THE XTC SINGLES (Part 24)

You’ll hopefully remember that two weeks ago I mentioned that a b-side to Grass had later been released as a 45 in its own right.

mp3 : XTC – Dear God

Picking up a few bits’n’bobs from wiki and elsewhere, it would seem that Dear God was intended to be included on Skylarking but was left off as some folk at Virgin Records were concerned that the album was too long and that the song, being one which is critical of religion and christianity, would be too much for certain audiences, principally in America, and feared certain stores may have refused to stock the album. Seemingly, Andy Partridge went along with the idea as he felt it wasn’t quite a strong enough take on the subject matter.

Thus it was on the b-side to Grass; but then a number of DJs, principally across US College stations, began to pick up on the b-side and give it some airing and it began to climb the Billboard rock chart. It was subsequently added to later pressings of Skylarking, replacing the track Mermaid Smiled, and issued as a 45 here in the UK in June 1987, some nine months after its initial appearance as a b-side. It flopped despite being issued in 7″, 12″ and, for the first time for an XTC single, on CD (the latter brought together in one place all the Homo Safari recordings from earlier years)

Worth mentioning too that the first verse and closing line are sung by eight-year-old Jasmine Veillette, the daughter of a friend of Todd Rundgren.

The b-side has already been made available as an album track on Skylarking:-

mp3 : XTC – Big Day

The 12″ had a bonus track:-

mp3 : XTC – Another Satellite

It’s a different version of another song from Skylarking. It was recorded live for a BBC TV show – well liveish, in that the band put down a pre-recorded track with a drum machine and then sang over it.

JC

4 thoughts on “THE XTC SINGLES (Part 24)

  1. This is my favourite XTC track. Knocked me over first time I heard it, though that was some years after its initial release. I dunno, maybe it’s the atheist in me…

  2. To many if not most Americans, XTC are considered a “one hit wonder” to the extent they are considered at all. Dear God received a ton of college radio play at the time, and many thought it was the band’s debut despite it coming from their 9th LP. That drove me crazy a little as they had been one of my favorite bands for some time by then. As a song it’s fine, if a bit repetitive. Not the most subtle of messages. It’s understandable that Partridge didn’t put it on Skylarking and relegated it to a b-side. It has some beautiful guitar work, but all their songs have that. I guess if that’s what it took to get the band on the US musical map it’s worth something, but most of all it reminds me how criminally overlooked XTC were and are over here.

  3. I also shared the frustration of JTFL – people discovering a band I had loved since, and before the beginning of the decade and thinking they were new! Dear God is a good song. It finds Andy in fine “angry pop singer” mode. But mostly it allowed XTC to gain some sustained radio airplay in the US and kept singles in the Billboard Modern Rock chart for a few years and this kept the interest for Geffen alive for a few more albums.

  4. Another American echoing the above sentiments. Was strange to see the video on MTV for a while there too. Of all the singles that should have been hits over here, still tough to understand how this one broke through.

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