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XTC explores the world of religion with ‘Dear God’

The unlikely hit was naturally controversial even in the '80s.
Published Nov. 13, 2017

Today we begin a special "Lost and Found" week here at Stuck in the '80s, while our normal writers back in the sun at 80s in the Sand. Thanks to our Twin Cities correspondent Dr. Dim for his work!

It's not much of a secret that my musical tastes tend toward songs that don't get played on the radio. It is the basis of this Never Found in the 80s series, after all. I was asked to do another week's worth of Never Founds and since my birthday takes place during this week, I thought I'd indulge myself and focus on one of my all-time favorite bands: XTC.

This band out of Swindon, England has been featured previously as a Never Found and as part of Kevin Wuench's prolific Lost & Found series. But, I still think they have been criminally overlooked by the American listening public, so let's give the lads a whole week, shall we?

We'll start with the song that can be considered their one hit in America (it reached 37 on the US Billboard Album Rock Chart) – Dear God. The song was written by Andy Partridge and recorded for their masterpiece 1987 album Skylarking. The recording sessions for that album were quite cantankerous as Partridge and producer Todd Rundgren clashed over creative differences. However, those clashes yielded XTC's greatest album, which was initially released without today's song. Dear God started life as a B-side.

Click here to watch the video

Partridge was not happy with his lyrics. He thought God, or the non-existence of God, too big a topic to be handled in three and a half minutes. So, it was placed on the flip side of Grass, the first single release from Skylarking. American DJs noticed this atheistic anthem and began to give it some airplay. It became popular enough a video was made and the album was repressed with the excellent song Mermaid Smiled bumped to make room for this minor hit.

Fun fact: The vocals of the boy (in the video) singing the intro of the song were provided by Jasmine Veillette, the 8-year-old daughter a friend of Rundgren's.

– Jim "Dr. Dim" Fitzsimons


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