|Studio album by|
|Venue||Wollman Rink, Central Park and Griffith Park, Los Angeles ("Sons of 1984")|
|Studio||Secret Sound Studio, New York City|
|Todd Rundgren chronology|
|Singles from Todd|
Todd is the fifth album and second double album by American musician Todd Rundgren, released in February 1974 on Bearsville Records. It is the follow-up to the previous year's A Wizard, a True Star and features a comparatively heavier reliance on guitar playing and synthesizers. About half of the tracks were performed by Rundgren alone, with the other half recorded with varying configurations of musicians. In the US, the album peaked at number 54, while lead single "A Dream Goes On Forever" reached number 69.
In March 1973, Rundgren's fourth album A Wizard, a True Star was released. 's sound and structure was heavily informed by his recent experiments in psychedelic drugs. Critical reception to Wizard was mixed, and according to Rundgren, the album was generally regarded as "professional suicide". In the weeks following the album's release, he produced the New York Dolls' self-titled debut album and Grand Funk Railroad's We're an American Band , which were among the most significant LPs of the year. Rundgren also prepared a technologically ambitious stage show with a new band, Utopia, his first official group since the Nazz. The tour began in April and was cancelled after only a couple weeks on the road.Recorded at his newly built Secret Sound Studios in Manhattan, Wizard
Once Rundgren was finished with his production duties, he began formulating plans for an improved configuration of Utopia, but first returned to Secret Sound to record the songs that became Todd, which was more material drawing on his hallucinogenic experiences.This time, he had also formed a fascination with religion and spirituality, reading works by authors such as Madame Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner, and Jiddu Krishnamurti that he found at an occult book store in Lower Manhattan. He said he "started to have a great curiosity about where that psychedelic experience fits into not just my own personal history but the larger history of people's quest for meaning."
Compared to Wizard, Todd is a more synthesizer-heavy affair, although it still employs Rundgren's usual selection of guitar, piano, and found sounds (including spoons).Its musical contents range from Gilbert and Sullivan-style show tunes to fusions of Philadelphia soul and progressive rock. Due to the recent success of the "Hello It's Me" single, Rundgren was primarily known as a writer of ballads. In March 1974, he penned an article for Phonograph Record in which he compared Todd to his previous work. He said: "Todd has the least number of ballads, I think, of all the albums I’ve done. It also has more guitar playing. It varies… I do what I feel inspired to do. If I don’t feel like playing that much rock ‘n roll, I don’t need another outlet — another band to play rock and roll." Further, he explained the concept of the record:
The whole record (Todd) is about states of consciousness. The Wizard album marked a beginning of new forms of communication — basing my musical ideas on responses other than just purely physical or material. In the Wizard album I was just discovering a different language. In the new album, it is more of a discourse in this new language — telling what I’ve discovered with this new attitude — that is, out of directing my attention to things other than material – to other states on consciousness. ... I did the Wizard album where the song ideas ranged from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. A further refinement of that idea is represented in Todd, and the refinement is that I’m breaking down all these barriers — removing the six spirals – just saying there are no limitations as to what is sung about or what the music sounds like, or how long it is… or whether it is even music at all.
Recording for the album lasted from July to August 1973. About half of the tracks were performed by Rundgren alone, with the other half recorded with varying configurations of musicians. It was envisioned as a single-disc album, but became a double album due to the unexpectedly large amount of material that was recorded.During the making of Todd, Rundgren took note of the "fusion jazz sensibility" between session musicians Kevin Ellman (drums) and John Siegler (bass). Rundgren chose them, along with Moogy Klingman and keyboardist Ralph Schuckett, to be the new configuration of Utopia. This line-up performed their first show at Central Park on August 25, 1973, sharing the bill with the Brecker Brothers and Hall & Oates. The purpose of this show was to record the track "Sons of 1984"; another show was carried out at Griffith Park in Los Angeles to accentuate the recording with overdubs. According to Rundgren: "We went in and taught the audience the lyrics and they sang it. I guess I was a little surprised that it really worked out. ... We were considering doing a whole record that way, as part of our touring show. Teach the audience a song, then record it, and you have a whole album’s worth of these songs from different cities."
