Blockheads / Ian Dury

Billericay Dickie

Song Review by

Although he's most often classified as a pub rocker, at heart Ian Dury's music began in the British music hall. Nowhere is this more evident than on "Billericay Dickie," which is simply a comic patter song in the grand music hall tradition, enlived with a bit of Dury's usual endearing crassness. As written, the smutty couplets about women and alcohol might seem like dumb, low humor, but Dury sings them -- affecting an even broader Essex accent than usual -- with such glee and affection that it's all but impossible to be offended. The tune, led by Chaz Jankel's barrelhouse piano playing, is simple and a bit rough, like the character of whom Dury sings, and the pub-style singalong chorus (best heard on the outstanding live version on the 1978 Live Stiffs compilation) is perfectly in keeping with the song's cheerfully working-class ethos. "Billericay Dickie" may not be as well known as hits like "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" or "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick," but it remains a firm fan favorite.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Stiffs Live 1978
Various Artists
Diablo (UK) 3:32
Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll: The Best of Ian Dury and the Blockheads 1992 Rhino 4:19