XTC

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XTC were a New Wave[1] band from Swindon, England, active between 1976 and 2005. Though the band enjoyed some significant chart success, including the UK hits "Making Plans for Nigel" (1979) and "Senses Working Overtime" (1982), they are better known for their long-standing critical success than for making hit records.

Contents

History

Early years: 1972–1977

First coming together in 1972, the core duo of Andy Partridge (guitars & vocals) and Colin Moulding (bass & vocals) went through many band names (including The Helium Kidz and Star Park) over the next five years. As the Helium Kidz, they were featured in a small NME article as an up-and-coming band from Swindon. Drawing influence from the New York Dolls, particularly the "Jetboy" single,[2] and the emerging New York punk scene, they played glam rock with homemade costumes and slowly built up a following. Drummer Terry Chambers joined in 1973. Keyboard player Barry Andrews followed in 1976, and the band finally settled on a name: XTC. By this time, the punk rock movement was in full swing, and XTC had found their style, a unique brand of hyperactive pop mixed with funk, punk, ska, reggae, baroque pop, and art rock.

Touring years: 1977–1982

In 1977 XTC were signed by Virgin Records. They recorded the 3D - EP that summer, and followed it up with their debut LP White Music in January 1978. These and future XTC releases would find Andy Partridge writing and singing about two-thirds of the material, while Colin Moulding would write and sing approximately one-third. (White Music also featured a cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower", sung by Partridge.)

White Music received favourable reviews and entered the British top 40, but lead single "Statue of Liberty" was banned by the BBC for making allegedly lewd references to the famous statue ("in my fantasy I sail beneath your skirt"). The group also picked up a cult following in Australia thanks to the support of the nationally-broadcast music TV show Countdown, which screened all of the band's early videos (beginning with their first Australian single release - "This Is Pop") and the group made two well-received tours there in 1979 and 1980.

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