Where would we be without wiki? I certainly would be struggling for enough info and material pertaining to whatever song or act plucked from random to be on these pages on whatever day.

It was only by consulting the on-line encyclopaedia that I learned the following:-

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick is the 90th best-selling UK single of all time (as at June 2013)

– The music was inspired by the distinctive piano part of Wake Up and Make Love To Me, an earlier Ian Dury & The Blockheads song

– Some of the lyrics were from as far back as 1974 but the majority were written in 1976, more than two years in advance of its recording and release

– There were 11 separate takes of the song recorded but the one eventually chosen was one of the earliest

– Producer Laurie Latham was never happy with the mix selected as, in his view, there was too much piano and vocals and not enough bass; he’s since said however, that such blemishes are probably what made the song so catchy and memorable

– The song was recorded as live with all the Blockheads placed in different positions across the studio

Stiff Records announced that they would delete the song as soon as it hit 1,000,000 sales; it turned out that 979,000 copies of the 7” and 12” were sold in late 78/early 79 and the millionth copy wasn’t until many years later in the digital era

– It was initially kept off the #1 spot in the charts by YMCA

– The choice of b-side  – There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards – was deliberate so as to provide royalties to one of Ian Dury’s old writing partners in Kilburn and The High Roads

– The song was also recorded as a duet in 1994, with one half being a legend of German alternative music.

It is one of the most memorable, engaging, enduring and enjoyable singles of the era. One that appealed to music fans of all ages and with all tastes. And one of the few songs in which I don’t mind the sax solo.

mp3 : Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
mp3 : Ian Dury & The Blockheads – There Ain’t Have Been Some Clever Bastards
mp3 : Freaky Fukin Weirdoz & Nina Hagen – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick



  1. I love that this was initially held from the #1 spot by YMCA, nicely illustrates how varied the singles chart used to be. I’m not alone, I’m guessing, in wishing there was still that level of variation?

    Eskimo, Arapaho!

  2. How brilliant is it when a few words from a song, as in your post title, are so instantly recognisable?! Love the little factoids here, JC, thanks. As a sweet little bloggers’ coincidence – our good pal The Swede and I both saw ID & the Blockheads at the same venue, just one night apart, way back in ’79 – something neither of us were to know until all these years later when we started writing here.

  3. The Barney Bubbles cover is also brilliant. This was one of the best songs of the decade I think, and there were a lot of good songs. I saw him back in the day, still one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

  4. Verian is on the mark….one of my favorite singles covers and I definitely hold it up as a classic song to end the 70’s with!

  5. I often use clips of songs in class to get English students to spot creative uses of language and comment on its effect. I memorably used a clip from this song once and the reaction from the 16 year olds was a general: WTF!? If I were Mr. Dury, I would take that as a compliment.

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