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The Stories Behind The Songs: Making Plans For Nigel

A politically charged song, it established XTC as the intelligent arm of the post-punk movement while also infiltrating the mainstream.

It might have had a powerful hook and a monumental groove, but Making Plans For Nigel was not an obvious chart contender. In fact, with its cavernous drums, jagged guitar riff and nagging melody it was like some mutant hybrid of dub reggae, post-punk and chirpy pop. And yet it became Swindon band XTC’s first Top 20 hit.

But it didn’t start off as a skanking nursery rhyme. When it was first presented to the others by bassist Colin Moulding, not the group’s regular writer, it was rather less shudderingly propulsive.

“It sounded like the Spinners,” laughs Andy Partridge, XTC’s chief songwriter. “When Colin brought it to us and played it on an acoustic guitar, he might as well have had a dress on and some horn-rimmed glasses like Nana Mouskouri.” 

The remastered version of Drums And Wires is out now on DGM/Panegryic


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