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Drums and Wires is the third studio album by the English band XTC, released on 17 August 1979. It reached No. 34 on the UK album chart, and No. 176 on the U.S. Billboard album charts. It contained the successful single "Making Plans for Nigel", which was released on 14 September 1979, and reached No. 17 on the UK singles chart. It also contained the original recording of "Ten Feet Tall", a re-recorded version of which was released in March 1980 in the U.S. only, as their first American single, designed to coincide with the band's first American tour. Certain versions of the album also include "Life Begins at the Hop", which was released on 27 April 1979, and reached No. 54 on the UK singles chart.

The album was rated #38 on Pitchfork Media's The Top Albums of the 1970s list.


 [hide*1 Track listing

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written and composed by Andy Partridge, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Making Plans for Nigel"   Colin Moulding 4:13
2. "Helicopter"   3:54
3. "Day In Day Out"   Moulding 3:08
4. "When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty"   3:20
5. "Ten Feet Tall"   Moulding 3:12
6. "Roads Girdle the Globe"   4:51
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Real by Reel"   3:46
8. "Millions"   5:57
9. "That is the Way"   Moulding 2:56
10. "Outside World"   2:40
11. "Scissor Man"   3:59
12. "Complicated Game"   4:53

The first 20,000 copies of the LP were bundled with a free 7" single, "Chain of Command" / "Limelight". The song "Life Begins at the Hop" (Moulding), released as a 7" single before the original LP's release, appears on some international versions of the album, either as an insertion or a substitution. All three songs were later included on CD reissues starting in 1989.

UK and Canadian vinyl editions came with an insert featuring lyrics to all the songs on Drums and Wires as well as XTC's previous albums, Go 2 and White Music, although it didn't list which album each song came from.

The 2001 reissue CD was digitally remastered by Ian Cooper at Metropolis Mastering.



  • Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Dave Gregory, Terry Chambers, Steve Warren, Hugh Padgham, Al Clark, Jumbo Van Reinen - Vernon Yard Male Voice Choir on "Roads Girdle the Globe"
  • Dick Cuthell - trumpet on "That is the Way"
  • Steve Lillywhite - producer
  • Hugh Padgham - engineer

Cover versions[edit]Edit

"Making Plans for Nigel" and "Scissor Man" have both been covered by Primus on their EPs Miscellaneous Debris and Rhinoplasty, respectively. "Making Plans for Nigel" has also been covered by Robbie Williams on his single Old Before I Die, by The Rembrandts on the tribute album A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs of XTC, by Nouvelle Vague on their self-titled debut album and by Burning Heads on their self-titled debut album. The Nigel character was later referenced by The Enemy in the 2009 song "Be Somebody".

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