Oranges & Lemons is an album by XTC. The name of the album may have been taken from the lyrics to Skylarking's "Ballet for a Rainy Day," which in turn may have come from the old English nursery rhyme.

The band was sent to Los Angeles to record the album, and Paul Fox was retained to produce it. As it was his first producing job, Fox tried to be easy to work with. The album was lushly produced with multiple overdubs on almost every track, yielding the psychedelic feel. The album didn't meet with significant approval by XTC, but the band was under pressure to create a hit single and the label liked it, so they didn't argue much. As part of the promotional materials for the album, XTC produced a quasi-puppet show called The Road To Oranges And Lemons making fun of the entire history of the album, from a meeting with Virgin Records head Richard Branson through the initial meeting with a glad-handing Paul Fox, and the actual recording.

Album informationEdit

The album produced a minor hit, "The Mayor of Simpleton," the only XTC song ever to hit the US Hot 100 charts. The album was a commercial success, reaching the charts in both the US and UK. "The Mayor of Simpleton" video, which resembled the opening credits of a The Avengers-type TV show, also saw significant airplay on MTV, especially on the alternative music show "120 Minutes."

The album produced three hit singles: "The Mayor of Simpleton" - 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; "King for a Day," which reached No. 10 on the US alternative / modern rock charts; and "The Loving" which was released in August 1989 in the UK. The album reached No. 1 on the US college / alternative album chart, No. 44 on the US Billboard Top 100 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. The tour commenced on May 15, 1989 in Boston, Massachusetts and ended May 31, 1989 at Eastern Sound Studios in Toronto, Ontario before a live studio audience of two hundred people.

Also of note: "King For a Day," which the band performed on Late Night With David Letterman on June 30, 1989; "Pink Thing," which was a classic XTC double-entendre; "Chalkhills and Children," which lead singer Andy Partridge considers one of his favorite compositions.

The album cover is directly inspired by a 1965 WOR-FM 98.7 radio advert poster by Milton Glaser.

The British edition of the Oranges and Lemons album was available as a limited edition 3 MiniCD box set (CDVT2581).

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Andy Partridge, except where noted.
  1. "Garden of Earthly Delights" – 5:03
  2. "The Mayor of Simpleton" – 3:58
  3. "King for a Day" (Colin Moulding) – 3:37
  4. "Here Comes President Kill Again" – 3:35
  5. "The Loving" – 4:11
  6. "Poor Skeleton Steps Out" – 3:34
  7. "One of the Millions" (Moulding) – 4:35
  8. "Scarecrow People" – 4:13
  9. "Merely a Man" – 3:27
  10. "Cynical Days" (Moulding) – 3:17
  11. "Across This Antheap" – 4:51
  12. "Hold Me My Daddy" – 3:47
  13. "Pink Thing" – 3:48
  14. "Miniature Sun" – 3:57
  15. "Chalkhills and Children" – 4:56


Additional personnelEdit



Year Chart Position
1989 The Billboard 200 44 [1]
1989 The UK Top 40 28 [2]


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

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