Later, he commented of the album, ""my psychedelic adventures were more a part of a spiritual quest to have a greater understanding about the nature of things. As a result, Todd is naturally more orderly, but it also dealt with alternative concepts such as empathy to the point of telepathy. So, on 'I Think You Know,' it's also saying, 'I think at the same moment that you know,' which is the formula for telepathy."
Originally scheduled for release in December 1973, Todd was delayed to the next February due to a vinyl shortage caused by the 1973 oil crisis. 's release, and lasted until May. "A Dream Goes on Forever", a song originally written for Wizard but recorded for Todd, was issued as lead single.The sleeve included a list of names of fans that had sent back the postcard included within the sleeve of A Wizard, a True Star. Utopia played more shows throughout November and December, performing material from Something/Anything? and Wizard after a solo opening set by Rundgren on piano playing along to a pre-recorded track. These shows resumed in March 1974, in support of Todd
|Christgau's Record Guide||C|
Robert Christgau of Creem reviewed: "I've been giving Todd the benefit of the doubt, so now he has to bear a burden of suspicion. On sides one and four ... the useful moments are buried in a mess of electronic studio junk, and even though they manage to pick themselves up from the rubble on sides two and three, that ratio is both uneconomical and unecological. This may well have honest ambitions, which are welcome, but it's too bad they're so self-deluded." 's Wayne Robbins similarly felt that the record was too esoteric for most listeners, concluding, "I think through all the noise and the occasional overplayfulness in place of composition, Todd has basically found his tongue. ... He's created a Grand Bouffe for the ears, which is as creatively rewarding to some as it is repulsive to others."Writing in the NME , Nick Kent said, "On first hearing, the album is the most annoying creation I've encountered in an age — all unrelated electroid scribbling, punctuated by a series of songs that sag next to seemingly similar work on Something/Anything and, to a lesser extent the Wizard album." Creem
Reviewing the album for Zoo World, Jon Tiven wrote that "for those who claim that Todd's evolution since Something/Anything? has been one long and tedious descent, this critic suggests you give Todd many a listening before you pass judgement. It's an extremely complex and confounding album in terms of both structure and production, and although there may be an unnecessary surplus of wasted space, there's an awful lot of fine material to be found on it."Andrew Tyler, also from NME, felt that Todd was not as good as Wizard and explained, "In some ways Todd is as decisive and brainstorming as Wizard but it's fraught, almost evil ... as though Rundgren bummed out on the whole space celebration riff and wasn't sure what came next. Again we're out in the blue void, but this time you feel like your frozen with no way back."
Retrospectively, Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote for AllMusic: "These are some major additions to his catalog, but the experiments and the excesses are too tedious to make Todd a necessary listen for anyone but the devoted. But for those listeners, the gems make the rough riding worthwhile."Nicholas Olivier, writing in The Rough Guide to Rock (2003), was less favorable: "One of the dullest double albums ever made, it covered a Gilbert And Sullivan song alongside a 3000-strong chorus for 'Sons of 1984', and suggested our hero was taking himself far too seriously."
XTC guitarist Dave Gregory became a lifelong Rundgren fan after hearing "The Last Ride" on BBC Radio. As he remembered: "I loved the maverick spirit of the guy. ... He was talented enough to stick a finger up to the industry and say 'This is my record – take it or leave it.'""Izzat Love?" was prominently sampled in Neon Indian's "Deadbeat Summer" (2009), while both "The Spark of Life" and "A Dream Goes On Forever" were sampled in Charli XCX's "So Far Away" (2013). In 2000, Todd was voted number 1000 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums .
