Initially inspired by the punk of New York Dolls, old friends Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding first started playing together in their home town of Swindon in the early 1970s. They copied the Dolls' glam style and went through various different styles, personnel and band names before settling on XTC with a line-up including Terry Chambers on drums and Barry Andrews on keyboards around 1976. Signed to Virgin, they released a well-received EP before their debut album White Music announced their arrival as a slightly quirky left-field pop alternative to the new wave of punk. It included a cover of Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower, while their single Statue Of Liberty ruffled a few feathers due to lyrics deemed "lewd" and was banned by the BBC. When keyboard player Barry Andrews left to join Shriekback following the release of their second album Go 2 in 1978, he was replaced by guitarist Dave Gregory in time for their first hit single Life Begins At The Hop. Their most famous hit Making Plans For Nigel appeared on their third album Drums And Wires, produced by Steve Lillywhite, after which Andy Partridge experimented on solo dub projects and Moulding and Chambers recorded together under the name The Colonel. They returned as XTC in 1980 with the album Black Sea (producing hit singles Sgt Rock and Generals & Majors), followed by the acclaimed double album English Settlement and their biggest UK hit, Senses Working Overtime. The band stopped touring due to lead singer Partridge's stage fright, resulting in the departure of drummer Terry Chambers, but their subsequent studio recordings included a folkier direction on their 1983 album Mummer, which included another significant hit, Love On A Farmboy's Wages. They then released material as the Dukes Of Stratosphear, recorded with Todd Rundgren and continued to operate through the 1990s until their career was halted for several years due to ongoing business and contractual disputes. Gregory departed in 2000, but interest in the band persisted with the release of various compilations and reissues and even a biographical book and they remain one of British music's most enigmatic outfits.

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Stations Featuring XTC

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