In their early days XTC released a copious amount of singles, with this output appropriately corralled onto a handful of compilations situating the band as one of the more interesting acts produced in the late-‘70s UK. Amongst these songs were the three cuts that comprise their debut, ‘77’s “3D EP.” Many consider it as a strong but minor first effort in a scenario of future greatness, but investigating them apart from the group’s initial prolific tide provided this writer with the key that unlocked XTC’s substantial value.
By the time I became acquainted with them in the mid-‘80s, XTC was essentially a critics’ fave and one that was largely functioning as an album band. This was the era of Skylarking, and while “Dear God,” the b-side of that LP’s first single “Grass,” kicked up quite a bit of dust via MTV and even replaced “Mermaid Smiled” on the US version of the disc, in the US it only managed to land on a now defunct barometer of radio play named the Billboard Album Rock Chart, where it found modest success.
And on their home turf it barely even entered the Singles Chart, peaking at the severe back end at #99. This really is no surprise, since “Dear God” is a truly eloquent dispatch of religious disbelief, a song that likely would’ve caused their countryman Bertrand Russell to stand up and cheer had he only lived to hear it.