Nonsuch, sometimes spelled "Nonsvch," is an album by XTC, released on April 27, 1992. In a 1992 MTV interview, Andy Partridge said that he had selected the name of the album after encountering a drawing of the castle and, thinking that the archaic word "Nonsuch" meant "does not exist" rather than, as he later learned, "unique". In addition, the album title may have derived from a couplet in the lyrics of the final song of Oranges and Lemons (their previous studio album) "Chalkhills and Children":

I'm skating over thin ice
while some nonesuch net holds me aloft
This lyric shows Partridge misunderstood the proper meaning of the word "Non(e)such" prior to the recording of Nonsuch.

The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. "The Disappointed" was nominated for an Ivor Novello award. The album reached No. 1 on the Rolling Stone College album chart and No. 97 on the Billboard album chart in the U.S.

The album produced three singles: "The Disappointed" (which reached No. 33 on the UK singles chart), "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" (which reached No. 71 on the UK singles chart) and "Wrapped In Grey" (which, when withdrawn by Virgin, prompted the band to go on strike).

Two promotional videos were made. A UK-only video for "The Disappointed" (the band also did a lip-sync performance of this song on Pebble Mill at One) and "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead," which received much airplay on MTV that summer.

The band performed "Books Are Burning" live with drummer Dave Mattacks on The Late Show on BBC-TV in April 1992.

The album cover is a picture of Nonsuch Palace in Surrey, from the book A Short History of Ewell and Nonsuch, by Cloudesley S. Willis.

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Andy Partridge, except where noted.
  1. "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" – 5:02
  2. "My Bird Performs" (Colin Moulding) – 3:51
  3. "Dear Madam Barnum" – 2:48
  4. "Humble Daisy" – 3:36
  5. "The Smartest Monkeys" (Moulding) – 4:18
  6. "The Disappointed" – 3:23
  7. "Holly Up on Poppy" – 3:04
  8. "Crocodile" – 3:56
  9. "Rook" – 3:47
  10. "Omnibus" – 3:20
  11. "That Wave" – 3:34
  12. "Then She Appeared" – 3:51
  13. "War Dance" (Moulding) – 3:22
  14. "Wrapped in Grey" – 3:46
  15. "The Ugly Underneath" – 3:50
  16. "Bungalow" (Moulding) – 2:49
  17. "Books Are Burning" – 4:52



  • Andy Partridge – vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica, tambourine, percussion, Shaker, keyboard programming, bell tree
  • Colin Moulding – vocals, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Dave Gregory – electric guitar, electric 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, synthesisers, Hammond organ, backing vocals, church bell
  • Dave Mattacks – drums, tambourine, drum & sitar samples, shaker, percussion

Additional musiciansEdit


String and brass arrangements by Dave Gregory, except "Rook" and "Omnibus" by Andy Partridge and "War Dance" by Colin Moulding. Strings on "The Disappointed" arranged by Andy Partridge and Dave Gregory.


  • The theme of the song 'Crocodile' and the images used may be a reference to the rock and roll hit 'See You Later Alligator', most famously recorded by Bill Haley & His Comets.



Year Chart Position
1992 The Billboard 200 97


Year Single Chart Position
1992 "Dear Madam Barnum" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 18
1992 "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1