…a lorry driver, poet, teacher, soldier, lawyer, doctor, writer, ticket collector, revolutionary, inmate or dreamer. But his career of choice was the fool in a six-piece band…and it most certainly was a welcome one as he and his mates brought untold pleasure to fans of new wave music in the late 70s:-

mp3 : Ian Dury & The Blockheads – What A Waste

April 1978 was when this crashed into the charts, giving the gnarled and veteran pub rocker his first real commercial success just shy of his 36th birthday.

The b-side was one of the most popular tracks from the album New Boots and Panties, released some six months previously and credited solely to the singer, albeit most (but not all) The Blockheads played on it. Also worth noting that it was given a shorter title for the single:-

mp3 : Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Wake Up

Oh, and any excuse to offer up this cover, with backing vocals from the main man himself:-

mp3 : Curve (feat Ian Dury) – What A Waste



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