Ian Dury lived with the effects of polio, which he contracted at the age of seven, very likely, he believed, from a swimming pool at Southend on Sea. His song "Spasticus Autisticus", intended to mark the 1981 Year of the Disabled was banned by the BBC, because the lyrics were considered offensive, despite having been written by a disabled person. The lyrics were definitely uncompromising:
Managed by Andrew King, The Blockheads had several hit singles, including "What a Waste", "Hit me with your Rhythm Stick" (which was UK number one in 1978), "Reasons to be Cheerful (Part Three)" (number three in the UK), and the rock and roll anthem "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll". His music is marked by clever lyrics and word play, many jazz influences but with a strong allegiance to rock and roll.
He acted in several small films, most well-known of which is probably in Peter Greenaway's The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover. He also wrote a musical, Apples, staged at the Royal Court Theatre in London's Sloane Square.
He died of colorectal cancer. One of his obituaries read: "one of few true originals of the English music scene" (The Guardian).
His son, Baxter Dury, is also a singer. He sang one of Ian's songs at his funeral, and has released his own album, Len Parrot's Memorial Lift.
See also: Barney Bubbles, Stiff Records