Oranges & Lemons (album)

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Oranges & Lemons
Studio album by XTC
Released 27 February 1989
Recorded 1988, Ocean Way Recording, Los Angeles, United States
Genre Pop rock, new wave, psychedelic rock
Length 60:50
Label Virgin Records
Producer Paul Fox
XTC chronology
Psonic Psunspot
Oranges & Lemons
Singles from Oranges & Lemons
  1. "The Mayor of Simpleton"
    Released: January 1989
  2. "King for a Day"
    Released: April 1989
  3. "The Loving"
    Released: August 1989
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[2]
Q 4/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[5]
The Village Voice B−[6]

Oranges & Lemons is the eleventh studio album by the English band XTC, released in 1989. The name of the album came from the old English nursery rhyme,[7] also referenced in the song "Ballet for a Rainy Day" on their previous album Skylarking.

The band was sent to Los Angeles to record the album, and Paul Fox was recruited for his first producing gig. The album was lushly produced with multiple overdubs on almost every track, yielding its psychedelic feel.


The album produced three singles, "The Mayor of Simpleton", "King for a Day", and "The Loving". "The Mayor of Simpleton" was a minor US hit (reaching No. 1 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No. 46 on the UK singles chart) and was the only XTC song ever to hit the US Hot 100 chart. It was accompanied by a music video, which resembled the opening credits of an Avengers-type TV show and saw significant airplay on MTV, especially on the alternative music show 120 Minutes. In addition, the Steely Dan-influenced "King for a Day" reached No. 10 on the US alternative / modern rock charts. The album itself was a commercial success, reaching No. 1 on the US college / alternative album chart, No. 44 on the US Billboard Top 200 chart, and No. 28 on the UK album chart.

To promote the album and appease the stage-shy Andy Partridge, the band went on a two-week acoustic radio-station tour of the US on which they performed a few songs from the album and a few medleys of earlier hits, as well as album reject "Blue Beret". The tour commenced on 15 May 1989 in Boston and ended on 31 May 1989 at Eastern Sound Studios in Toronto before a live studio audience of two hundred people.

The album cover, designed by Yellow Submarine artist Heinz Edelmann, is directly inspired by a 1965 WOR-FM 98.7 radio advert poster by Milton Glaser.[8]

The album was remixed for stereo and 5.1 surround sound from the original analogue tapes by Steven Wilson in 2015.[9]

Oranges & Lemons was XTC's second double album, after 1982's English Settlement.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Andy Partridge, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Garden of Earthly Delights"     5:02
2. "The Mayor of Simpleton"     3:58
3. "King for a Day"   Colin Moulding 3:35
4. "Here Comes President Kill Again"     3:33
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "The Loving"     4:11
6. "Poor Skeleton Steps Out"     3:27
7. "One of the Millions"   Moulding 4:42
8. "Scarecrow People"     4:12
Side three
No. Title Writer(s) Length
9. "Merely a Man"     3:26
10. "Cynical Days"   Moulding 3:17
11. "Across This Antheap"     4:49
Side four
No. Title Writer(s) Length
12. "Hold Me My Daddy"     3:47
13. "Pink Thing"     3:48
14. "Miniature Sun"     3:49
15. "Chalkhills and Children"     4:59

The album was also available as a limited edition 3-Mini CD box set (CDVT2581), with a slightly different running order (switching the positions of "Cynical Days" and "Across This Antheap"). A Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab gold-plated "Ultradisc" CD remaster (UDCD 682) was released in 1997.[10]

On the 2001 remastered CD edition, "Garden of Earthly Delights" is a new edit (removing the brief gap between the fade-in section and the first verse), "King for a Day" is an alternate mix (with more low-end information and an emphasised woodblock part), and "One of the Millions" has a shorter introduction (omitting the first two rings of the bell in the fade-in section).





Year Chart Position
1989 The Billboard 200 44 [11]
1989 The UK Top 40 28 [12]


Year Single Chart Position
1989 "King for a Day" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 38
1989 "King for a Day" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 11
1989 "The Mayor of Simpleton" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 15
1989 "The Mayor of Simpleton" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Oranges & Lemons – XTC". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Heim, Chris (16 March 1989). "XTC: Oranges and Lemons (Geffen)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  3. ^ Sandall, Robert. "XTC: Oranges & Lemons". Q. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Azerrad, Michael (23 March 1989). "XTC: Oranges & Lemons". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 890–92. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (25 July 1989). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Geffen press release
  8. ^ "Chalkhills: XTC: Oranges & Lemons". Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Chalkhills: XTC Discography (Albums)
  11. ^ "allmusic". Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  12. ^ "UK Top 40 Hit Database". Archived from the original on 19 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-10.