Every now and then, I forget that I’m running a community radio station and indulge myself by chatting to one of my musical heroes. XTC were the first band I really loved – I was only ten when their breakthrough hit Making Plans For Nigel was released as a single, but it had a major influence on the direction I took as a music fan.
The song was written and sung by Colin Moulding, one of the band’s two main singer/songwriters along with Andy Partridge. I spent a lot of my teenage years getting very well acquainted with their albums, including Drums and Wires, Black Sea and English Settlement. While they never had massive amounts of chart success – only one top ten single and album in the UK – they were a massive influence on bands both here and in the USA. Radiohead, Blur and Kurt Cobain from Nirvana were all big fans of their work.
The band split in 2006 and, musically, Colin has been very quiet since then, with rumours of him leaving the music business – but he has resurfaced with a new single, The Hardest Battle. In a music career stretching 49 years, it’s the first time he’s issued a solo single under his own name. It’s a great track, gentle but powerful and reminiscent of The Beach Boys and The Beatles.