Monday, September 07, 2009

'80s Monday: Ian Dury

It's probably a bit of a stretch to call the late Ian Dury an '80s artist, because he did a lot of his best work in the late '70s, but let's not be pedantic. Much of the "80s music" I listened to started in the late '70s. That's when punk and ska began, after all.

Dury was associated with the punk movement, but musically his sound -- especially live -- was more funk and R&B than punk.

He's most remembered now for "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll," and rightly so. It's a classic. Other people had made the link between sex, drugs, and rock and roll before Dury did, but his genius was sticking in an extra "and" and turning the phrase into a memorable hook. But it's not, as you might expect, a song about rock star excess. It's actually about non-conformity, about living life the way you want to, not the way other people tell you to.

And that was typical of Dury's lyrics: intelligent, but humorous and always down to earth. Ian Dury was an artist, but there was never anything artsy-fartsy about him. So here's four songs by Ian Dury. Enjoy.

"Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" (1977)

"There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards" (1978)

"Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" (1978)

"Wake up and Make Love with Me" (1977)


  1. Oddly, I first heard of Ian Dury in the 80s through his participation in an R&B/rock album or two in Japan with the (recently deceased) Imawano Kiyoshiro. (Clearly, my knowledge of 70s/80s British punk is lacking.)

  2. That's interesting. I never knew he did that.


What do you think?