20 January 1978 – XTC release debut album

Swindon based XTC released their debut album White Music on 20 January 1978. The Virgin record release came just over six months after they had made two appearances at The Nag’s Head.  Their debut at the London Road venue came on 16 May 1977, with promoter Ron Watts bringing them back again on 6 June 1977.

White Music included classic pop singles ‘Radios in Motion’, ‘Statue of Liberty’ and ‘This is Pop’, plus their take on Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’. The album, recorded at The Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, was put to tape at the time of their Nag’s Head appearances and produced by John Leckie.

The XTC line-up for White Music was Andy Partridge (guitar and vocals), Colin Moulding (bass and vocals), Barry Andrews (keyboards and piano) and Terry Chambers (drums). That line-up would record follow-up album Go 2 in October 1978 before a change of personnel saw Barry Andrews depart – eventually opting not to replace him with another keyboard player and instead bring in second guitarist Dave Gregory.  XTC would go on to record the straight pop album Drums and Wires – recorded at Townhouse Studios in West London and produced by Steve Lilywhite after the band were apparently impressed with his work on Siouxsie and the Banshees debut The Scream.  The second single from the album, ‘Making Plans for Nigel’, would become a Top 20 UK hit just a few weeks after a May 1979 appearance at High Wycombe Town Hall.

For your listening and viewing pleasure

White Music – Full Album audio via YouTube

BBC Sight and Sound – March 1978

Live on French TV – Chorus 1978

14 January 1978 – Sex Pistols’ last ever gig

Less than two years after their infamous High Wycombe debut, The Sex Pistols took to the stage for what would be their last ever live appearance for the foreseeable future.

Their appearance at San Francisco’s, Winterland Ballroom on 14th January 1978 came at the end of an ill-fated debut mini tour of the USA.  The Pistols line-up at the time was Jonny Rotten (vocals), Steve Jones (guitar), Paul Cook (drums) and Sid Viscous (bass).  By the end of the evening, Rotten’s contempt for the situation was summed up by his farewell quote: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

The original UK punks had debuted in late 1975 and it was their appearance at High Wycombe College of Further Education on 20th February 1976, witnessed by local promoter Ron Watts, that proved the catalyst for Pistols Manager, Malcolm McClaren, to ask Watts for live gigs at London’s 100 Club.  After a ground-breaking residency at The Oxford Street venue, Watts, would bring the Pistols back to High Wycombe for an appearance at The Nag’s Head on 2nd September 1976.

Debut single Anarchy in the UK was released in November 1976, Bill Grundy wound them up on live TV in December 1976 and the rest is history (as they say). They have since become the most written about ‘punk’ band of all-time and the measure that all subsequent controversial bands have been judged.

Following the split-up, Johnny Rotten reverted back to his original name of John Lydon and later in 1978 formed Public Image Limited (PIL). Steve Jones and Paul Cook would form The Professionals, while Sid Viscous played one live concert as part of the Viscous White Kids (August 1978), before a heroin overdose in February 1979 would take his life.  Original Pistols bassist Glen Matlock (replaced by Viscous in February 1977) had already formed The Rich Kids by the time of the Winterland gig and his new band would play High Wycombe on two occasions in 1978.

The set-list for the Winterland gig was:

  1. God Save the Queen
  2. I Wanna Be Me
  3. Seventeen
  4. New York
  5. E.M.I.
  6. Belsen Was a Gas
  7. Bodies
  8. Holidays in the Sun
  9. Liar
  10. No Feelings
  11. Problems
  12. Pretty Vacant
  13. Anarchy in the U.K.
  14. No Fun

Watch the entire performance from Winterland: