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XTC were an English rock band formed in Swindon in 1972. Fronted by songwriters Andy Partridge (guitars, vocals) and Colin Moulding (bass, vocals), the band gained popularity during the rise of punk and new wave in the 1970s, later playing in a variety of styles that ranged from angular guitar riffs to elaborately arranged pop. Partly because the group did not fit into contemporary trends, they achieved only sporadic commercial success in the UK and US, but attracted a considerable cult following. They have since been recognised for their influence on post-punk, Britpop and later power pop acts. Partridge and Moulding first met in the early 1970s and subsequently formed a glam outfit with drummer Terry Chambers. The band's name and line-up changed frequently, and it was not until 1975 that the band was known as XTC. In 1977, the group debuted on Virgin Records and, for the next five years, was noted for their energetic live performances. The players aspired to be "completely original" and refused to play conventional punk rock, instead synthesising influences from ska, 1960s pop, dub music and the avant-garde. The single "Making Plans for Nigel" (1979) marked their commercial breakthrough and heralded the reverberating drum sound associated with 1980s popular music. After 1982's English Settlement, the band stopped concert touring and became a studio-based project centred on Partridge, Moulding, and guitarist Dave Gregory. They continued to produce more progressive records, including the albums Skylarking (produced by Todd Rundgren, 1986), Oranges & Lemons (1989), Nonsuch (1992) and Apple Venus Volume 1 (1999). A spin-off group, the Dukes of Stratosphear, was invented as a one-off excursion into 1960s-style psychedelia, but as XTC's music evolved, the distinctions between the two bands lessened. Due to poor management, they never received a share of profits from record sales, of which there were millions, nor from touring revenue, forcing them into debt throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1993, they went on strike against Virgin, citing an unfair recording contract, and soon extricated themselves from the label.
Between 1979 and 1992, XTC had a total of 10 albums and 6 singles that reached the UK top 40, including "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)" (1980) and "Senses Working Overtime" (1982). In the US, "Mayor of Simpleton" (1989) was their highest-charting single, while "Dear God" (1986) was controversial for its anti-religious message. The group also inspired tribute bands, tribute albums, fan conventions, and fanzines across the UK, US and Japan. In 2006, Partridge announced that his creative partnership with Moulding had disintegrated, leaving XTC "in the past tense". Moulding and Chambers briefly reunited as the duo TC&I in the late 2010s. Partridge and Gregory remain musically active.
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