A Wizard, a True Star

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A Wizard, a True Star
AWizard-ATrueStar.jpg
Studio album by Todd Rundgren
Released March 2, 1973 (1973-03-02)
Recorded 1972–1973
Studio Secret Sound Studio, New York City
Genre Art rock
Length 55:56
Label Bearsville BR-2133
Producer Todd Rundgren
Todd Rundgren chronology
Something/Anything?
(1972)
A Wizard, a True Star
(1973)
Todd
(1974)
Singles from A Wizard, a True Star
  1. "Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel"
    Released: April 1973

A Wizard, a True Star is the fourth solo album by Todd Rundgren, released in 1973. The album peaked on Billboard's Pop Albums record chart at number 86.[1]

Music and production[edit]

The first side of the album consists of an extended suite called "The International Feel (in 8)"; the component songs segue into one another, and the lyrics are frequently humorous or hallucinatory.

The album's especially long playing time (55:56), combined with the heavy concentration of instrumentation, pushed the limits of how much music could fit on a long-playing record. Therefore the groove on each side has to be narrower, causing a significant drop in sound quality. Rundgren acknowledged this issue on the album's inner sleeve. He advised listeners (presumably in jest) to turn up the volume on their speakers to compensate. The first vinyl release was mastered by noted audio engineer Robert "Bob" Ludwig at Sterling Sound and is identifiable by the notation "STERLING RL" written in the run-out grooves.

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.

Packaging and artwork[edit]

Arthur Wood made the painting that is featured on the cover. Arthur included cryptic symbols in his cover art that, when deciphered, spell out the following messages:

  • "I, Arthur Wood, painted this."
  • "Be true to your words, and your words will be true to you."
  • "Be true to yourself and your work."
  • "I will be as true to you as I can."
  • "Tenderness is the secret to love, as far as I can see. -- Todd Rundgren"

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 with curly corners. Also included was a "band aid" poem written by Patti Smith which was a bio about the album. Reissues of the vinyl LP did not include these extras, and the cover was a standard square cover.

Live performances[edit]

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.[2]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau B−[4]

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."[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Todd Rundgren except as indicated.

Side one – "The International Feel (in 8)"
  1. "International Feel" – 2:50
  2. "Never Never Land" (Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jule Styne) – 1:34
  3. "Tic Tic Tic It Wears Off" – 1:14
  4. "You Need Your Head" – 1:02
  5. "Rock and Roll Pussy" – 1:08
  6. "Dogfight Giggle" – 1:05
  7. "You Don't Have to Camp Around" – 1:03
  8. "Flamingo" – 2:34
  9. "Zen Archer" – 5:35
  10. "Just Another Onionhead/Da da Dali" – 2:23
  11. "When the Shit Hits the Fan/Sunset Blvd." – 4:02
  12. "Le Feel Internacionale" – 1:51

Total length: 26:21

Side two – "A True Star"
  1. "Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel" – 4:16
  2. "Does Anybody Love You?" – 1:31
  3. "Medley" – 10:34
  4. "Hungry for Love" – 2:18
  5. "I Don't Want to Tie You Down" – 1:56
  6. "Is It My Name?" – 4:01
  7. "Just One Victory" – 4:59

Total length: 29:35

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.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1973 Billboard Pop Albums[1] 86

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "allmusic (Todd Rundgren > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  2. ^ AWATSlive.com
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "A Wizard, A True Star - Todd Rundgren | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 1593". robertchristgau.com. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Todd's Electric Exploitation: Rock and Roll for the Skull," Creem, April 1973, p.56-57.