XTC at the Manor (1980)

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A documentary on the recording of the song "Towers of London" and a brief behind-the-scenes look at the making of the "Generals and Majors" video. Recorded at Richard Branson's mansion, August 1980.


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Title: XTC at the Manor (1980– )

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Credited cast:
Andy Partridge ...
Colin Moulding ...
Dave Gregory ...
Terry Chambers ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Steve Lillywhite ...
Himself (producer)
Richard Manwaring ...
Himself (engineer)
Tony Staveacre ...
Narrator (voice)


A documentary on the recording of the song "Towers of London" and a brief behind-the-scenes look at the making of the "Generals and Majors" video. Recorded at Richard Branson's mansion, August 1980.

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Release Date:

10 October 1980 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


The song that plays in the title sequence is "The Somnabulist". See more »


References The Monkees (1966) See more »


Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)
Written by Andy Partridge
Performed by Xtc (as XTC)
See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating look at XTC in their prime. A true rarity!
7 September 2005 | by (Bellerose, NY , USA) – See all my reviews

Although fans know that XTC are not actually recording the version presented here for release, but simply re-creating the actual process of achieving a sound in the studio - this is all in all pretty entertaining. So what do you get to see? Terry recording his single hi-hat parts to the backing track. Colin overdubbing a bass line to half a verse. Dave adding the acoustic guitar part to give the track a warmer feel. Andy adding his electric guitar to flesh out the track. Andy adding his vocal parts and a synthesizer wood block effect. Terry striking a fire extinguisher to get the desired anvil effect. Ollie Halsall and Brian Setzer at a garden party on The Manor estate. Richard Branson (who is quite the loony English eccentric) attempting to throw a bucket of water on the band as he sits on the roof. A seemingly stoned Andy talking about his influences. Colin drunk on a swing discussing his old bass tutor. Dave with shades on drinking beer and comparing his "rather old fashion" (his words) guitar style with Andy's. A very mellow Terry (also drinking beer) talks about the benefits of not taking drum lessons. Steve Lillywhite talks about getting a good "feel" as opposed to just making sure everything is in tune and in time. The filming of the "Generals & Majors" video involving go-cart racing and Richard Branson's neighbors dressed as old army types. A loose live-in-the-studio version on "Respectable Street" (in which Andy wears The English Beat shirt that Sting made famous in the "Don't Stand So Close To Me" video). A very cool opening sequence of shots while "The Somnabulist" plays. All in all this will be pretty uninteresting to anyone who does not love XTC or has no interest in Steve Lillywhite's/XTC's recording technique circa 1980. Interesting to see the influential XTC in their prime of their very (creatively) successful career.

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