Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3"
Single by Ian Dury & The Blockheads
B-side"Common As Muck"
Released20 July 1979 (U.K.)
StudioEretcia Studios, Rome
Length4:43, 6:41 (12" version)
LabelStiff Records
Songwriter(s)Ian Dury / Chaz Jankel / Davey Payne
Producer(s)Chaz Jankel
Ian Dury & The Blockheads singles chronology
"Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick"
"Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3"
"I Want to Be Straight"
Music video
"Reasons To Be Cheerful, Pt. 3" (Official Lyrics Video) on YouTube

"Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3" is a song and single by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, initially released as the single "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3 / Common as Muck" issued on 20 July 1979 and reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart the following month.[2] It is the last single to be released by the band in their original line-up.


"Reasons to be Cheerful" was not recorded at The Workhouse, Old Kent Road with the material that made up the Do it Yourself album, but in Eretcia Studios (owned by RCA) in Rome during a break in a long European tour. According to its writer, Ian Dury, the song was inspired by a near-fatal accident involving a lighting roadie. Roadie Charley almost got electrocuted in Italy by a microphone stand while leaning over a mixing desk. Another roadie saved his life, hence 'no electric shocks' is included in the song's lyrics. The song was written in the band's hotel during the aftermath of this, and a fight at the venue was only narrowly averted when the band were forced to cancel the show because of the safety issues. Both it and the B-side "Common As Muck" were recorded in the break in the tour caused by the cancellation of the Italian shows.[3]

Dury said, "there were two songs that we didn't put on Do it Yourself that were even more miserable than the ones that we did put on it. So, it seemed sensible to cheer up a bit. In a way, it was inspired by the Sergeant Peppers sleeve... just a load of nice people. I write quite a lot of songs that are just lists."[4]

Saxophonist Davey Payne was upset about the financial disparities within Dury's band, so in order to placate him, Dury told co-writer Chaz Jankel to incorporate a sax solo part in the middle, which Payne could improvise and thus earn a share in the song.[5]


The song has been described as a 'shopping-list song'. It is a simple list of a number of reasons to be cheerful. In that respect it is almost identical to an older Ian Dury track, "England's Glory", a song that he had refused to revive when asked the previous year. The list of reasons to be cheerful includes:

The single's B-side, "Common as Muck", has a much more 'classic Dury' sound. An amusing number, written sometime before its A-side, it is a celebration of being 'common' working class). Like its A-side, it is filled with name checks of disparate celebrities, including Lionel Blair, Evonne Goolagong, Patience Strong, Jack Palance, Sydney Tafler, Fred Astaire, Shirley Abicair, Victor Hugo, Dirk Bogarde, Nellie Melba and Andrés Segovia. Nellie Dean refers to the well-known music hall song of that name, while Rodney Reigate is a purely fictitious character.

Re-releases and versions[edit]

As with "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" before it, "Reasons to be Cheerful" can now be found easily on every Ian Dury compilation to date. Like all of Ian Dury's singles, this was not originally the case because, in keeping with Ian Dury's singles policy at the time, the song was omitted from the next album (Laughter) and was not made available again. It first re-appeared on the compilation album Jukebox Dury two years later in 1981.

Demon Records chose, bizarrely, to add "Reasons to Be Cheerful" as the sole bonus track to its CD re-issue of Laughter. This was an unusual choice considering it has no relation to that album, which was recorded by another line-up of the band including former Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson, and that the song had already been included as a bonus track on their re-issue of Do It Yourself.

Edsel Records included "Reasons to be Cheerful" and also the extended mix of the song on its 2-Disc edition of Do It Yourself.[citation needed]


For the 12" version of the single, a longer remixed version of the track was released, this was later included as a bonus track for both Demon and Edsel Records CD re-issues of the Do it Yourself album

A live version of "Reasons to Cheerful" omitted from the original record, was added as a bonus track to the CD re-issue of Ian Dury and The Blockhead's Live Album Warts 'n' Audience it closes the band's set and features Ian Dury promising to make an album in the near future.

As the finale to Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe, The Blockheads played an adaptation called "Reasons to be Fearful '14", with Brooker providing alternative lyrics relating to the events of 2014.[8]

The song provides the title for the 2010[9] musical Reasons to be Cheerful by the Graeae Theatre Company.[10]


Similar to "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll", "Reasons to be Cheerful" can be found spelt various ways, including on some official Ian Dury records. Variations included "Reasons to be Cheerful Part 3", with no comma, "Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)", "Reasons to be Cheerful pt. 3", "Reasons to be Cheerful (Pt. 3)", and simply "Reasons to be Cheerful". The original single spells it "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3" on the label of the 7" pressing, "Reasons to be Cheerful, Pt. 3" on the label of the 12" but "Reasons to be Cheerful (Part Three)" on the cover of both pressings.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Ian Dury: Hit Me! The Best of Ian Dury – album review". 16 October 2020.
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 173. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ Balls, Richard (30 October 2014). Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story. Soundcheck Books. p. 187. ISBN 9780957570061 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ {{cite magazine| magazine= Smash Hits | title=a bit of grin and bear it|author=[[David Hepworth|date=9 August 1979}}
  5. ^ "Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3 by Ian Dury & the Blockheads Songfacts". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Brass Flute". Cockney Rhyming Slang. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Chokey". Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Charlie Brooker 2014 Wipe – Reasons To Be Fearful '14". YouTube. 30 December 2014. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Reasons to be Cheerful (2010 & 2012)".
  10. ^ "Graeae's cult hit musical to run for just a few performances in September...just one of the great 'Reasons to be Cheerful' at the Theatre this autumn | Derby Theatre".


External links[edit]