In 2010, Rundgren performed Todd and his 1981 album Healing live for the first time. A large video display and lasers were on display throughout the shows with Rundgren and the band dressed in psychedelic costumes.
|1.||"How About a Little Fanfare?"||1:03|
|2.||"I Think You Know"||3:04|
|3.||"The Spark of Life"||6:23|
|4.||"An Elpee's Worth of Toons"||2:09|
|5.||"A Dream Goes On Forever"||2:21|
|6.||"Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song"||3:32|
|7.||"Drunken Blue Rooster"||3:00|
|8.||"The Last Ride"||4:48|
|9.||"Everybody's Going to Heaven/King Kong Reggae"||6:38|
|10.||"No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator"||5:12|
|14.||"Heavy Metal Kids"||4:16|
|15.||"In and Out the Chakras We Go (Formerly: Shaft Goes to Outer Space)"||5:47|
|16.||"Don't You Ever Learn?"||6:04|
|17.||"Sons of 1984"||4:34|
|Canada RPM Album Chart[ citation needed ]||33|
|Billboard Pop Albums||54|
"A Dream Goes On Forever"
|Canada RPM Singles Chart[ citation needed ]||45|
|Billboard Hot 100||69|
Todd Harry Rundgren is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer who has performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia. He is known for his sophisticated and often unorthodox music, his occasionally lavish stage shows, and his later experiments with interactive art. He also produced music videos and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies, such as using the Internet as a means of music distribution in the late 1990s.
New York Dolls is the debut album by the American hard rock band New York Dolls. It was released on July 27, 1973, by Mercury Records. In the years leading up to the album, the Dolls had developed a local fanbase by playing regularly in lower Manhattan after forming in 1971. However, most music producers and record companies were reluctant to work with them because of their vulgarity and onstage fashion as well as homophobia in New York; the group later appeared in exaggerated drag on the album cover for shock value.
Bearsville Records was founded in 1970 by Albert Grossman. The label closed in 1984, two years before Grossman's death. Sally Grossman, Albert Grossman’s widow, was running Bearsville Records from 2010 until her death in March 2021, at the age of 81.
Something/Anything? is the third album by American musician Todd Rundgren, released in February 1972. It was Rundgren's first album released under his own name, following two records credited to the quasi-group project Runt, and was also his first double album. It was recorded in late 1971 in Los Angeles, New York City and Bearsville Studios, Woodstock. The album is divided into four sections focused on different stylistic themes; the first three parts were recorded in the studio with Rundgren playing all instruments and singing all vocals in addition to producing. The final quarter contained a number of tracks recorded live in the studio without any overdubs, save for a short snippet of archive recordings from the 1960s.
A Wizard, a True Star is the fourth studio album by American musician Todd Rundgren, released on March 2, 1973, by Bearsville Records. It marked a departure from his previous album, Something/Anything? (1972), with its lesser reliance on straightforward pop songs, a development he attributed to his experimentation with psychedelic drugs and his realization of "what music and sound were like in my internal environment, and how different that was from the music I had been making."
Hermit of Mink Hollow is the eighth album by American musician Todd Rundgren, released May 1978 on Bearsville Records. All of the instruments and vocals were performed solely by Rundgren. He intended the songs on the album to be performed on piano with minimal arrangements, apart from the bass, drums and voices, and for the material to showcase his newly refined singing ability.
Faithful is Todd Rundgren's seventh album, released in 1976.
Utopia was an American rock band formed in 1973 by Todd Rundgren. During its first three years, the group was a progressive rock band with a somewhat fluid membership known as Todd Rundgren's Utopia. Most of the members in this early incarnation also played on Rundgren's solo albums of the period up to 1975. By 1976, the group was known simply as Utopia and featured a stable quartet of Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Roger Powell and John "Willie" Wilcox. This version of the group gradually abandoned progressive rock for more straightforward rock and pop.
Skylarking is the ninth studio album by the English rock band XTC, released 27 October 1986 on Virgin Records. Produced by American musician Todd Rundgren, it is a loose concept album about a nonspecific cycle, such as a day, a year, the seasons, or a life. The title refers to a type of bird (skylark), as well as the Royal Navy term "skylarking", which means "fooling around". It became one of XTC's best-known albums and is generally regarded as their finest work.
