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Todd Rundgren

Crossover Prog

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Todd Rundgren Faithful album cover
3.02 | 53 ratings | 7 reviews | 2% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (3:13)
2. Good Vibrations (3:44)
3. Rain (3:18)
4. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) (3:27)
5. If 6 Was 9 (4:56)
6. Strawberry Fields Forever (3:54)
7. Black And White (4:44)
8. Love Of The Common Man (3:36)
9. When I Pray (2:59)
10. Cliché (4:02)
11. The Verb "to Love" (7:26)
12. Boogies (Hamburger Hell) (5:06)

Total time 50:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Todd Rundgren / guitar, vocals, all instruments (9), producer

- Roger Powell / trumpet, keyboardsm rhythm guitar (5)
- John Siegler / bass, cello
- John Wilcox / drums

Releases information

LP Bearsville ‎- BR6963 (1976, US)

CD Bearsville ‎- R2 70868 (1987, US)
CD Essential ‎- ESD CD 702 (1999, UK) Remastered

Thanks to micky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy TODD RUNDGREN Faithful Music

TODD RUNDGREN Faithful ratings distribution

(53 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(2%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (57%)
Collectors/fans only (19%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TODD RUNDGREN Faithful reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars Thanks to Todd's amazing skills at Engineering and Production, with 'Faithful', we have a side of 'faithful' cover versions, where Todd seems to impeccably replicate some 60's classics, from the likes of The Beach Boys' 'Good Vibrations' and the Yardbirds 'Happenings Ten Years Time Ago', to a couple of Beatles' tunes with 'Rain' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. This was all done in 1976, and, save for Rundgren's slightly nasally vocals, sound pretty much spot-on to the originals, but at the same time, have possibly aged better than the originals. The players on the album are his UTOPIA pals Roger Powell (Keys), John 'Willie' Wilcox (Drums) and John Siegler (Bass Guitar), all great talents on their respective instruments. The 2nd half of the album consists of a half-dozen Rundgren originals, ranging from Hard-Rockers (Black and White, Boogies (Hamburger Hell)) to touching ballads (Cliche, The Verb 'To Love'). This is more of an album of well performed songs, as opposed to an instrumental extravaganza, but the sheer quality of the execution, the disciplined playing and the song-writing is undeniably top-notch. 3.5 stars.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Spot the difference?

After the wonderful "Initiation" album, Todd continued to focus on his solo career, although the boundaries between that and his forthcoming work as Utopia were in retrospect becoming blurred. "Faithful" sees the players reduced to a tight quartet including future Utopians Roger Powell and John Wilcox.

As with the previous release, "Faithful" splits neatly into two halves on each side of the original LP. Unlike "Initiation" though, this is a far more conventional release, devoid of the experimentation, the excesses and the progression which characterised that album. "Faithful" sees Todd drawing things in significantly and reverting to the ballads and power pop of his early works.

Side one of the album is simultaneously stunningly impressive and oddly frustrating. Here we have cover versions of six songs all released in the mid 1960s. The problem is that the renditions are so "Faithful" to the originals as to be superfluous. There no attempt made to interpret the songs, or draw out some overlook characteristics in a bold new way, these might as well be the originals. There is no question that songs such as the Beach Boys "Good vibrations" and the Beatles "Strawberry Fields Forever" are modern day classics, but if we wish to hear them surely we will look to those artists for the definitive renditions.

Other selections are fine songs, including choices from Hendrix, The Yardbirds, another Beatles and Dylan, but they are less obvious choices in terms of their classic credentials. It may be churlish to criticise such a grouping of fine songs performed with great accomplishment, but the point of the exercise remains questionable even after all these years. Todd's later "Deface the music" project with Utopia showed how he was capable of taking such inspiration and creating something new from it.

The second side of the album however is a different story completely. Here we have six brand new songs from Todd in which restates his ability to write and perform classic pop rock and quasi-progressive numbers. The side opens with "Black and white" (an original Rundgren song, not a version of the standard), an up-tempo number with a thumping rhythm section and a great hook; "I'll believe it when I see it in black and white". The highlight of the track is the superb instrumental arrangement.

"Love of the common man" may again have a familiar sounding title, but is also an original. Here, Todd reverts to a pure pop style with acoustic guitar and a light melody. "When I pray" is a strange calypso like song; it does little for me but perhaps that is because of the quality of its peers. "Cliché" is an appealing piece of gentle pop with a pleasing melody. It is though "The verb 'To love'" which is the standout track here, and one of Todd's best ever compositions. This soulful examination of the trials and torments which have inspired songwriters since the day music itself was discovered, is a majestic piece of prog balladry. Todd delivers a wonderful vocal performance against an inspired harmonic arrangement as the song unfolds.

