Ian Dury, the lead singer with IAN DURY AND THE BLOCKHEADS and one of Britain’s favourite popstars to emerge from the UK punk scene, died this morning of cancer at the age of 57. Dury had been battling the disease for a number of years.
Dury passed away this morning at approximately 9am with all his family around him. He is survived by his second wife, Sophy, and their two young children aged five and three. Dury also had two children by his first marriage.
Ian Dury was born on May 12 1942 in Upmister, Essex. Struck down with polio as a child, he then spent two years in hospital recovering. However, Dury‘s handicap did not prove to be an obstacle, and after leaving school at 16 he studied Art at Walthamstow Art College in London.
In 1964, Dury achieved a place at the Royal College Of Art, and by 1967 he himself began teaching art at colleges in the south of England.
Dury first came to light as a musical talent in 1971, when, at the age of 28, he formed his first band, Kilburn and The High Roads with pianist Russell Hardy.
The group disbanded in 1975, but by 1977 Dury had found a new home for his creativity in independent record label Stiff Records. His new band, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, which he formed with guitarist Chaz Jankel, bassist Norman Watt-Roy, and drummer Charley Charles, went out on a tour named the ‘Stiff Live Stiffs Tour’ with Elvis Costello And The Attractions, Nick Lowe and Wreckless Eric.
That tour would push The Blockheads into the limelight, and the band managed five hit singles and two top ten albums between 1978 and 1980. With his fusion of punk and disco, Dury took songs such as ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’, ‘What A Waste’, ‘New Boots And Panties’ and ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’ into the UK top ten, and ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’ to number one in the UK.
In the 1980’s The Blockheads suffered a decrease in popularity, and following the release of their 1981 album ‘Lord Upminster’ on Polydor, The Blockheads disbanded, and Dury took to acting in plays and presenting television arts shows.
In 1990 the original Blockheads drummer Charley Charles was diagnosed with cancer, and The Blockheads subsequently reformed for a series concerts for his benefit.
The Blockheads released what was to be their final studio album with Ian Dury in June 1998. Called ‘Mr Love Pants’, it was their first album in seventeen years.
Dury was diagnosed as having colorectal cancer in 1995, but continued to perform and remain in the public eye up to his death. He was also actively involved with the cancer charity ‘CancerBACUP’.