Forever Now is the third studio album by English rock band the Psychedelic Furs. The 10-song album, including the hit single "Love My Way", was recorded in the spring of 1982 and released on 24 September of that year by Columbia/CBS. A 20th-anniversary reissue included six related bonus tracks.
Shinin' On is the eighth studio album by American rock band Grand Funk Railroad. The album was released in March 1974, by Capitol Records. Although not as successful as its predecessor, We're an American Band (1973), it peaked at #5 in the US and was certified gold, and its first single, a cover of "The Loco-Motion" topped the U.S. charts. The original cover was done in bi-visual 3-D and included the required blue and red lensed glasses to view it. A Quadraphonic mix of the album was available in the Quadraphonic 8-Track cartridge format. The title song was featured in The Simpsons' 7th season episode "Homerpalooza" on May 19, 1996.
Roger Powell is an American musician, programmer, and magazine columnist best known for his membership with the rock band Utopia.
Kasim Sulton is an American bass guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist. Best known for his work with Utopia, Sulton sang lead on 1980's "Set Me Free," Utopia's only top 40 hit in the United States. As a solo artist, Sulton hit the Canadian top 40 in 1982 with "Don't Break My Heart".
Ra is the second studio album and third release by Utopia on Bearsville Records, released in 1977. Band leader Todd Rundgren planned on releasing the LP in 1976 on his own label, Ethereal Records, as the new four-piece line up was not signed to Bearsville. Replete with an elaborate $250,000 stage show featuring a 22-foot-tall (6.7 m) pyramid and golden sphinx which took 18 months of prep, Ra was Rundgren's most ambitious live undertaking.
Todd Rundgren's Utopia is the debut album by the American rock band Utopia, released in October 1974 on Bearsville Records. The band was formed in 1973 by musician, songwriter, and producer Todd Rundgren who decided to expand his musical style by moving from pop-oriented rock towards progressive rock. He assembled a six-piece group that featured three keyboardists and toured as a live act. Most of the album was recorded in the studio except "Utopia", the opening track, which was recorded live in concert in 1974.
This article is a discography of American rock musician Todd Rundgren.
Mark "Moogy" Klingman was an American musician and songwriter. He was a founding member of Todd Rundgren's band, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, and later became a solo recording artist, bandleader and songwriter. He released two solo recordings, and his songs have been covered by artists as wide-ranging as Johnny Winter, Carly Simon, James Cotton, Thelma Houston, Eric Clapton, Barry Manilow and Guns N' Roses. He played on stage with Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Luther Vandross, Lou Reed, Jeff Beck and Allan Woody & Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule. Other than Rundgren, his longest musical association may have been with Bette Midler, whom he served as band leader and who adopted for her signature song "(You Gotta Have) Friends", composed by Klingman and William "Buzzy" Linhart.
"Hello It's Me" is a song written by American musician Todd Rundgren. It was the first song he wrote, and was recorded by his group Nazz as a slow ballad, released as the B-side of the band's first single, "Open My Eyes", in 1968. A mid-tempo version of "Hello It's Me", recorded for Rundgren's 1972 solo album Something/Anything?, was issued as a single in 1973, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"Love My Way" is a song by English band The Psychedelic Furs. It was released in July 1982 as the first single from their third studio album Forever Now. Written by the four members of the group and produced by Todd Rundgren, who also played marimba on the song, and featured backing vocals from Flo & Eddie The song reached the top 10 of the charts in New Zealand, top 30 in Australia and the top 50 in the United Kingdom and United States.
John "Willie" Wilcox is an American drummer, vocalist, producer, recording engineer, sound designer, composer, and senior audio director. He is best known for being a member of the band Utopia. He also has been the senior audio director for Bally Technologies and Scientific Games in Las Vegas, Nevada from 2010 to 2020.