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Todd Rundgren

Crossover Prog

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Todd Rundgren Todd album cover
3.89 | 73 ratings | 6 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side one

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 (W.S. Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan) (3:32)

Side two

1. Drunken Blue Rooster (3:00)
2. The Last Ride (4:48)
3. Everybody's Going to Heaven/King Kong Reggae (6:38)

Side three

1. No 1. Lowest Common Denominator (5:12)
2. Useless Begging (3:40)
3. Sidewalk Cafe (2:15)
4. Izzat Love? (1:55)
5. Heavy Metal Kids (4:16)

Side four

1. In and Out the Chakras We Go (Formerly - Shaft Goes to Outer Space) (5:47)
2. Don't You Ever Learn? (6:04)
3. Sons of 1984 (4:34)

Total time 66:41


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Todd Rundgren / Guitar, Arranger, Vocals, Voices, Multi Instruments, Producer, Engineer
- Michael Brecker / Horn, Saxophone
- Randy Brecker / Trumpet, Horn, Saxophone
- Kevin Elliman / Percussion
- Kevin Ellman / Drums
- Bill Gelber / Bass
- Buffalo Gelber / Bass
- Wells Kelly / Drums
- Mark Moogy Klingman / Organ, Piano, Keyboards, Piano (Electric)
- John Miller / Bass
- Chris Parker / Drums
- Peter Ponzel / Sax (Soprano)
- Barry Rogers / Trombone
- Ralph Schuckett / Organ, Bass, Clavinet
- John Siegler / Bass, Cello

Releases information

Bearsville records K85501

Thanks to micky for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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TODD RUNDGREN Todd ratings distribution

(73 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

TODD RUNDGREN Todd reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Worlds of tomorrow, life without sorrow. Take it because it's yours, sons of 1984"

Less than a year after the magnificent "A wizard, A true star", Todd Rundgren returned with his second double LP release. If "Wizard.." had shown that Todd was looking to push the boundaries, including delving deeply into prog territories, "Todd" takes a further giant step along that path. Here we have a diverse selection of experimental music, ballads, melodic pop and a host of other style all blended into a fine package. While the album is not as crammed as previous offerings, the side lengths varying between 14 and 18 minutes, there is still well over an hour of top quality material. On the downside, the rather uninspired mug-shot on the sleeve must have put at least a few people off investigating!

The brief instrumental "How about a little fanfare" gets us off to the perfect start, with a burst of distorted speaking and off beat music. "I think you know" offers us a deceptively tasteful light ballad before merging into the experimental "The spark of life". By this time, Todd has discovered the full potential of the synthesiser which he proceeds to exploit on this appealing instrumental. The magnificent 2 minutes of "An Elpee's Worth of Toons" would have fitted right in on side one of "A wizard.." as would the equally brief "A dream goes on forever" which follows. In one of his more bizarre twists, Todd closes the first side with "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare", an odd cover of a Gilbert & Sullivan song from their opera "Lolanthe".

Side two of the album, which is the shortest at just over 14 minutes, contains just three tracks. "Drunken blue rooster" is an onomatopoeic instrumental along the lines of the Stranglers "Waltzinblack". "The last ride" reverts to the more traditional ballad style of Todd, his vocals being passionate against a sympathetic instrumental arrangement including some fine soprano sax. "Everybody's going to heaven/King Kong reggae" begins with a frantic drum laden instrumental burst with Todd eventually adding distorted vocals on top of the already saturated sound.

On side three, Todd moves into heavier areas with the distorted "No 1. Lowest Common Denominator". The song offers an indication of the way he would be thinking for the first Utopia album with screaming lead guitars against a pounding rhythm overlaid with phasing. "Useless begging" is based around a more orthodox pop ballad, but features a fun middle instrumental section. The track segues into the short instrumental "Sidewalk Café" which offers Rundgren the chance to play with his new toy again (i.e. the synthesiser). This in turn becomes the even shorter "Izzat Love?" a quick burst of commercial power pop. The side closes with "Heavy Metal Kids" where Todd gets even heavier hinting at the new wave style he would adopt on later Utopia releases.

"In and out the Chakras we go" which opens the final side, is an odd, unstructured instrumental which gives hints at the way he would go on the second side of his next album "Initiation". "Don't you ever learn" offers the perfect counterpoint, being a delicate piano/organ ballad. The album closes with one of Todd's superlative anthems, "Sons of 1984". The song, which was recorded live in New York and enhanced with overdubs from a San Francisco gig, includes the massed crowd singing on the choruses.

In all, another fine album from this true star. Whether this or the previous album is the more progressive is academic, as both find Todd at his experimental best.

The packaging included a fold out (6 times LP size) lyric sheet on the other side of which was a picture of Todd made up of the names of fans who had returned a postcard contained in the "Wizard" album.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars In my teenage days, there was a very special moment every Thursday.

It was the day of the publication of the best known TV magazine in Belgium. Télémoustique (still is today). What for would you ask me? Well, there were four to six pages dedicated to rock music: concert reviews, news and album reviews.

