Flipping Over the Best B-Sides: “Dear God” by XTC

Consigned to a b-side, this became XTC's biggest song.
XTC Skylarking

“Dear God” was recorded during XTC’s “Skylarking” sessions, produced by Todd Rundgren. These were famously troubled sessions, with Andy Partridge who wrote the majority of XTC’s songs (although Colin Moulding penned their first big hit “Making Plans for Nigel” and many others after that), fighting with and resenting Rundgren tremendously, although years later he acknowledged that the songs produced sounded great.

Apparently, Partridge and the record companies were a bit hesitant about the reaction they’d get to “Dear God”, with its very direct anti-God and anti-religion lyrics, so they left it off the album and put it on the b-side of their single “Grass”. However, college record stations flipped the single over and discovered “Dear God”, giving it enough momentum that the record company re-pressed the album to include the song, removing the track “Mermaid Smile” to make room.

I think beyond the right-on message of the song, it’s musically compelling as well. But judge for yourself. Here’s the video they made for it, due to its popularity.

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