Dukes Of Stratosphear – Vanishing Girl ….Power Pop Friday

First time I heard this song I loved it. I hear a strong Hollies and Beatles influence in this. This XTC spinoff band was a great idea and should have gotten airplay here. This is by far my favorite power pop song I’ve feature on Fridays in the past 5 months.

This album was released on April Fools Day 1985 through Virgin Records. It was publicized as a long-lost collection of recordings by a late 1960s group. Under the name The Dukes of Stratosphear, XTC members Andy Partridge,  Colin Moulding, Dave Gregory, and and Dave’s brother Ian Gregory paid tribute to such acts as The Beatles, The Hollies, The Yardbirds, and The Beach Boys to name a few. They produced two albums: 1985’s album 25 O’Clock and 1987’s Psonic Psunspot.

Each musician adopted a pseudonym: “Sir John Johns” (Partridge) “Lord Cornelius Plum” (Dave), “The Red Curtain” (Colin Moulding) and “E.I.E.I. Owen” (Ian). The band dressed themselves in Paisley outfits for the sessions and lit scented candles.

Despite the great songs, the Dukes never made the charts.  In the UK, the records outsold XTC’s then current albums The Big Express (1984) and Skylarking (1986).

It’s possible that XTC would not have survived beyond the ’80s without this fun side-project according to former XTC guitar player David Gregory as tensions were high recording The Big Express and Skylarking.

David Gregory: That so many others found it amusing and entertaining simply adds to the joy we derived from its creation.

Andy Partridge talking to producer Steve Nye: “Ooh, I’m a bit funny about how this came out, Steve, because it sounds a bit Beatles-esque to me, and I don’t want people to think I’m copying the Beatles.” He said, “Who gives a fuck? That’s how you’ve written it—just do it!’ … I realised that I should not be ashamed about digging them up, and getting them wrong, and using them as my template. … from that moment onward, I started to recognise that those songwriters—the Ray Davieses, the Lennons and McCartneys, the Brian Wilsons—had gone into my head really deeply

Vanishing Girl

Someone’s knocking in the Distance
But I’m deaf and blind
She’s not expected home this evening
So I leave the world behind

for the Vanishing Girl
The Vanishing Girl
Yes she’d give you a twirl
But she vanishes from my world

So burn my letters and you’d better leave
Just one pint a day
The whole street’s talking about my
White shirts looking so grey

People gossip on the doorstep
Think they know the score
She’s giving him the runaround
The man from number four

Has a Vanishing Girl
a Vanishing Girl
Yes she’d give you a twirl
But she vanishes from my world

Yes the paint is peeling and my
Garden is overgrown
I got no enthusiasm to even answer the phone
When she’s here it makes up for the time she’s

not and it’s all forgotten
But when she goes I’m putting on the pose for
the Vanishing Girl



Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

26 thoughts on “Dukes Of Stratosphear – Vanishing Girl ….Power Pop Friday”

  1. I think 🤔 I need to copy and paste the comment of “I have never heard of this Max” 😝
    This is another post I’m learning something from.
    We’re live tonight talking to a new band called Suicide ⭐️! Hope u can watch if not on the rerun channel on YouTube lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL… hey you know XTC or heard of them anyway! Thanks Deke for giving it a chance. Hard to believe it wasn’t recorded in the 60s.

      Ok man….I think I can because I’m working from home again today.
      Thanks again Deke for listening.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve not heard this one, but like most XTC or XTC* stuff, it sounds good. I’ve heard about the Dukes for years, but never really understood why they used the pseudonym… you kind of explain it there somewhat… I figured, “Man, if you have trouble selling as XTC – which people have heard of – what sense does it make to disguise yourself even to your fans?” As many have noted, they were a vastly under-appreciated band.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny this outsold their own albums. I should have added more. Andy has said that XTC started slowly to incorporate the Dukes style into their own.
      The reasons they used the pseudonyms is because they didn’t want people to know…it was like a “found footage” of an unknown sixties band….
      The Wilburys would do the same thing a year later…I have to wonder now…if this was an inspiration.


    1. This song…I don’t know why but it reminds me of the La’s There She Goes a little. I really like this configuration they had and the idea behind it. They made it work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great song! Never heard of this side project but then again I’m not that familiar with XTC. Like you said funny they outsold the XTC albums

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christian I can’t stop listening to them…their other songs…again they made it sound like it was back then and their videos are strong 60s…

      You know…you do “Whats New” and I do “What old and new? lol”

      Liked by 1 person

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