The reviewer at the time was probably the most powerful person in the rock industry in my country. A good review would mean good sales, and vice-versa. This man (Piero Kenroll) had a lot of influence.

His ratings didn't consist of stars but footprints. From one to five (very similar to PA). The first album reviewed with the maximum rating was this one. I have to say that I was quite perplexed since I had no clue at the time of release who was this "Todd". But my trust in the man was quite high (he introduced me to several excellent records, prog or not) that I decided to get this album.

I have to say that I wasn't really on the same level than Piero in terms of appreciation. To be complete, 1974 was my Genesis, Floyd and Yes years. This album was totally different and I remember that I didn't like it very much at the time.

There are some nice melodies here, which is Todd's trademark ("I Think You Know", "A Dream Goes On Forever") but some other parts from side one were quite bizarre to my ears ("How About A Little Fanfare" and "Lord Chancello?") which both open and close the first part of this very short double album.

Most of the good songs are on the conventional Todd's side: he excels in writing good rock ballads, and one of the best is certainly "The Last Ride". The melody works at the first listening and the sax play is just fantastic. The arrangements are superb (but this is another TM of course). Quite a good song for sure.

But the experimental and noisy "Everybody's going To Heaven?" doesn't correspond to this description. I understand that the goal was not to release another ballad album (he did it already earlier on), but this chaotic song was not easy to apprehend (and still isn't).

The beat is huge and the guitar solo is damned good. Some good jamming and performing style. But why was this second part added? "Kink Kong Reggae" is definitely a filler; but since this side was already the shortest one (it clocks at a mere fourteen minutes) it was difficult to make it even shorter I guess?

Another good track featured on this double album (which easily sits now on one CD) is "Lowest Common Denominator". It mixes heavy blues influence, powerful guitar and scary vocals. It sounds very different of the rest of "Todd" but this diversion into other territories is welcome.

The closest relation in terms of research on this album that comes to my mind is "10CC". This opinion is even stronger when you add the vocal harmonies and nice melodies available on "Todd". One of the most poignant one is "Useless Begging" but the short "Izzat Love?" fully corresponds to the description as well.

The third side almost finishes on the same heavy note that it started. Somewhat "Velvet Underground" oriented (guitar & vocals) which is not to dislike me. Excellent guitar and wild beat again. "Heavy Metal Kids" is a solid heavy rock track.

For this album, Todd was surrounded by a myriad of guest artists who certainly gave another angle to his music. I have always believed that it is more challenging to be part of a group instead of being alone on the commands. I think that this aspect was an important factor for this release.

The man offers yet another facet of his musical style with the disjointed "In And Out The Chakras?": space-rocking, crazy, unpredictable and weird but it works (at least for me). Be prepared for some adventure though?

After this wall of sounds, the delicate "Don't You Ever Learn" allows for tenderness again even the loose but soft middle instrumental section is not the best thing I've ever heard. The religious feel of the closing track isn't a big deal either.

This album would have scored four stars if several tracks would have been taken out to form a single album (even a long one, let's say fifty minutes). As such three stars corresponds more to my feel. Sorry Piero...

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Okay, I am just shocked that so few people here have reviewed this album. This album is one of the main reasons for Todd Rundgren's inclusion on this site. "Todd" was the follow up to "A Wizard, A True Star", and builds on the trippy music of that album, but has more consistency.

Todd mixes up all of the styles of music he was into at the time, making this a music lovers extravaganza. First, there's a few of those ballads he has always been known for. The most famous of these is A Dream Goes On Forever. I'd swear this song was inspired by Brian Wilson's "Pet Sounds" album. The rhythm in particular has a sound similar to I Just Wasn't Made For These Times.

There is also a few heavy rockers. Heavy Metal Kids is a great one, and became a concert favorite with Todd's solo band as well as Utopia. But the real fun comes from the experimental pieces. Right from the start, How About A Little Fanfare?, the album is a roller coaster ride of bizarre noises made into music and wild studio wizardry.

Plus, there's Todd best Gilbert & Sullivan selection, Lord Chancellor's Nightmare.

It's no surprise that Todd has chosen this album to honor with a new tour.

Latest members reviews

2 stars A Failed Experiment. Should also have been a single album. While Wizard saw Rundgren takes risks that paid off hugely, Todd largely falls flat. It is full of short synth instrumentals and experiments that only sometimes work, and which disrupt the flow of the real music so much that it is very di ... (read more)

Report this review (#1698214) | Posted by Walkscore | Friday, March 3, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Todd" is, in a word, kaleidoscopic. With wreckless, youthful abandon (and a dash of peyote and a pinch of ritalin), Rundgren careens from one genre to another with ease. This is IMHO his masterwork, from his most creative and prolific period. This is a sprawling, indulgent epic which time has ... (read more)

Report this review (#317020) | Posted by muddymouth | Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was the very first TR record I ever bought or heard all the way through. It made me an instant fan for life. 1974 was shaping up to be a bummer of a year for me already and it was only Feb. I had just seen an installment of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert with Todd as one of the main perform ... (read more)

Report this review (#282608) | Posted by ProgFrog57 | Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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