Kilburn and the High Roads

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Kilburn & the High Roads
OriginLondon; Cambridge
GenresPub rock,[1] protopunk[2]
Years active1970 (1970)–1975 (1975)
LabelsDawn, Pye, Stiff, Cherry Red
Associated actsThe Blockheads, Ian Dury
Past membersIan Dury
Russell Hardy
Nick Cash (Keith Lucas)
Humphrey Ocean
Rod Melvin
David Rohoman
Ian Smith
Ted Speight
George Khan
Charlie Hart
Terry Day
Davey Payne
Charlie Sinclair
Chris Lucas

Kilburn and the High Roads were a British pub rock band formed by Ian Dury in 1970, and the first band formed by Dury. The band released one studio album in 1975 before disbanding the same year. AllMusic credits the band with being "an undeniable influence on punk and new wave".[1]


Dury formed Kilburn & the High Roads in 1970. The band consisted of Ian Dury as lead vocalist and lyricist, pianist Russell Hardy, guitarist Ted Speight (later replaced by Nick Cash), bassist Charlie Hart (later replaced by Humphrey Ocean), saxophonist George Khan (later replaced by Davey Payne) and drummer Chris Lucas (replaced by Terry Day and later by David Newton-Rohoman, who used crutches).[1] The band performed their first gig in 1971 and were regulars on the pub rock scene by 1973.[1] The Kilburns also supported The Who on their Quadrophenia tour of late 1973.

The band signed to Warner Bros. subsidiary Raft Records and recorded an album in 1974 - but it remained unreleased when the label was shut down.[1] The band were managed at this time by fashion entrepreneur Tommy Roberts, presaging acquaintance Malcolm McLaren's involvement with the Sex Pistols. Signing to Pye subsidiary Dawn Records, the band released debut single "Rough Kids" the same year and a second single and their re-recorded debut album Handsome in 1975 before disbanding soon afterwards.[1]

Dury then formed the short-lived Ian Dury and the Kilburns and later, with different personnel, new group Ian Dury and the Blockheads, initially releasing records under his own name alone. Dury's solo success led to the posthumous release of a second Kilburn and the High Roads album, Wotabunch! in 1977 (largely duplicating the first album but remixed from earlier demos), and later a compilation EP, The Best of Kilburn & the High Roads on Dury's next label Stiff Records, in 1983.[1]


Davey Payne followed Dury into the Blockheads. Nick Cash (real name Keith Lucas) went on to form punk band 999. Humphrey Ocean recorded a one-off single for Stiff Records in 1978,[3] written by Dury.

Suggs has credited Kilburn and the High Roads with being "a huge influence" on Madness.[4] Paul Simonon of The Clash has credited Dury as an influence on punk.[5] The Sex Pistols were inspired by Chris Thomas's production on the first Kilburns single to work with him;[6] it has also been suggested that John Lydon borrowed some of his early performance style from Dury[5][7] although the claim is rejected by Lydon.[8]


  • Ian Dury - lead vocal, percussion (also lyricist and songwriter)
  • Rod Melvin - piano/vocals (also songwriter)
  • Russell Hardy - piano (also songwriter)
  • Nick Cash (Keith Lucas) - lead guitar
  • Humphrey Ocean - bass
  • Charlie Hart - bass
  • Charley Sinclair - bass
  • Ian Smith - bass
  • Davey Payne - saxophone
  • George Khan - saxophone
  • Ted Speight - guitar
  • David Newton-Rohoman - drums
  • Terry Day - drums
  • Chris Lucas - drums
  • George Butler - drums


Studio albums[edit]

Album Title Label Recorded Released
Handsome Dawn Records
Pye Records
Cherry Red Records
1974 1975 (re-released 2016)
Wotabunch! Warner Bros. Records 1974 1977


Song Title Label Recorded Released
"Rough Kids"/"Billy Bentley" Dawn Records 1974 1974
"Crippled With Nerves"/"Huffety Puff" Dawn Records 1975 1975


Album Title Label Recorded Released
The Best of Kilburn & the High-Roads Stiff Records 1982 1983

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Kilburn & the High Roads - Biography & History". AllMusic.
  2. ^ E, Gaz. "Ian Dury-fronted KILBURN & THE HIGH-ROADS get 'Handsome' 2CD reissue treatment". Über Röck-Kick Ass Rock N Roll.
  3. ^ "Stiff - Humphrey Ocean And The Hardy Annuals".
  4. ^ Du Noyer, Paul. In the City: A Celebration of London Music, Random House, 2010, p200
  5. ^ a b O'Hagan, Sean (29 November 2009). "The life and times of Ian Dury - pop" – via
  6. ^ Birch, Will. Ian Dury: The Definitive Biography, Pan Macmillan, 2010, p137
  7. ^ "Ian Dury: Before The Blockheads when he fronted Kilburn and the High Roads". DangerousMinds. 30 August 2016.
  8. ^ " - interviews - Q Magazine, June 2002".