THE XTC SINGLES (Part 5)

A few things worth noting.

This April 1979 release was the first A-side that was written by Colin Moulding.

It was the first song on which Dave Gregory played having come in as replacement guitarist for founder member Barry Andrews who had left after the release of Go2.

It was the first XTC single to make the charts, reaching #44.

mp3 : XTC – Life Begins At The Hop

It’s an autobiographical number, telling the story of the bass player’s teenage years where the highlight of his week was getting along to the dance that was held every Saturday night in a local church hall.

Funnily enough, although this isn’t an XTC song that I’m all that fond of, I too have great memories as a 14-16 year old going along with my mates from school to a local church hall for a weekly disco on Sunday evenings (7-10pm). Not too many of the songs I was listening to and subsequently buying would get played at the disco but it was something to do in a crowd in a safe environment and going along sort of helped to increase confidence around girls. Sort of.

My issue with the song is probably that it veered too much on the poppy side of things and didn’t feel nearly as worthy as the earlier flops. Still, it did raise their profile a bit further, including a debut appearance on Top of The Pops and helped pave the way for what would happen next.

The b-side was a very strange affair:-

mp3 : XTC – Homo Safari

It was the first of what proved eventually to be a series of six experimental instrumentals, composed by Andy Partridge, that would appear on singles over the coming years.

JC

7 thoughts on “THE XTC SINGLES (Part 5)

  1. The first of this series that I have been waiting for with bated breath!!

    Well JC, this song was massive for me! The guitar hook is undeniably infectious. Andy’s delivery is urgent and almost defiant. It rages like teen hormones.
    My birthday was 3 days after LIfe Begins At The Hop was released and on that day I went down to Metro Records, found the single, had the guy behind the counter play it and bought the clear vinyl sleeve with the record player printed on it and the 7″ disc in clear vinyl. It is a treasured record.

  2. Pop perfection. Moulding’s contributions to XTC as a writer, bassist and singer are unfairly unheralded. Definitely going to write and ICA about that, specifically!

  3. I always loved this song as I did the entire Drums and Wires LP. It is when XTC became a tighter unit. I was never much of a fan of Barry Andrews. Bringing in Dave Gregory was the best move they ever made. I always felt Andrews’ keyboards were a bit cheesy unlike what Jules Holland did with Squeeze.

  4. That Moulding-inspired ICA is really something. I do love the Andrews era, but Drums and Wires is a whole new stratosphere. Wonder why stratosphere popped into my head? Like JTFL, I’ll never understand why XTC weren’t a big deal over here.

  5. Blimey yeah – the clear vinyl 7″ in the clear vinyl sleeve with the artwork as an insert, I had that too. Loaned it to someone at school and it came back cracked – never again…

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