in 1985 but remained on good terms. Betty died of cancer in 1994.

In 1977 he formed Ian Dury and the Blockheads to promote his album ‘New Boots and Panties’ on the first Stiff Record Record tour of the UK. They enjoyed many hit singles but Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick released in 1979, sold almost a million copies.

In 2000, Dury died from cancer. Although the Blockheads had disbanded in 1981, they reformed and still tour today. Dury’s name lives on in the 1979 hit “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll”, a phrase attributed to Dury and his magical musical touch.