New-Wave Singer Ian Dury Dead From Cancer At 57

Humorous vocalist had a string of witty late-'70s hits in the UK.

Humorous and beloved new-wave singer Ian Dury died Monday (March 27) after a long battle with cancer, a representative from his UK label said. He was 57.

Best known in the United States for his bouncy music-industry send-up "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" (RealAudio excerpt), Dury had a string of witty, late '70s hits in the UK, including "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" and "Reasons to Be Cheerful (Part 3)." His 1977 debut, New Boots and Panties!!, released when he was 35, is considered a new-wave classic.

"He was a fantastic human being," said Steve Fernie of the East Central One label group. "I don't know anyone who wasn't better off for having known him."

In 1998 the cockney-accented Dury reunited with his old backing band the Blockheads to release Mr. Love Pants, their first album in almost 20 years.

Dury issued the disc through his own imprint at East Central One, called Ronnie Harris, which was named after his accountant.

"That gives you an idea of the humor of the guy," Fernie said.

Dury was born May 12, 1942, in Upminster, England. A bout with polio at age 7 left him partially paralyzed. In recent years, Dury campaigned with Robbie Williams for polio prevention in the Third World, Fernie said.

Plans for a memorial service have not been announced.