Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll
Broadcast date: 1978-01-28
"Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" is a song and single by Ian Dury. It was originally released as a Stiff Records single with "Razzle in My Pocket" as the B-side, on 26 August 1977. The song was released under the name "Ian Dury" and only two members of the Blockheads appear on the record – the song's co-writer and guitarist Chas Jankel and saxophonist Davey Payne.
The song was written by Dury and Chas Jankel in Dury's flat in Oval Mansions, London (nicknamed "Catshit mansions" by Dury) that overlooked The Oval cricket-ground. Dury typically presented Jankel with his hand-typed lyric sheets. According to Chas in Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll: The Life of Ian Dury, he would be repeatedly given the lyric for "Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll" but kept rejecting the song only for it to be at the top of the pile in the next batch of songs, only to be rejected again. This went on until Dury sang the song's title in time with the intended guitar riff. Sometime later Jankel heard "Ramblin", a tune by Ornette Coleman (from the album Change of the Century, which also featured Charlie Haden and Don Cherry), and heard exactly the same bass riff being played by Haden.
Dury once apologised to Coleman for lifting the riff but, as Coleman explained, he (or possibly Haden) had lifted it himself from a Kentucky folk tune called "Old Joe Clark". An alternative version to this story exists: as Dury explained when he guested on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, he had apologised to Haden at Ronnie Scott's Club for the riff lift, who responded by saying there was no need for an apology as he himself had lifted it from an old Cajun tune.
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