"Life Begins at the Hop" is a single by XTC released in 1979, reaching no. 44 on the U.K. singles chart, and it was included as a bonus track on re-releases of Drums and Wires. Their fifth single, it was the first indication of a change in their late-seventies sound from urgent post-punk to power pop. As their sound changed so too did their line-up as keyboardist Barry Andrews was replaced by second guitarist Dave Gregory prior to its recording. The song title references the 50s' rock 'n' roll classic "At The Hop"; indeed, the song itself carries a strong early rock 'n' roll influence.

It is also significant for being bassist Colin Moulding's first a-side composition for the group. With the single's Top Fifty placing it established his prominence within the group and even began a brief period where he was held in higher commercial esteem than XTC's more prolific leader Andy Partridge.

A promo video was shot featuring the band performing and dancing with women, and driving a cardboard car in front of a rotating set of city cutouts. Andy also "plays" a cardboard guitar, and during the guitar solo he little-by-little rips off the fretboard and neck.

The band also made 3 appearances on the English music show Top Of The Pops to lyp-synch this song.

A live version was released in 1998 on the Transistor Blast box set.

"Homo Safari", the b-side, was the first in Partridge's "Homo Safari Series", a six-part series of ambient, impressionistic instrumentals, considered to be some of his most experimental compositions.

Single tracklistingEdit

  1. A-side: "Life Begins at the Hop" (Colin Moulding) - 3:46
  2. B-Side: "No.1 Homo Safari" (Andy Partridge) - 2:14


I have learned there's a magical spot at the hop

Come with me to the church on the corner the hop

There's nuts and crisps and c-c-c-cola on tap

A good time had by the boys and girls at the hop

Tell me what do you say

Tell me what do you say

Life begins at the hop, boys and girls

Prepare yourself for the boys in the band at the hop

The cheap guitars, too young for the bars at the hop

We'll jive around, make fools of ourselves then stop

Back next week with another ridiculous tie knot

Tell me what do you say

Tell me what do you say

Life begins at the hop, boys and girls



XTC Life Begins At The Hop03:38

XTC Life Begins At The Hop

Promo video for "Life Begins at the Hop." Uploaded by YouTube user "maclen03."

Swindon Viewpoint TV - Flash Magazine - Life began at the Hop02:27

Swindon Viewpoint TV - Flash Magazine - Life began at the Hop

Flash Magazine / Life begins at the Hop 7" prize draw on Swindon Viewpoint TV

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