Well, the man in question was Todd Rundgren, the year was 1974, and he was appearing on the record racks with his fifth LP (elpee?) simply entitled Todd. The name was the only simple aspect of the album, however! Though Rundgren was, in fact, making a living as a prolific songwriter, artist, arranger and producer, the restlessly creative polymath wasn’t taking things easy. Todd was a mélange of the many eclectic influences that informed Rundgren’s past efforts, including but not limited to Philadelphia soul, Laura Nyro-esque piano balladry, British Invasion rock, operetta and far-out synthesizer journeys. The self-referential “An Elpee’s Worth of Toons” (“I can see the write-ups now/The multitudes are crying for an elpee's worth of toons/A man would simply have to be as mad as a hatter/To try to change the world with a plastic platter!”) was just one of the doggedly personal songs on the lengthy album, which took the sprawling variety of 1972 breakthrough Something/Anything (including the perennial pop smashes “Hello, It’s Me” and “I Saw the Light”) to an even more intense, avant garde level.
In recent years, Rundgren has been open to revisiting his past both onstage and on record, while continuing to create new music in various genres, from blues to arena rock to dance pop (!). So successful were Rundgren's live performances of his 1973 opus A Wizard, A True Star that he subsequently performed a double bill of two more classics: Todd and Healing. A Wizard was the predecessor to Todd, and introduced the same blend of beautifully-crafted songs and outré experiments and song fragments that the artist would explore further on Todd. RockBeat Records has announced that Rundgren’s performances of both Todd and Healing will arrive on CD and DVD, kicking off with the February 14, 2012 release of Todd in concert.
Hit the jump for more details!
The live concert was recorded on September 14, 2010 in Rundgren’s home town of Philadelphia at the Keswick Theater. S’More Entertainment will handle the DVD release while its sister label Rockbeat Records will release the live audio CD. For the concert Rundgren was joined by a band including Utopia’s Kasim Sulton (bass), The Cars’ Greg Hawkes (keyboards), The Tubes’ Prairie Prince (drums), Guitar Player Magazine’s editor Jesse Gress (guitar), Bobby Strickland (sax) and a full choir. The DVD includes an onstage conversation between Rundgren and Emmy Award-winning television personality and sportscaster Roy Firestone.
Longtime Rundgren aficionados were rewarded by his revved-up takes on all of the classics on the packed Todd album: not only the synthesizer/electronic compositions but the ravishing pop of “A Dream Goes On Forever,” the hard-rocking “Heavy Metal Kids,” the Gilbert and Sullivan showstopper “Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song” from Iolanthe, and of course, “An Elpee’s Worth of Toons.” And these are just scratching the surface! (Now, Todd, will we ever get that live performance of Something/Anything?)
All of the toons from Todd will arrive in stores on cee-dee and dee-vee-dee (alas, not on an elpee) on February 14, 2012. It's the perfect Valentine's Day gift for the Toddhead in your life!
Todd (Original album track listing - issued as Bearsville LP 6952, 1974)
- How About A Little Fanfare?
- I Think You Know
- The Spark Of Life
- An Elpee’s Worth Of Toons
- A Dream Goes On Forever
- Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song
- Drunken Blue Rooster
- The Last Ride
- Everybody’s Going To Heaven /King Kong Reggae
- No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator
- Useless Begging
- Sidewalk Café
- Izzat Love?
- Heavy Metal Kids
- In And Out The Chakras We Go (formerly – Shaft Goes To Outer Space)
- Don’t You Ever Learn?
- Sons Of 1984