Apples (album)

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Studio album by Ian Dury
Released EUOctober 1989
JP 10 February 1990
RE 31 October 2011
Recorded July 1989
Length 40:19
Label WEA
Producer Ian Horne, Ian Dury, Mick Gallagher
Ian Dury chronology
4,000 Weeks' Holiday
(1984)4,000 Weeks' Holiday1984
The Bus Driver's Prayer & Other Stories
(1992)The Bus Driver's Prayer & Other Stories1992
Singles from Apples
  1. "Apples/Byline Browne"
    Released: 16 October 1989
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [1]

Apples is a 1989 album by Ian Dury, it was the soundtrack to his short-lived stage-show of same name though it was recorded before the show opened, it contains twelve of the twenty tracks from the show. The album was reissued on 31 October by Edsel.

Stage show[edit]

Apples was a stage show written by Dury with music co-written by Blockheads member Mick Gallagher on the request of Max Stafford-Clark. The show opened for ten days of previews on 6 October 1989 and to the public 12 days later, all the shows were held at the Royal Court Theatre in London and were directed by Simon Curtis, who Dury had worked with previously in earlier stage work.

The show only lasted 10 weeks before closing and reviews were not favourable nor were they for the Album of same name. The most common complaint about the show was Dury's script. Gallagher echoed this sentiment in Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll: The Life of Ian Dury. The play was about Byline Brown, a journalist played by Dury himself investigating a corrupt minister Hugo Sinister.

In the original Ian Dury & The Kilburns version of Apples, the stall owner’s name is Baxter, and the dancer from Soho's name is Jemima, this was changed to Simpson and Delilah for the final version, Baxter and Jemima are the names of Ian Dury's eldest children.


Recording the album[edit]

WEA gave Dury and Gallagher £70,000 for recording costs. According to Gallagher in Song By Song, most of the recording was done for £25,000 with Ian Dury's vocals costing around £30,000 on their own. Dury was still drinking heavily at this time but following this session his behaviour would steadily improve. Recording took place at Liquidator and Westside Studios under the production of Ian Horne, who had been Dury's sound engineer on his Stiff Records releases Do It Yourself and Laughter. It was not made by the 'Apple Blossom Orchestra' that played on the stage shows (they were formed after the album's completion) though some players on the record were part of that band.

In addition to the show's leading lady Frances Ruffelle who sung vocals on "Looking For Harry", "Game On" and the humorous duet "Love Is All", Dury's long-time friend and former Stiff Records artist Wreckless Eric also appeared to perform nearly all of the vocals for "PC Honey"', a song reportedly inspired by a policewoman who came backstage after an argument between Dury and his then girlfriend while touring with The Music Students to promote 4,000 Weeks' Holiday, his previous album five years earlier. Much of the band Kokomo also appear on backing vocals.

The final line of the album's credits is 'remembering Pete Rush'. Pete Rush was Ian Dury's PA and minder for some years until he was forced to let him go because his antics were causing too many problems on tour. Rush had died before the album's recording. Dury would later write a song about him "The Ballad Of The Sulphate Strangler" which would eventually be included on the posthumous Ten More Turnips From The Tip album. Dury also mentions him in this album’s version of "England’s Glory".

Even though The Bus Driver's Prayer And Other Stories is named after the track, this is Dury's first recording of the song.

Critical reception[edit]

It is common for reviewers to unfavourably compare an artist's new work to their old, and this was the case with Apples with critics pointing out the songs were not as good as Dury's 'old stuff'. Ironically, two of the tracks, "Apples" and "England's Glory", were written over 13 years earlier while Dury was still in Kilburn & The Highroads. A studio recording of "Apples" (with slightly different lyrics) and a live version of "England's Glory" by Ian Dury & The Kilburns (the final phase of Dury's influential pub-rock outfit) are included on Edsel's re-issue of New Boots and Panties!!. When Dury was beginning work on Do it Yourself, the New Boots' follow up, his management begged him to revive old Kilburns numbers; Peter Jenner (one of his management) stated in Ian Dury & The Blockheads: Song By Song that "England's Glory" was a 'ait in the making'. Likewise "Byline Brown" had been written around 8 years before.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ian Dury and Mickey Gallagher, except where noted.
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Apples" Dury, Rod Melvin 4:18
2. "Love Is All"   4:34
3. "Byline Brown"   3:06
4. "Bit O' Kit" Dury 2:07
5. "Game On"   3:08
6. "Looking For Harry"   3:34
7. "England's Glory" Dury, Melvin 4:14
8. "Bus Driver's Prayer" Traditional, arranged and adapted by Ian Dury 0:56
9. "PC Honey"   3:21
10. "The Right People"   2:55
11. "All Those Who Say Okay"   3:51
12. "Riding The Outskirts Of Fantasy"   4:08


Additional Personnel


  • Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll: The Life Of Ian Dury by Richard Balls, first published 2000, Omnibus Press
  • Ian Dury & The Blockheads: Song By Song by Jim Drury, first published 2003, Sanctuary Publishing.
  • On My Life BBC2 Documentary first broadcast 25 September 1999


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Apples at AllMusic