XTC were an English rock band formed in Swindon in 1972. Led by songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, their music ranged from tense, jerky riffs to lushly arranged, meticulous pop, emerging from the punk and new wave explosion of the late 1970s. The band failed to maintain popular success in the UK and US, partly because their music was generally out of step with the times. They nevertheless amassed a devoted cult following.
Under the name Star Park, the group began as a trio with drummer Terry Chambers, then changing their name to Helium Kidz. As the punk movement took off, they settled on the name XTC, debuting on Virgin Records in 1977. In 1982, the group stopped concert touring and became a studio-based project centred on Partridge, Moulding, and guitarist Dave Gregory with various session musicians. A spin-off group, the Dukes of Stratosphear, was invented as an outlet for the band's excursions into 1960s psychedelic music. For most of the 1990s, XTC were mired by record label difficulties. In 2006, the band ceased activity following the disintegration of Partridge and Moulding's musical partnership.
XTC's only records that placed within the UK top 20 were the singles "Making Plans for Nigel" (1979), "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)" (1980) and "Senses Working Overtime" (1982), as well as the albums Black Sea (1980) and English Settlement (1982). In the US, they're also known for the songs "Dear God" (1986) and "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" (1992), while "Mayor of Simpleton" (1989) was their only US single to chart.