I would like to thank Gouranga for recently posting a tribute rework I did of Ian Dury & The Blockheads ‘Wake Up’ on the anniversary of Mr Dury’s birthday. Thank you.
Below are some words I wrote to accompany the post.
Hope you enjoy!
‘The first 45 single I ever bought was by Ian Dury and The Blockheads and was called ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’. I bought it in a newsagent store called John Menzies, which had a black weekly chart board with plastic letters on it that was updated by hand each week.
I can’t really remember how I came across the track, or if it was just potluck. I probably heard it on Top of the Pops, or on the weekly chart show on the wireless as it used to be called back in those days. Anyway I bought it and to this day it is a song that I love and would be happy to hear any time, any place and it introduced me to the music of Ian Dury and The Blockheads.
Ian Dury for me reflected what pop music and music in general was all about back then – a longing to be different and to make a difference. He was a fascinating character. My Dad said he looked like a bloody idiot, which only made me admire him more. When he performed he had a real edge and his singing style was more like someone talking, or at times even shouting in his own London accent rather than something shiny and polished. And you have remember these were the days of The Bee Gees, Barbara Streisand, Leif Garrett and other such highly manicured artists. He also had a tremendous amount of personal style with his hats, braces, rolled up trousers and boots. And it was all this difference literally rolled together as well as the great music he made alongside The Blockheads, which pulled me in as an admiring youth.
And the music…I couldn’t quite explain it at the time. But it was unmistakably ‘New Wave’ although I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant either beyond a handful of artists I was into like Blondie, Talking Heads and The Specials. It was a bit ‘Punk’ and DIY for sure and that was definitely a good thing. But it also had the funk. The Blockheads were a groovy outfit of great musicians. Much later I discovered that Chaz Jankel of The Blockheads went on to make some excellent disco influenced solo productions and that these tracks plus songs by Ian Dury and The Blockheads were played by groundbreaking NYC DJs like Larry Levan in the Disco scene out there and graced the floors of seminal clubs like the Paradise Garage and The Loft. My musical journey from awkward youth to being a DJ myself had come full circle all thanks to Ian Dury and The Blockheads.
Anyway I can’t say I am an expert on Ian Dury or The Blockheads to be honest. I love a lot of their music and it has now been with me my whole adult life while many other things have come and gone. In fact at one stage I used to buy any copy of ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’ on 45 that crossed my path. But the thing that seems of significance to me and that I wanted to share here with you is the DIY spirit and original style of those times. And they were great times! Acts like Ian Dury and The Blockheads did things differently and did it their own way and gained recognition for what they did via their music around the world. I salute them for that and it gives me, and I hope you, more than a few reasons to be cheerful.
So as a tribute to the genius and spirit of Ian Dury and The Blockheads and as my own personal way of saying thanks for the influence it has had on my life, I would like to share this rework of one of my favourite tracks on this his birthday. THANKS IAN DURY AND THE BLOCKHEADS! Your music really has made me feel like a lucky bastard x’
[Originally posed on GOURANGA]