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XTC - Senses Working Overtime 1982

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Published on Jan 16, 2011

Good quality video recorded live from Top Of The Pops 1982.
XTC were a New Wave band from Swindon, England, active between 1976 and 2005. The band enjoyed some chart success, including the UK hits "Making Plans for Nigel" (1979) and "Senses Working Overtime" (1982).

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, 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 Jonathan Perkins followed, replaced by Barry Andrews in 1976, and the band finally settled on a name: XTC.

n 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[3] because of its supposedly "lewd" reference 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 Sydney rock radio station 2JJ (now Triple-J) and the nationally broadcast weekly music TV show Countdown, which screened all of the band's early videos (beginning with their first Australian single release - "This Is Pop"); thanks to this interest, the group made two well-received tours there in 1979 and 1980.

Their second album Go 2, released later in 1978, featured a typewriter-text cover (designed by Hipgnosis) and early pressings were accompanied by a bonus disc Go +, a collection of dub mixes of songs from the album. Following its release, Barry Andrews left the group; the group initially sought a new keyboard player and Thomas Dolby was among those who auditioned) but they eventually selected guitarist and keyboardist Dave Gregory. Andrews went on to form Shriekback and also worked with Robert Fripp's League of Gentlemen.

Coinciding with Gregory's arrival, XTC scored their first charting single in the UK with "Life Begins at the Hop", which was also the first XTC single penned by Colin Moulding. The replacement of Andrews' keyboard playing with Gregory's 1960s-influenced guitar style steered the band on a path towards a more traditional rock sound; Gregory also contributed occasional keyboards (and later, string arrangements). Their third album Drums and Wires contained the band's first major hit single "Making Plans for Nigel" (another Moulding composition), which caused a minor controversy because of its lyrical reference to British Steel. Drums and Wires also marked their first sessions at London's Townhouse Studios. The studio was at the time much sought after for its highly reverberant "live" drum room, and it was greatly favoured by their producer Steve Lillywhite and his engineer Hugh Padgham, who were at that time also creating influential recordings with Peter Gabriel and Genesis. The Lillywhite-Padgham connection also led to Dave Gregory contributing to Gabriel's third solo Album.

The last major hit of XTC's touring phase was "Senses Working Overtime", the first single from their double album English Settlement (February 1982) and their first top 10 hit in the UK. At the peak of their popularity, the band embarked on a major tour, but Partridge suffered a mental breakdown on stage during one of the first concerts of the tour in Paris on 18 March 1982.

On 2 April 1982, a Friday night, XTC were scheduled to play at the Santa Monica Civic Theater in Santa Monica, California, but did not appear. The audience milled about the open festival floor for a long 45 minutes/hour after opening act Oingo Boingo departed the stage, and then finally it was announced that XTC would not take the stage due to the "illness" of one of the band members (later revealed as Andy Partridge's ongoing fight with stage fright in Chris Twomey's book XTC: Chalkhills and Children). XTC never played another tour date. (XTC would perform several acoustic sets for radio only in 1989.)

Newly remastered re-issues of several XTC albums are planned. Included will be re-worked previously unreleased tracks with contributions by Moulding.
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Comments • 35

Paulo Cezar
This song reminds me of very good times. My wedding, my sons... I surely love XTC, the most underrated band of all times. They surely stand side by side with Beatles, Clash, Smiths and LZ.
Vivalaleta Godfrey
I love how confident and comfortable Andy Partridge is in this video. This is such a wonderful song.
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paul chambers
One of the best songs of the 80s, it transcends pop. I heard this in a crowded pub over Christmas and the place erupted. Epic.
tim hedges
i love it because its a song that comes out of nothing and blossoms into such a melodic pool of music and swims around in its own beauty
3rd World Man
1982 was an AWESOME year! XTC's best (imho) "English Settlement" arrives from the UK along with Joe Jackson's amazing "Night and Day", while a sans-Steely Dan Donald Fagen drops jaws with the gorgeous "The Nightfly"! Those 3 albums alone saved the 1980's for me ;-)
Chris Herman
This is pop music of the gods.
matelot95
I drove past Swindon last week on the M4 and as I did,Jack FM played this on the radio. 
Larry Wilder
Brilliant and original English band in the mode of the Move, Kinks,Traffic, Beatles, Yardbirds and Zombies. Terrific pop songs with attitude, novel arrangements and really memorable lyrics. I saw them do their first London gig at the Greyhound pub in Fulham in the late 1970s, and after hearing them I knew they were going to be hugely popular. They have real raw energy and power, live. Andy P is one of the great eccentric but modest British songwriters, in my opinion. Consistently good throughout his entire career.
Paul Baker
great band
Glenn Wheatcroft
Classic
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