As mentioned last week, The Mayor of Simpleton, the first 45 lifted from the double-album Oranges and Lemons had taken XTC back into the UK Top 50 for the first time in almost six years and provided them with chart success in the USA.

Another excellent piece of radio-friendly pop was chosen as the next single in April 1989:_

mp3 : XTC – King For A Day

Given how often the Colin Moulding singles had hit payola in the past, it was something of a suprise and disappointment that this stalled outside the UK Top 75, albeit it fared better in the USA reaching #11 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.

There’s an interesting and witty observation from Andy Partridge about this song:-

This is one of the three songs Colin wrote for Oranges & Lemons. All of them are rather down and dark but put to jolly music, which makes them even more poignant. The song’s about ass-licking and making a fool of yourself just to get fame and riches and success. The song’s a commando knife, dark and cutting. That’s a guess at what it’s about but I have seen the files and photographed them with my bow-tie camera so it’s an educated guess.

It was released on 7″, 12″ and CD. The 7″ and 12″ came with this b-side:-

mp3 : XTC – Happy Families

Another song that was, in a sense, wasted as a b-side. It’s a clever number that makes nice and subtle digs at the rich, famous and privileged.

The 12″ mix of the single comes in at more than seven minutes in length.  If you’re a fan of Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears then it’s likely for you.  That song’s absence from this blog over the years will give a clue as to where I stand on it…’s a single I have in the cupboard having picked up a second-hand copy a while back but it’s never been played much.

mp3 : XTC – King For A Day (12″mix)

The CD had, just like a number of recent singles, two home demos as the extra songs to the 7″ and 12″ versions of the single-

mp3 : XTC – My Paint Heroes (home demo)
mp3 : XTC – Skeltons (home demo)

The first is by Andy and the second by Colin.


2 thoughts on “THE XTC SINGLES (Part 26)

  1. You are spot on JC, this is just a good, good pop song. If you listen to lyrics, you do hear the cynicism that runs through it. I love it for that. It’s also a really accomplished song musically. It plays with some psychedelia in a way that is just so wonderfully satisfying. I have to give props to Pat Mastelotto for some really wonderful drumming.

  2. Holy Toledo, what a great single! The shaped CD-3 package was duly purchased but so was the US Geffen CD-5 complete with 2 alternate remixes of the A-side. The Czar Mix and Versailles Mix. Remixed by Ivan Ivan – who would not be my first pick but there you are. Even more strangely, the B-sides there are “Toys” and “Desert Island” from… “Love On A Farmboy’s Wages??” Jeez. I have not listened to this in ages. Right now I can’t say whether the mixes are good, bad, or ugly. Mental note to self – pull that and play it!

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