XTC were an English rock band formed in Swindon in 1972 and active until 2006. Led by songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, the band emerged from the late 1970s punk and new wave explosion, later playing in a variety of styles that ranged from angular guitar riffs to elaborately arranged pop. Although the band failed to maintain popular success in the UK and US, partly because they did not fit into contemporary trends, they nevertheless earned 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 in record label difficulties. The band ceased activity following the disintegration of Partridge and Moulding’s creative partnership.
XTC’s best-known album, Skylarking (1986), is generally regarded as their finest. Their 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 are also known for the songs "Dear God" (1986) and "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" (1992), while "Mayor of Simpleton" (1989) was their highest charting US single.