British pub rocker and Cockney poet Ian Dury, best known for his work with his band The Blockheads and cheeky cult hits such as "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" and "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll," died Monday at the age of 57 after a four-year battle with colon and liver cancer.
A late bloomer who released his first album at age 35, Dury overcame an early life of hard knocks. When he was only seven years old, Dury was stricken with polio. Despite his handicap, the scrappy lad from East London formed the acclaimed but largely unknown pub-rock band Kilburn & The High Roads.
By the late '70s, Dury formed the eccentric punk, pub-rock, and even disco-influenced Blockheads. The group jumped onto the British charts in 1977 with its debut album "New Boots And Panties!!"
Signed to the seminal punk label Stiff Records, Dury and The Blockheads hit the road on the legendary "Live Stiffs" tour and, along with labelmates such as Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, became an early influence
on the new wave movement.
Beloved for memorably strange songs such as "Reasons To Be Cheerful (Pt. 3)" and "What A Waste," Dury not only inspired '80s ska-punk artists such as Madness, but also contemporary U.K. bands such as Blur.
Dury also acted in several films, including Peter Greenaway's "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover" and Roman Polanski's "Pirates." In 1989 he even wrote a stage musical called "Apples."
Ian Dury is survived by his wife and four children. Funeral arrangements were still pending at press time.