Singer Ian Dury rode the punk bandwagon in the 1970s with the singles ``Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick'' and ``Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)''

Dury, whose singing featured clever, exuberant, Cockney-accented lyrics was backed by a band called the Blockheads.

Dury was partially crippled by polio at age 7, and as a result was a lifelong campaigner for the acceptance of disabilities and eradication of polio.

After graduating from school, Dury pursued a career in art as an illustrator and teacher. It wasn't until 1970 that he turned seriously to music, forming a group called Kilburn and the High Roads that was characterized by Dury's wry, gravel-voiced vocals.

The group mostly struggled for seven years, but the formation of Ian Dury and the Blockheads in 1977 helped him finally taste success -- even though, at 35, he was almost two decades older than the archetypal punk rocker.

Dury and the Blockheads were signed to independent Stiff Records, and the group's 1977 tour with other Stiff artists, including Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, served as a springboard for the so-called New Wave, a gentler, more thoughtful offshoot of punk.

As rock 'n' roll became ``exhausting,'' Dury segued into acting, taking roles in movies ranging from Roman Polanski's ``Pirates'' to Peter Greenaway's ``The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover.''

He also wrote a musical, ``Apples,'' that was staged at London's Royal Court Theatre in 1989.

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