“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”

IAN DURY – “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” / “Razzle In My Pocket” (Stiff SRS 510.032) August 1977

Ian Dury “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” – here’s an enigma: a title that’s passed into common parlance but which was never a hit; a tribute to rock ‘n’ roll built on a jazz riff; a catch-phrase taken to celebrate dumb hedonism but behind which lie lyrics of restraint and wit.

At 35 (McCartney’s age) in 1977, Ian Dury was no young punk, but embodied the era’s gritty, outsider spirit. His first single for Stiff, and the first fruit of his collaboration with Chas Jankel, Sex & Drugs was as much sly comment on the music biz as a call to party.

Built on a lick hijacked from Ornette Coleman’s Ramblin’, it gently refuted grey conformation, celebrated personal tailoring and proferred “a small slice of the cake of liberty”.

It added up to an instant, and widely ignored, masterpiece and served notice of Dury’s rebirth from pub-rocker to people’s poet. (Mojo)

I thought it was dreadful: an updated version of Mike Sarne’s ‘Come Outside’ using the same idea of half-spoken vocals over the music. It might have been a good idea but it didn’t come off.
(Record Mirror, 17/09/77)

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