Jazzer Zoot Sims born 1925, Charlie Daniels born 1936; on 10-27-73 Status Quo “Hello” LP was No. 1 in England; 10-28-78 XTC “Go 2” charts at No. 21 in England; 10-27-84 XTC “The Big Express” LP charts at No. 38 in England.
I was working in the record distributor (fall ’78) when XTC’s sophomore LP “Go 2” was released. If I recall correctly, it was packaged with a 12” single “Go +”, and a large poster of an XTC poster (for “White Music”) being placed over a bunch of UK 70’s teenybopper stuff (David Essex etc.) – the exporter, “Caroline Exports”, was an arm of Virgin Records, the releasing company.
So, I believe that “Go +” was an actual introduction to the mighty XTC! What speed do I play this at? How do I feel about this “new music” that’s walking down the pike? At that time, none of my peers had heard this band, so nobody to discuss them with – in a large warehouse of ‘music people’.
Indeed – “White Music” hadn’t made an impression on me. I saw it, but…didn’t listen, didn’t care. I was not automatically buying “anything” being released in England – there had been some real punk / new wave clunkers by that time! Not everything was as good as, say, Ultravox. Were they a “punk” band? They sounded like Roxy Music / K.C. to my ears…and Brian Eno produced their debut album!
So, XTC will be forever be mired in the abyss of “This is ‘new music’ – do I care?” It was so odd when, in only a few short years, they got sort-of popular in L.A., with “Life Begins At The Hop” or “Making Plans For Nigel”. At least by 1980, there was someone to discuss XTC with!
In keeping with the state of the music business of the day, I duly ordered and got a cassette of “Go 2”, with it’s different text on the cover, “This is a cassette..” etc. Working at the distributor, I found out about the “Guillotine” sampler, the “Hope & Anchor” 2LP sampler…when it came time to investigate XTC further, I merely ordered all of their 45’s from the exporter – by 1979, they all still came in picture sleeves! Alas, only ever got the 12” of “3DEP”, the 7” was sold out, apparently.
So, I did participate in ‘new wave’ music – at it’s nascent best. I bought and kept these records in my collection, likely to the amusement of other older record collectors that I knew, who couldn’t believe I would “fall for this junk”. I did always try to walk my own path, in this regard.
So, I will not argue with anybody about what their favorite XTC album is; I firmly believe it’s all in whatever you encounter first; what’s the album that made you a fan of any band? This is my favorite XTC album. When Barry Andrews left, I was pretty ‘bugged’ about it. Would XTC ever be the same? Well, yes and no. Would I ever be the same? Uh, no – thankfully.