The inside story behind one of the 20th Centurys most celebrated lyricists, Ian Dury, and his revered backing band, The Blockheads.
Ian Dury and the Blockheads: Song By Song describes Ian and co-writer Chaz Jankels inauspicious first meeting which paved the way for one of the most respected writing partnerships of the past quarter century. It recalls how a chance studio encounter between Ian and two session musicians helped make New Boots and Panties one of the seminal albums of the New Wave era and provided Ian with a ready-made band to take on the British charts.
Each song on Ians four albums with the Blockheads, alongside his debut LP New Boots are dissected musically and lyrically in chronological order, with the help of the surviving band members. The hit singles Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, Reasons to Be Cheerful (Part 3), and What a Waste also come under the microscope, along with a new batch of songs on the Blockheads comeback album.
Song By Song explains in frank detail Ians fractious relationship with the Blockheads and how rows over money and the influence of his management drove a wedge between him and the band. Each band member explains how Ians polio affliction and the horrors of his institutionalisation in childrens hospitals made him a temperamental control freak capable of reducing grown men to tears.
The Blockheads on the road antics, onstage punch-ups, and frequent scrapes caused by Ians heavy drinking are also dissected, along with the tragic death of original drummer Charley Charles in 1990.
Ians brave battle with cancer is discussed by the band members, who describe how his five-year battle with the disease humbled him and softened his gruff persona. His decision to reform the Blockheads for the classic Mr Love Pants LP in 1997 and the securing of his familys blessing for a posthumous album are also detailed.
Finally the band discuss how they came to terms with Ians untimely death and why, three years on, with original songwriter Chaz Jankel back in the fold, they are planning to fight their way back onto the nations airwaves.