Dear God
by XTC

Album: Skylarking (1986)


  • This was inspired by a series of books with the same title, which lead singer Andy Partridge saw as an exploitation of children. The song is essentially a letter to God asking about his existence.
  • The opening verse is sung by a friend's eight-year-old daughter, Jasmine Veillette, but was later lip-synched in the video by a young boy.
  • Originally released as a B-Side to the song "Grass," this was not included with the original pressing of Skylarking. After DJ's across America picked-up on the song, Geffen Records decided to replace the track "Mermaid Smiles" with "Dear God."
  • XTC has not toured in more than 15 years. They have done only a handful of radio station promotions, but performed this live during the 1986 CASBY award show (A Canadian Music awards show). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tom - Rochester, NY, for all above
  • Todd Rundgren produced the Skylarking album; he cites the experience as one of the most unpleasant of his career. According to Rundgren, Andy Partridge wanted to produce the album himself, but XTC's record company insisted on bringing in Todd. The process dragged on... and on. As Rundgren tells it, Partridge hated performing, so he would spend as much time in the studio as he could. Rundgren was a big XTC fan when he started the project, but says he couldn't listen to them after.
  • This was used in the 2012 movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller.
  • Partridge would eventually become an atheist, but explained he was "wrestling with the tail end of my belief" when he wrote this. He said in an interview with SFGate: "As a kid, I was really... I got myself worked into such a sweat over religion. I remember that, about the age of eight or nine, one afternoon I had visions in the sky of clouds parting, and there was God on His throne, surrounded by angels, talking to me and grinning at me. I mean, if I lived in a Catholic community, I could've milked that and made myself a fortune! But, no, I think it happened because I was in such a hysterical state about religion as a child, and about the existence of God and that sort of thing. Religion is a source of a lot of problems, and if there is a God, he would hate Christianity, he would hate Islam, he would hate Buddhism, he would hate everything that's done in His name, because nobody behaves in a way that you're supposed to behave."

Comments: 25

  • Trurh from HellPeople always having to stick up for God...
  • Timothy Priest from NashvilleI was an angry, rebellious young man when this song came out. Growing up in a Pentecostal church, I feared this thought process that doubted and insulted God. But as an adult who's seen tragedy, anger, loss, sadness all while I was praying to and trusting God, I think that we all have felt this at times. I cry now during the bridge. But if you think God has let you down...imagine how much we have failed Him.
  • Janeen Skokani from DearbornI love all you ppl below. You know I visited Egypt before. It's why I'm an atheist. You call this Godly? Why did your god abandon us? He left us to die. No kind God would do that to his ppl. Well, a god that doesn't exist might.
  • Dawn from UsaMy prayers of strength to stop being a victim for the writer of this song. The worlds/peoples/our problems that we should be praying for is the strength to overcome and grow from life's trials and tribulations so that we are not victims, but survivors.
  • Brian from Bangkok, TajikistanNot only does Andy P. have stagefright, he is a very bitter person and mentally ill.
  • Jess from Sydney, AustraliaI don't like this song. It plays around too much with emotions.
    'You're always letting us humans down. The wars you bring, the babes you drown..'
    I don't agree that IF there were a God, He wouldn't allow these things to happen..
    We live in a sinful world, with pain, suffering and wickedness - the world is polluted, but God knows that.
    It irritates me how we can accuse a 'God' who to some, doesn't even exist, for all the pain in the world, yet when it comes to the beauty..a baby is born, the sun rises, love, lives are spared.. who is responsible? It couldn't be a God who doesn't exist..
  • Nerissa from Hemet, CaOkay, we can all agree to disagree. What I got out of this WONDERFUL song was,what alot of us think, maybe there is a "god" and if he is so great why all the killing in his name, babies dying, diease and unhappiness?? I have read that book that so many pick and choose what they want to hear and use out of it. It in my opion is one of the great fiction novels out there.
  • Mickey Knox from Crowleyville, WvOkay now I can't decide which version I like better. Sarah McLachlan does a great job and her version was in an episode of House. XTC's version is pretty darn good too.
  • Joel from Lawrenceville, NjA cover of DEAR GOD was used on House, M.D. The cover is also on the House Orginial Soundtrack. The cover was done by Canadian singer Sarah McGlaughlin. At any rate I had not known until now that XTC had done the original.
  • Sixx from Vineland, Njarthur, what cheer, IA, and Nathan, Defiance, OH:
    In Binghampton, NY the then 18 year old Gary Pullis held the secretary of his school at knife point in the principal's office one morning and demanded that Dear God be played over the school's intercom system. He was later arrested and taken away for "psychiatric evaluation"
    It is a beautiful song. And I can identify with it completely. But knowing Andy felt the same way I have, and then making it know through this song may well have saved my life. It is all in how you feel it.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, Canadamadison, Moscow, Malaysia - "Now anyone who can sit down and say that there's nothing wrong with that song has problems."

    Problems? Depends on whether he lives in an oppressive society, like say, Malaysia, that clearly tortures and jails people for even daring to point out that the emperor has no clothes. You God-botherers can't prove your God exists, but certainly if you gain enough power, you can make people afraid to contradict your nonsense. BTW I am not an atheist. Just disgusted by religion.
  • Jack from Hollywood, CaIt is rare that you kind find people these days that have the courage to write lyrics that deal with doubt and despair as eloquently as Andy Partridge has in "Dear God". The funny part is when you question Gods existence; there are people that want to kill you. I guess some folks aren't paying attention to the "Good Book". By the way, I saw XTC in 1980. They were such an exceptionally wonderful live band. It's amazing to me the Andy had/has stage fright.
  • Phil from Atlanta, GaA major reason "Skylarking is such a magnificient album is because Too Rundgren produced it. The Album has such flow from one piece to the next. When you put great musicians together with a great musician/producer, you get music that transcends genres and generations.
  • Madison from Moscow, MalaysiaRob is right.

