1000 Umbrellas  Skylarking
The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead    Nonsuch
Chalkhills And Children Oranges & Lemons
Life Begins At The Hop  Drums And Wires
Living Through Another Cuba     Black Sea
Love On A Farmboy's Wages       Mummer
The Mayor Of Simpleton      Oranges & Lemons
No Language In Our Lungs        Black Sea
Senses Working Overtime English Settlement
Yacht Dance     English Settlement


XTC playlist



Contributor: Terry Newman

XTC have always been a hugely underrated band; maybe the occasional hit single has meant that their albums have not got the hearing that they deserve.

Starting off in the post-punk era their songs were very edgy and angular as was common at that time. Their songwriting progressed very rapidly and the arrangements were becoming more lush and orchestral.

A career high for me was Black Sea, packed with singles like Generals And Majors and Sgt. Rock, the highlight was the extraordinary Living Through Another Cuba which has a sound all of its own.

Andy Partridge’s stage fright meant that the band never performed live after 1982 and so they retreated into the studio where the sound became ever more ambitious. Throughout the 80s they came up with further great albums such as Mummer, Oranges And Lemons and Skylarking (produced by Todd Rundgren) and never failed to produce interesting and thoughtful music.

This is a selection of 10 songs that transmit an idea of their style and illustrate just how creative a band they were. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you XTC.



XTC books, sounds & more

Web resource dedicated to XTC

XTC biography (Apple Music)

Terry Newman’s other posts for this site include Butch Hancock, Jonathan Kelly, James McMurtry, Steely Dan. He lives in North Yorkshire and you can find him on Twitter @westburtonlad.

TopperPost #83


  1. Peter Viney
    Sep 30, 2013

    Funny, I rarely listen to the radio in the car, but Making Plans for Nigel has been on twice in a fortnight. I guess it’s gone up the Radio Two playlist, but I don’t think it “sounds like” XTC as I think of them … I actually started with The Dukes of Stratosphear. I’m surprised there’s nothing from ‘Apple Venus Volume 1’ or ‘Wasp Star – Apple Venus Volume 2’ as this pair of albums caused a resurgence of interest in XTC in 1999/2000 … I’d forgotten about them myself and let their CDs gather dust, but brought them back out after Apple Venus 1. Due to use in adverts, Stupidly Happy from ‘Wasp Star’ is probably their best-known song (along with Making Plans for Nigel!).

  2. Steve Swift
    Sep 30, 2013

    Nice work, I did a playlist for the Lost Record including side projects which I will try to dig out. Controversially (!) I don’t think any of yours would make my top 10 (that’s the beauty).
    Top 3 *might* be :-
    Earn Enough For Us (Skylarking)
    The Rhythm (Go 2)
    I’m The Man Who Murdered Love (Wasp Star)
    If you ask me tomorrow, however, it would probably be three entirely different.

  3. Nick Worrall
    Sep 30, 2013

    I’ve been listening almost exclusively (there’s always room for The Beach Boys) to XTC for the last three months since discovering them. My top ten would change every day as well and I doubt I’d agree with any of the choices above, yet I love those songs which tells you a lot. For me Andy’s songwriting is a revelation – the craft of songs like Humble Daisy and Wrapped In Grey blows me away – and they’re on the same album. I have to confess to preferring their ‘colour’ albums, from English Settlement onwards, to the early stuff but there are plenty of tracks of earlier albums that I love.
    Other absolute gems include Church of Women, Jump, Easter Theatre, Toys, Towers of London – and everything they did as The Dukes!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.