Dear God (XTC song)

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"Dear God"
XTC - Dear God.jpg
1987 A-sided reissue cover
Single by XTC
A-side "Grass"
Released 16 August 1986
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1986
Length 3:34
Label Virgin
Songwriter(s) Andy Partridge
Producer(s) Todd Rundgren
XTC singles chronology
"The Meeting Place"
(1987)
"Dear God"
(1986)
"You're a Good Man Albert Brown (Curse You Red Barrel)"
(1987)
Audio sample

"Dear God" is a song written by Andy Partridge of the English rock band XTC, released as the B-side to the single "Grass" from their 1986 album Skylarking. It was inspired by a series of books with the same title, seen by Partridge as exploitation of children. After college radio DJs across America picked up the song, Geffen Records recalled and repressed the album with the track included.[1]

The music video for "Dear God", one of the first to be directed by photographer Nick Brandt, received the 1987 Billboard Best Video award and was also nominated for three categories at the MTV Video Music Awards.[2] In 2009 the song was ranked at No. 62 on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.[3]

Background[edit]

"Dear God" did not appear on initial pressings of Skylarking, but was included as part of the album's original planned running order, which was sequenced by producer Todd Rundgren.[4] According to Partridge, the track had been left off the album because a Virgin Records executive was concerned about the album's length, and advised that the song may upset American audiences; "I reluctantly agreed because I thought I hadn't written a strong enough take on religion. I thought I'd kind of failed."[5] Rundgren had a different recollection, and said that Partridge demanded that the song be pulled because "He was afraid that there would be repercussions personally for him for taking on such a thorny subject. ... What a pussy. ... I called them and said, 'This is a mistake.'"[6] The first verse and closing line are sung by eight-year-old Jasmine Veillette, the daughter of a friend of Rundgren. In the video a boy lip-syncs her vocals.[7]

The song's anti-religious lyrics inspired some violent incidents. In Florida, a radio station received a bomb threat, and in New York, a student forced their school to play the song over its public-address system by holding a faculty member at knife-point.[8] Nonetheless, the commercial success of "Dear God" propelled Skylarking to sell more than 250,000 units, and it raised the band's profile among American college youth.[1]

Use in media[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Charts (1987) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[10] 99
US Billboard Album Rock Chart[11] 37

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ingham, Chris (March 1999). "XTC - 'Til Death Do Us Part". Mojo. 
  2. ^ Schabe, Patrick (5 May 2002). "XTC: A Coat of Many Cupboards". PopMatters. 
  3. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  4. ^ Lyng, Eoghan (January 20, 2018). "Great Aspirations: Colin Moulding Talks". WeAreCult. 
  5. ^ Litton, Dave (March 22, 2016). "Andy Partridge Calls Todd Rundgren 'Bitchy' for Remarks About 'Dear God'". Ultimate Classic Rock. 
  6. ^ DeRiso, Nick (March 22, 2016). "Todd Rundgren Reignites Feud With XTC Over 'Skylarking'". Ultimate Classic Rock. 
  7. ^ Doug (17 February 2008). "Andy Partridge interview". Rundgren Radio. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  8. ^ Montez, Roqua (May 1989). "Student's song causes scare". Chalkhills. 
  9. ^ "Sarah McLachlan - Celebrity Atheist List". Celebatheists.com. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  10. ^ "XTC | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2017-12-31. 
  11. ^ "XTC Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-12-31.