    "Dear God,
    hope you got the letter, and...
    I pray you can make it better down here.
    I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
    but all the people that you made in your image, see
    them starving on their feet 'cause they don't get
    enough to eat from God, I can't believe in you
    Dear God, sorry to disturb you, but... I feel that I should be heard
    loud and clear. We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
    and all the people that you made in your image, see them fighting
    in the street 'cause they can't make opinions meet about God,
    I can't believe in you
    Did you make disease, and the diamond blue? Did you make
    mankind after we made you? And the devil too!
    Dear God, don't know if you noticed, but... your name is on
    a lot of quotes in this book, and us crazy humans wrote it, you
    should take a look, and all the people that you made in your
    image still believing that junk is true. Well I know it ain't, and
    so do you, dear God, I can't believe in I don't believe in
    I won't believe in heaven and hell. No saints, no sinners, no
    devil as well. No pearly gates, no thorny crown. You're always
    letting us humans down. The wars you bring, the babes you
    drown. Those lost at sea and never found, and it's the same the
    whole world 'round. The hurt I see helps to compound that
    Father, Son and Holy Ghost is just somebody's unholy hoax,
    and if you're up there you'd perceive that my heart's here upon
    my sleeve. If there's one thing I don't believe in
    it's you... Dear God."

    Now anyone who can sit down and say that there's nothing wrong with that song has problems. It's clearly stating that they don't believe in God. Ya'll need to start paying attention to the lyrics.
  • Rob from London, United KingdomAndy Partridge is a militant atheist. It's amazing how people see what they want want to, no matter how clear the message is. For those who refuse to see the song for what it is and how it was meant, here is a quote from Andy about the song:

    "it [Dear God] failed in part, because it wasn't as caustic as I would've liked it to be. It should've been a nail in throat of the public, but instead some took it as a declaration of faith when I wanted to make it clear that I don't believe in God - and that even if there is a He or a She they have nothing to do with organized religion."

    Just watch the video for Dear God. Andy is attacking the massive twisted tree (religion) that people are desperately clinging to, which is exactly what he is doing in the lyrics. I really don't see how he could be any clearer.
  • Bloodaxe from Lincoln, NeIt's a message to God from Andy Partridge. He doesn't talk about "free will" like Isaac talks about, which is the basic apologetic Christian response to topics that questions Christian faith. That's the whole point of the song, Isaac, testing your FAITH.

    God allows horrible things to happen, and maybe he allows miracles to happen, our choice to decide which is which. In America, we chose to believe in GW Bush. Now we're suffering from it, more ways than one. GW Bush said he was a "Christian" and pandered to the religious right, and now, the fruit has come to bear. Jesus is King, when will we have a real ruler who follows His tenets? Dick Cheney and war in Iraq for oil? Profits? Big money? Corporate greed? Those are Christian positions? Any Christian who votes Republican because the think liberals are too "morally loose" buys into the argument that Jesus likes profits over immorality. Truth is, read your Bible. Jesus walked with sinners, whores, beggars, thieves, and tried to save them. So take that Christian message to heart, and then re-interpret this song. I'm an Anarchist Christian.
  • Sam from Lincoln, NeThe reason XTC hasn't toured in 15 years, aside from the fact that they broke up a few years ago, is that Andy Partridge suffers from stage fright and as a result the band had to stop touring. Fortunately, their records were still selling fairly well.
  • Peter from Huddersfield, EnglandSarah McLachlan's version is awesome.
    XTC are one of the most under-rated bands ever...Dear God possibly one of their best songs...Andy Partridge giving God some grief...great stuff.
  • Isaac from San Francisco, CaGod gives us free will. How we use it has resulted in the wars, poverty and other injustices that plague us. Want God to make it all instantly disappear ? Simple, give up the free will -- or use it in a holy way. But enough with the "I wanna do whatever but dodge the consequences and then blame the One Who gave me the free will." That's not just wrong, it's old.
  • Trev from Hamilton, OhThis song is like Andy Partrige writing a letter to Santa whom he doesn't believe in and asking him for toys anyway. Or does he?
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhI hope the Principal did the right thing, give the kid a detention.
  • Arthur from What Cheer, IaA kid in high school once held the principal up with a gun and demanded they play this song over the intercom. I never heard how well it went over.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InWow!!! All I can say is that XTC is the most under rated group to ever grace my ears. I was introduced to Skylarking in the early 90's and fell in love with their sound. "Dear God" is one of my all time favs by them, but the whole album is just musically fascinating. I have since then bought anything new they put out along with getting older copies of their music. I hear the reason they won't tour is because Andy has a fear of the stage. I'd love to see them in concert if they ever were to tour again. Maybe ,one day, they will be recognized for their accomplishments and influnce they have had on so many.
  • Ryan from Edmonton, CanadaThis song is so clever. i my self am a christian and everytime i listen to this song, it makes me think. its not taht he doesnt belive in god, its that he cant. yes god made everything. he made disease and yet he makes the most beautiful diamonds.
  • Raja from Austin, TxAndy Partridge writes a letter to someone that he does not believe in. We call this irony.
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