A Wizard, a True Star
|A Wizard, a True Star|
|Studio album by Todd Rundgren|
|Released||March 2, 1973|
|Recorded||1972-1973, Secret Sound Studio, New York, NY|
|Genre||Art rock, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, psychedelic pop|
|Todd Rundgren chronology|
|Singles from A Wizard, a True Star|
A Wizard, a True Star is the fourth solo album by Todd Rundgren, released in 1973.
Production and artwork
The album, and especially the first side of the vinyl recording, is an extended medley after the fashion of the Beatles' late recordings; brief songs segue into one another, and the lyrics are frequently humorous or hallucinatory. The first side features a cover version of "Never Never Land" from the Broadway version of Peter Pan; the second side features a medley of covers of R&B hits. The album's length (55:56) pushed the limits of how much music could fit on a long-playing record; as a result, the sound quality is a little lower in comparison. Acknowledging that on the album's inner sleeve, which was packed with his handwritten notes, Rundgren advised listeners to turn up the volume on their speakers, being that each side of the record is about 6 or 7 minutes longer than standard records. The compact disc version was thought to avoid these difficulties. The first issue on vinyl (identifiable by the notation "STERLING RL" written in the trail-off), the only pressing made from the original master, has the best fidelity; finding one in near mint condition is not easy.
Arthur Wood made the painting that is featured on the cover.
First issues of the vinyl LP included a postcard encouraging purchasers to send in their names to be included on a poster in Todd's next album, and was die-cut. After 1973, the postcard was replaced with a "band aid" poem written by Patti Smith which was a bio about the album. Reissues of the vinyl LP did not include any of these extras, and the cover was a standard square cover (in lieu of the curly-cut corners of the earlier cover).
Four of the musicians featured on the album – Klingman, Labat, Shuckett and Siegler – would go on to be core players in the early version of Rundgren's band Todd Rundgren's Utopia.
In late 2009 and early 2010, Rundgren began touring the album after hearing it had a new audience of young fans (most famously the British electropop band Hot Chip). The idea originated with a promoter in London but when he didn't make an offer for the tour, two fans from RundgrenRadio.com, a fan-based internet radio program, started a limited U.S. tour of the album in 2009 which was followed the next year by two shows in Europe.
Writing in Creem, Patti Smith said: "Blasphemy even the gods smile on. Rock and roll for the skull. A very noble concept. Past present and tomorrow in one glance. Understanding through musical sensation. Todd Rundgren is preparing us for a generation of frenzied children who will dream in animation." The closing song, "Just One Victory," soon became a fixture on FM radio, an anthem to close many of Todd's concerts. Decades after its release the album is still influential, having been cited as a source of inspiration for Tame Impala's Lonerism and Foxygen's ...And Star Power.
All songs written by Todd Rundgren except as indicated.
Side one: "The International Feel (in 8)"
- "International Feel" – 2:50
- "Never Never Land" (Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jule Styne) – 1:34
- "Tic Tic Tic It Wears Off" (Instrumental) – 1:14
- "You Need Your Head" – 1:02
- "Rock & Roll Pussy" – 1:08
- "Dogfight Giggle" – 1:05
- "You Don't Have to Camp Around" – 1:03
- "Flamingo" (Instrumental) – 2:34
- "Zen Archer" – 5:35
- "Just Another Onionhead/Da da Dali" – 2:23
- "When the Shit Hits the Fan/Sunset Blvd." – 4:02
- "Le Feel Internacìonále" – 1:51
Side two: "A True Star"
- "Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel" – 4:16
- "Does Anybody Love You?" – 1:31
- "Medley: I'm So Proud / Ooh Baby Baby / La La Means I Love You / Cool Jerk" (Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson, Warren "Pete" Moore (credited to Al Cleveland and Renaldo "Obie" Benson), William Hart, Thom Bell, Donald Storball) – 10:34
- "Hungry for Love" – 2:18
- "I Don't Want to Tie You Down" – 1:56
- "Is It My Name?" – 4:01
- "Just One Victory" – 4:59
White Label DJ copies include a censored version of "When the Shit Hits the Fan/Sunset Blvd.", replacing "shit" with a synthesizer sound and does not include the song "Does Anybody Love You".
The original cassette tape release of the album reverses Sides One and Two of the LP, in order to sequence the longer side first. The Bearsville/Warner Bros. cassette reissues from 1983 play out of sequence, Side One plays Side One but lists Side Two's tracks.
- Todd Rundgren – vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Michael Brecker – saxophone
- Randy Brecker – horn
- Rick Derringer – guitar
- Mark "Moogy" Klingman – keyboards
- Jean-Yves "M. Frog" Labat – synthesizer
- Barry Rogers – trombone
- David Sanborn – saxophone
- Ralph Schuckett – keyboards
- John Siegler – bass guitar, cello
- John Siomos – drums
|1973||Billboard Pop Albums||86|
- Myers, Paul (2010). A Wizard, a True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio. Jawbone Press. ISBN 978-1-90600-233-6.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "A Wizard, A True Star - Todd Rundgren | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- Christgau, Robert (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 1593". robertchristgau.com. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "Todd's Electric Exploitation: Rock and Roll for the Skull," Creem, April 1973, p.56-57.
- "allmusic (Todd Rundgren > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-04-27.