Mayor of Simpleton

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"Mayor of Simpleton"
The Mayor of Simpleton.jpg
Single by XTC
from the album Oranges & Lemons
B-side"One of the Millions"
ReleasedJanuary 1989
Format7", CD single
GenreJangle pop[1]
Songwriter(s)Andy Partridge
Producer(s)Paul Fox
XTC singles chronology
"You're a Good Man Albert Brown (Curse You Red Barrel)"
"Mayor of Simpleton"
"King for a Day"
Audio sample

"Mayor of Simpleton" is a song written by Andy Partridge of the English band XTC, released as the first single from their 1989 album Oranges & Lemons. The single reached No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart,[2] No. 1 on its Modern Rock chart,[3] and No. 15 on its Mainstream Rock chart,[4] becoming the band's best-performing single in the United States.[5]


The song began as a reggae tune and went through numerous different versions. Partridge settled on its final arrangement after discovering a C major to D major picking pattern that he thought resembled Blue Öyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (1976). Unlike many other XTC songs, he instructed a specific bass part to Colin Moulding: "Colin had to work very hard to get that bass line. It's very precise. It took me a long time to work it out, because I wanted to get into the J.S. Bach mode of each note being the perfect counterpoint to where the chords are and where the melody is. The bass is the third part in the puzzle." Its lyrics are sometimes criticised for its similarity to Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" (1960), but Partridge denied copying the song intentionally.[6]

Lyrically, the song describes a man who is looked down upon by his girlfriend's peers for being reportedly uneducated and non-intellectual, stating that despite this, he is devoted to her; one lyric from the chorus is "I may be the mayor of simpleton, but I know one thing and that's I love you."


Chart (1989) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[7] 89
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[8] 42
UK Singles Chart[9] 46
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[2] 72
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[3] 1
U.S. Billboard Album Rock Tracks[4] 15

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oranges & Lemons - Geffon". CMJ New Music Report. 164. 24 February 1989.
  2. ^ a b "Billboard > Artists / XTC > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  3. ^ a b "Billboard > Artists / XTC > Chart History > Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  4. ^ a b "Billboard > Artists / XTC > Chart History > Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned. "The Mayor of Simpleton". AllMusic.
  6. ^ Bernhardt, Todd (7 January 2007). "Andy discusses 'Mayor of Simpleton'". Chalkhills.
  7. ^ "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 12 September 2016". Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  8. ^ RPM Top Singles - April 17, 1989, p. 6 RPM magazine
  9. ^ "Official Charts > XTC". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2016-09-17.

External links[edit]