|World of Chig|
“Je t’adore, ich liebe dich.” “Das ist gut, c’est fantastique!” “C’est si bon, mm? Ist es nicht?”
#46= Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick - Ian & The Blockheads
 Writers: Ian Dury & Chas Jankel. Producer: Chas Jankel.
09 Dec 78 – 15 weeks on chart – 1 week at #1 from 27 Jan 79
The first of two singles at #46. (I promise you there are no tied positions once we reach the top 30.)
No, I haven’t made a mistake – there was no ‘Dury’ name on this single, although he was billed as 'Ian Dury' on the single before, and everything after. This single has a lyric in three different languages, making Ian Dury the first person since Elvis Presley to sing in German on a #1 hit. (I’m guessing that would have been on Wooden Heart in 1961 – anyone know otherwise?)
This was Ian Dury & The Blockheads’ second hit, following What A Waste which had made # 9. After the next single, Reasons To Be Cheerful (Pt. 3) reached #3, they never had another one. In fact Ian Dury’s fame and influence seems to have been entirely disproportionate to his chart success, which was pretty short-lived in retrospect. His hits dried up completely in 1985 after eight of them, but three of those were completely different versions of Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, with a remix in 1985 and a remake in 1991 also making the top 75. However, he is remembered with a great deal of affection, and an inspiration, particularly to people with disabilities, not just because he was partly paralysed from polio from an early age, but for his totally original lyrics (which he wrote) and music (which Chaz Jankel wrote).
‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’ is a quirky, unusual single, with a most extraordinary lyric and the some of the rawest, squeakeist (in a good way) sax playing ever committed to vinyl. It sounded like nothing else, before or since 1978. It’s Mike’s #3 and Dipti’s #4. Mike says,
“ Christmas 1978, and I attend my third concert: Ian Dury & The Blockheads in Kilburn, North London. My first two live experiences (a crappy local punk band, then Bowie at an atmosphere-free Earls Court, so far away that we needed binoculars) had been disappointments, but this gig completely blew me away. The Blockheads were at their artistic and commercial peak, with Rhythm Stick already in the Top 5 and heading for Number One in January 1979. They played, faultlessly, for nearly two and a half hours, and thrilled me to my very soul.
My life was on a cusp at that point - crippling teenage angst and self-consciousness was on the point of melting away, and the first shoots of independence were coming through. This song soundtracks the excitement I felt, right at the beginning of that period of transition.”
The album released after this single, Do It Yourself, was their most successful, reaching #2. It was available in a multitude of covers, all featuring different designs of wallpaper. (No Marcus, not THAT wallpaper.) You can see some of the collection here. (Link to be added later.)
After Ian Dury died, his ‘New Boots And Panties!!’ album was remade by contemporary artists such as Sinead O’Connor and Robbie Williams as Brand New Boots And Panties. The Blockheads are still recording together.
‘Rhythm Stick’ ended the three week run at the top by the Village People’s Y.M.C.A., and was replaced at #1 a week later by Blondie’s Heart Of Glass. But will we be seeing either of those later?
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