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Andy Partridge Calls Todd Rundgren ‘Bitchy’ for Remarks About ‘Dear God’

Hulton Archive / Jesse Grant, Getty Images
Hulton Archive / Jesse Grant, Getty Images

Andy Partridge of XTC has fired back at Todd Rundgren for comments that were made about the decision to leave their controversial song “Dear God” off of their 1986 album Skylarking. Partridge called Rundgren “wrong” and, more colorfully, “bitchy.”

“TR is getting bitchy at me,” he tweeted, with a link to Ultimate Classic Rock’s story about Rundgren. “He is SO wrong, and misinformed {shall we say}. Everything he says is WRONG. Where to start?”

A good place to start is with the backstory. Earlier today, UCR ran an article about Rundgren’s recent appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. According to Rundgren, who produced Skylarking, Partridge “was afraid that there would be repercussions personally for him for taking on such a thorny subject. What a pussy. … I called them and said, ‘This is a mistake.’”

“Dear God” was pulled from Skylarking after the mastering had been completed and relegated to B-side status. But DJs preferred it to the single, “Grass,” and the flip became a hit for the college-radio favorites. Because of its success, “Dear God” was put back onto the album, and in fact, Skylarking gave XTC their best chart placement in the U.S. since 1982’s English Settlement.

Partridge continued to rebut Rundgren with a long series of tweets, breaking down the story point-by-point. He said the decision to remove “Dear God” was only partially due to its lyrics, and one spearheaded by the band’s label “After a meeting with Virgin in U.K.,” Partridge remembered, “they said album is too long, you’ll have to lose something. It was then suggested that the song DEAR GOD would upset the U.S. and that should be the one to go. I reluctantly agreed because I thought I hadn’t written a strong enough take on religion. I thought I’d kind of failed.”

Partridge also complained about the final mix. “True, we were ALL upset with the experience, not just specs here. We all thought the mix poor and thin, including Virgin. … There was no bass on it, no high tops,and the middle sounded muddy.At that point in time,neither he nor I knew that the tapes sent over had incorrect polarity?”

Despite the 30 years of bad blood between the two, Partridge nonetheless called Rundgren “a great arranger. Really talented, we were lucky to work with him.” But that’s where the niceties ended. “He is a mediocre engineer at best. As producer his ‘bedside manner’ is appalling. He was bullying, hectoring, divisive to the band, and if you think that’s sour grapes from me, just ask anyone else who has worked with him. I’ve met several and they all have the same stories. Ask Sparks, the Dolls, Meat Loaf and on and on.”

See Todd Rundgren in the Top 100 Rock Albums of the ’70s

Next: Top 10 XTC Songs

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