You can take any one of my eccentricities and I will find a way to connect it to “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” by Ian Dury. The album came out in the year I was born: 1977. It is the first LP I remember hearing. I committed those saucy punk-funk tunes to my memory.
This song is a strut, an anthem to things I had no idea about, and a testament to how well the young mind absorbs. Hearing it at age 6 and seeking out the “New Boots and Panties!!” full-length every time I visited my dad’s record collection felt like it was okay to enjoy something weird. My friends and their parents weren’t listening to this!
The redness of my anxious face was usually my indicator as to whether or not I felt like something was appropriate. Sex scene in a movie I watched with my mom? No need for her to cover my eyes as I would run from the couch and return to the age-appropriate solace of my bedroom with its Slinky and Rainbow Brite doll. I always felt cool having young parents who offered an “in” for me musically. Circa 1983 I was filling my ears with King Crimson, Diana Ross, Bowie, Pink Floyd, Harry Belafonte, Cat Stevens, and Genesis. I loved radio and early MTV.
To this day I have no idea how my dad got into Ian Dury. When I’d work in a record store years later, I’d covet much of anything on the Stiff label. I consider it an honor to have encountered this song and the entire record early on. When I started collecting vinyl in the early 2000s, this album was one of the first I included in my crates.
There are many fun songs on this release; clearly over my head lyrically when I discovered it. This track is a favorite and reminds me of innocent times when I’d catch a hint of something taboo.
This song is very good, indeed.
(Song recommendation by K Weber)