Monday, August 30, 2010


How did Todd Rundgren follow the mainstream success of his Something/Anything? album in 1973? With a curious psychedelic freakout exercise he titled A Wizard A True Star, which is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest albums in the history of rock!

Into this 55-minute long LP (which pushed the boundaries of the vinyl format), Rundgren poured every ounce of his artistry, creativity and humor to produce a memorable sonic buffet that delivered every possible genre and style of the times.

For most of the first half of this surreal album (side A, in the old days), the songs blended into a suite in the fashion of Abbey Road's famous second half. And so broadway ballads collided with proto punk rages, experimental sound collages melted into pure pop ditties and elegant waltz pieces sat next to bizarre instrumentals.

All told, Rundgren squeezed 12 tracks into side A, bookended by International Feel and Le Feel Internationale (slightly varying versions of the same song) - from which I "borrowed" my signature "... still there's more ..." motif. Sheer genius!

Side B is a tad more conventional, setting out his trademarked Laura Nyro-channeling soul-inflected numbers, with an almost incongruously straight medley of classic soul hits viz. I'm So Proud/Ooh Baby Baby/La La Means I Love You, then collapsing into a couple of quirky pieces before finally resolving with the anthemic Just One Victory.

The concept of the album is probably dead but back in the 70s, it made perfect sense and pop masters like Todd Rundgren exploited the format to its fullest and music lovers are all the better for that!

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