The Mayor of Simpleton

Composed by Andy Partridge

Song Review by

XTC's biggest American success, coming after the fluke controversy of "Dear God," "The Mayor of Simpleton" from Oranges & Lemons showed that even when creating something that a Stateside mainstream audience could enjoy, the band's core qualities hadn't changed at all. While in many ways it was one of the most conservative songs by the band yet -- the rhythm was pretty straightforward, the sonic feeling one of familiar Byrds-tinged folk-rock -- it was still a joyful, entertaining song that fit just as readily on radio and MTV as did Elvis Costello's "Veronica" from around the same time. Andy Partridge's winning lyric about a fellow who isn't too smart but still has a lot of love to offer is a fun little conceit, while his singing is some of his warmest yet. As was so often the case, he got in a new melody halfway through the song, as clear a band signature as anything. Funniest line in context -- the part about the narrator not being able to 'write a big hit song.'

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Oranges & Lemons 1989
Ape House Ltd. / EMI 3:58
Mayor of Simpleton [#1] 1989
Atlantic 3:56
Fossil Fuel: The XTC Singles 1977-1992 1996
EMI Music Distribution 3:57
Upsy Daisy Assortment 1997
Geffen 3:57
A Coat of Many Cupboards 2002
Caroline Distribution 2:47
Essential 2012
EMI / EMI Gold 3:58
K-Rocking in Pasadena
Turtle Records
blue highlight denotes editor's pick