Had the album ended at this point, it would have concluded on a high. Todd adds one final song though, a shuffling boogie called (um) "Boogies (Hamburger Hell)". While this song is clearly intended as a bit of fun, its omission from the album would not have been to its detriment.

In all, a difficult album to assess. One the one hand, we have a selection of generally excellent new songs from Todd which see him reigning things in somewhat, and reverting to a simpler style. On the other, we have a selection of great songs by other people which sound so similar to the originals that it is simultaneously hard to criticise them but easy to dismiss them.

Footnote, In another apparent nod to the Beatles, the plain sleeve resembles that of "The white album".

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Half of covers with average interest (although well performed) and half of basic rock music sounds a bit short for this Todd album?

From side one, "Most Likely?" is probably the best song featured (but none are weak). Todd virtually sounds as Dylan when he sings. Pretty good indeed. Just as the Hendrix "If 6 was 9" and "Strwaberry Fields".

Side two opens on "Black & White" which is pure heavy rock track with little flavour if you would except the very good guitar work displayed. As he has used us before, Todd offers different musical genres on this album.

The next "Love of the Common Man" is a gentle and straight rock song: arrangements and vocals are perfect, the melody is subtle but the whole sounds a bit cheesy. The worse of this work being reached during the weak "When I Pray".

Let's be honest: this release has very little connection with prog music. It is not bad an album but I am desperately looking to one of his great rock ballad or inventive track. "Cliché" is certainly not one of them.

"The Verb To Love" could have been featured on "The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren". A fine and sentimental ballad which fully deserves its own merit when you are two I guess. But when alone, in front of your computer while reviewing it, the feeling is not the same if you understand what I mean?

Nothing really out of the world to grab from this "Faithful" I'm afraid. The best being the cover side.

Two stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars The "Faithful" in the title obviously refers to the faithful rendition of the covers songs on the first half of the album. Todd Rundgren, along with three members of Utopia, Roger Powell, John Siegler and Willie Wilcox, play some fine, but very close to the original versions of songs by The Yardbirds, The Beach Boys, The Beatles (twice), Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. The songs are good, but the really interesting stuff is on the second side.

If the entire album was made up of original material as good as the second half of this album, the rating would be much higher. Black And White is one of my favorites of Todd's hard rock songs. With lyrics put together from a bunch of cliches (despite there being another song on the album side called Cliche), this song is a rousing feast for the ears.

Love Of The Common Man is one of Todd's nice pop ballads. Filled with Rundgren's maximumist production, there is lots to hear in the mix. When I Pray a calypso styled song, while not bad, is the weakest track on the album. Cliche takes us back to interesting pop.

The Meaning Of The Verb "To Love" has to be Todd's finest slow ballad ever. A crowd pleasing song used in concerts for years to come, this piece turns into some great lounge music, thanks to excellent piano work by Powell. And Boogies (Hamburger Hell) ends the album with some great foot stomping music.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I bought this album, the day it came to the shelves in our local record store, I was as yet unaware of the songs that Todd chose to so "faithfully" reproduce. My naïveté might be understandable as my musical world had been limited to my mother's love for 60s folk and The Beatles, my father's lover for New Orleans jazz, Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66 and Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass, my brother's penchant for The Rolling Stones and 1970s hard rock, and my own fixation with AM Top 30 on CKLW (Motown R&B). Plus, Side One's reproductions were so precise, so spot on, that it was kind of a waste of time to listen to them when you could go to the originals. Side two had some listenable stuff from Todd and his steadfast line up of collaborators in Siegler, Powell, and Wilcox--most notably "Black and White" and "Love for the Common Man." In retrospect, the achievement of such pristine carbon copies of the covers on Side One is no small accomplishment; Todd should be lauded more for having done so. Thus the four star rating.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Side 2 OK, but a pointless 'concept' Side 1. The title of this album refers to the fact that Rundgren chose to record cover versions of some of his favourite rock songs, and to be as faithful to the originals as possible. This he does no side 1, with cover versions of the Beach Boys ("Good Vibrat ... (read more)

Report this review (#1698216) | Posted by Walkscore | Friday, March 3, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Todd Rundgrens FAITHFUL is a fine fine record. Side one is full of cover songs from some of the greatest artists of our time and each cover is done almost perfectly and faithful to the original... Some sound even better than their originals if you can believe that. Good Vibrations by the Beach ... (read more)

Report this review (#197418) | Posted by Valdez | Monday, January 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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