XTC Reel by Real: XTC: Upsy Daisy Assortment (The Sweetest Hits)
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Upsy Daisy Assortment
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LOS ANGELES, [to be dated early to mid-June, 1997] - XTC has been cited as a key musical model for many of today's best-known modern rock groups. The reasons for this are amply displayed on Upsy Daisy Assortment (The Sweetest Hits) (Geffen Records), a collection of the most popular tracks from this legendary English band.

Boasting songs from the landmark records Skylarking (1986), Oranges and Lemons (1989) and Nonsuch (1992), Upsy Daisy Assortment is the first XTC album release of any sort in America in five years. Among the songs featured are the band's first hit and American debut, "Making Plans for Nigel"; "Generals & Majors"; the U.K. chart-climber "Senses Working Overtime"; the controversial "Dear God"; "The Mayor of Simpleton" (a No. 1 Modern Rock hit); "King for a Day"; and XTC's most recent No. 1, "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead."

XTC has not toured in more than a decade (singer-songwriter Andy Partridge's preference) nor released an album since the highly acclaimed Nonsuch, yet their status as one of the true pioneers of modern rock endures. "We're not everyone's idea of a rock star," bassist-singer-songwriter Colin Moulding gladly concedes, "but we cut our own furrow. This is just the way we are."

XTC was formed in the industrial town of Swindon, in north Wiltshire, England, where the band is still based. The original foursome of Partridge, Moulding, keyboardist Barry Andrews and drummer Terry Chambers took London by storm in 1977, during the height of the punk explosion. They claimed a diehard audience and impressed critics with the humor, intelligence and vitality underlying their innovative rhythms and melodic twists. In 1978 XTC's debut album, White Music - a classic of raw punk pop - charted in the U.K. Top 30. So did Go 2, released later that year. Both were only available in the United States as imports, however.

In 1979, Andrews left the band and was replaced by fellow Wiltshire native and guitarist Dave Gregory. XTC then released its U.K. breakthrough album, the highly influential Drums and Wires, which posted their first English Top 20 hit, "Making Plans for Nigel," and the nostalgic dance cut "Life Begins at the Hop." Drums and Wires was the band's first American album release. Their next record, Black Sea (1980), charted in the U.S. Top 50, spinning off "Generals & Majors" and the controversial, BBC-banned "Respectable Street."

Major changes, however, were in the offing. Following the acoustic-leaning double album English Settlement in 1982 - which brought the U.K. hit "Senses Working Overtime" as well as "Ball and Chain" and "No Thugs in Our House" - five years of grueling tours came to a halt. While onstage in Paris, Partridge collapsed due to ill health.

Shortly thereafter, XTC stopped touring for good, adding another chapter to their eccentric history. With the quartet now studio-bound, Chambers exited for Australia, reducing the band to a three-piece (since 1982, XTC has enlisted a new drummer for each project). The trio then departed its U.S. label in favor of Geffen Records, which released 1984's Mummer. That album saw the unveiling of "Love on a Farmboy's Wages" and "Funk Pop a Roll."

Geffen then re-issued an orgy of XTC - not only the compilation Waxworks: Some Singles 1977-1982, but the band's entire catalog to that point, on both LP and cassette. Later in 1984, XTC delivered yet another new studio album, the harder, bluesier The Big Express, from which came "This World Over" and "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her."

But it was 1986's Skylarking that finally earned XTC wide recognition in America. Ironically, the album's contentious "Dear God" - then the band's biggest hit, at No. 15 on Billboard's Rock Tracks - was initially a B-side to the single "Grass" and not included on the album (it was later added). Skylarking also introduced "Earn Enough for Us."

Thus the stage was set for Oranges and Lemons, which became the No. 1 alternative album of 1989. "The Mayor of Simpleton" (landing at No. 1 on Modern Rock charts and remaining there for five weeks) and "King for a Day" (reaching No. 11) signaled a high-water mark for the band's profile in the U.S. The success of the album (which also uncovered "Chalkhills and Children") even prompted Partridge to play with XTC in public for the first time in years, on television's "Late Night With David Letterman" and a series of acoustic radio broadcasts that helped usher in the "unplugged" era.

In spring 1991 Geffen re-released another handful of the band's albums - White Music, Go 2, Drums and Wires, Black Sea and Mummer - for the first time on CD, including bonus tracks not found on the original recordings. Also served up was Rag 'n' Bone Buffet, a compilation of off-the-wall tracks either never before released in the U.S. or never before issued on CD.

XTC's long-awaited next album of new material, Nonsuch (1992), reasserted the band's status as one of rock's most articulate social critics, with the wondrously biting "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" (which went to No. 1 at Modern Rock and was later covered by Canada's Crash Test Dummies) and "The Disappointed."

Nonsuch was the last new XTC studio album to reach American shores. Having finally extricated themselves from their contractual difficulties with their international label, Virgin Records, after what Partridge describes as "more-or-less going on strike for four years," XTC are in negotiations with several companies to release the albums they've produced in the interim.

Until then, fans can take solace in Upsy Daisy Assortment (The Sweetest Hits), released June 17, 1997, or revisit XTC's 12 Geffen CDs.

# # #

Lyrics, Charts and More

  1. Life Begins at the Hop (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  2. Making Plans for Nigel (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  3. Generals and Majors (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  4. Respectable Street (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  5. Senses Working Overtime (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  6. Ball and Chain (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  7. No Thugs in Our House (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  8. Love on a Farmboy's Wages (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  9. Funk Pop a Roll (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  10. This World Over (pics) (lyrics) (chords)
  11. Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  12. Grass (pics) (lyrics) (chords)
  13. Dear God (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  14. Earn Enough for Us (pics) (lyrics) (chords)
  15. The Mayor of Simpleton (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  16. King for a Day (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  17. Chalkhills and Children (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  18. The Disappointed (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)
  19. The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead (pics) (lyrics) (chords) (interview)

Recording Information

Released on 17 June 1997 in the U.S.A.

Andy: “It's a bit of a bizarre mixture. I think they bought a dart board at Geffen and wrote a load of our titles around it and just flung darts at the board.”


#\#i#/#Upsy Daisy Assortment#\#/i#/# front cover

Upsy Daisy Assortment front cover

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#\#i#/#Frülingsfahrten#\#/i#/#, by Donald Brun

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