10 facts about The Blockheads ahead of headlining Gig in the Park
PUBLISHED: 15:27 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 24 July 2018
The countdown is on to Gig in the Park, a major new music festival set to draw the crowds to Diss Park this weekend.
The three day South Norfolk extravaganza, organised by the creators of the hugely successful Big Gig Halesworth, WoW Festival and Maui Waui, will features more than 40 bands across two stages.
Entrants for Diss’ Got Talent — a search for talented young performers in the area — will also be performing on the big stage with the winner announced over the weekend.
Friday night will be headlined by New Town Kings, a ska and reggae band originating from Essex, while Doctor and the Medics will relive their standout hit Spirit In The Sky from the 1980s when they close the festival with a headlining slot on Sunday.
Saturday night’s big name headliners are The Blockheads, the legendary band behind Ian Dury, the late frontman of Ian Dury and The Blockheads, who hit the charts with Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick and Reasons To Be Cheerful Part Three.
10 Facts About The Blockheads
• Originally fronted by lead singer Ian Dury as Ian Dury and the Blockheads, the band has continued to perform since Dury’s death in 2000. Current members include Derek “The Draw” Hussey (vocals), Chaz Jankel (keyboards and guitar), Norman Watt-Roy (bass), Mick Gallagher (keyboards and piano), John Turnbull (vocals and guitar) and John Roberts (drums).
• They were formed after the disbanding of Kilburn and the High Roads, the British pub rock band formed by Ian Dury in 1970. Dury then formed the short-lived Ian Dury and the Kilburns and later, with different personnel, new group Ian Dury and the Blockheads.
• The band are best known for their hit singles, recorded with Dury, What a Waste, Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick, Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3, and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.
• Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick was inspired by Dury’s disability. He contracted polio when he was seven years old. Released on Stiff records in 1978, it went on to sell a million copies. It features an innovative saxophone solo by Davey Payne - who actually played two saxophones at once!
• The single Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, released in August 1977, was banned by the BBC, but was named Single of the Week by NME. It soon followed by the album the band’s iconic album, New Boots and Panties!!, which, although it did not include the single, achieved platinum status.
• Dury’s 1981 song Spasticus Autisticus —written to show his disdain for that year’s International Year of Disabled Persons, which he saw as patronising and counter-productive — was also banned by the BBC. It was more recently used at the opening of the London 2012 Paralympics.
• As well as continued to perform with the Blockheads, Chaz Jankel also carved out a successful solo career. Internationally he is best known for Quincy Jones’ Ai No Corrida (I-No-No-Ko-ree-da), which he co-wrote with Kenny Young.
• After both of Jankel’s parents died, he moved to the US in 1986 and lived there for several years before returning to the UK to rejoin the Blockheads, working with Dury on their final two albums with him Mr. Love Pants (1998), and Ten More Turnips from the Tip (2000).
• Jankel also has several composer credits for films, including DOA (1988), which was co-directed by his sister Annabel Jankel, and K2. He composed the majority of the music for the Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in which he was portrayed by Tom Hughes. It won him a BAFTA nomination.
• Few people know more about Ian Drury and the band than Norwich-based writer and journalist Richard Balls who wrote the biography Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Life Of Ian Dury, as well as Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story.
• Gig in the Park takes place at Diss Park on July 27-29. Full weekend tickets are £25, day tickets £10. For more information go to www.gig-in-the-park.co.uk