Todd Rundgren's Utopia (album)

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Todd Rundgren's Utopia
Todd rundgrens utopia.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1974
RecordedThe Secret Sound and The Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia November 8th, 1973.
GenreProgressive rock, art rock
Length59:15
LabelBearsville
ProducerTodd Rundgren
Todd Rundgren's Utopia chronology
Todd Rundgren's Utopia
(1974)
Another Live
(1975)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic2/5 stars [1]
Rolling Stone(Not rated)[2]

Todd Rundgren's Utopia is the debut album by the American band Todd Rundgren's Utopia. Rundgren (who was primarily a pop musician at the time) had decided to delve into progressive rock. Putting together several musicians, including three keyboardists, the album covers a variety of styles including funk, jazz, classical and even avant-garde music.

Critical reaction was mixed, with some critics labeling the album as pretentious fluff, but it sold extremely well, peaking at #34 on the Billboard charts, a placing which no Utopia album save Adventures in Utopia would ever surpass.[3]

Like Rundgren's solo albums A Wizard, a True Star and Initiation, the album's sheer length pushed the limits of vinyl. At nearly an hour, the sound needed to be compressed in order to fit it onto one vinyl record, resulting in a lesser audio quality than a shorter album. The CD version avoids this issue. The title track of the album was simply called "Utopia" on the first edition vinyl, cassette and 8-track editions of the album. On the first reissue of the album (1980) the title of "Utopia" was changed to "Utopia Theme" and publishing credits were changed from Earmark Music to both Earmark Music and Screen Gems - Columbia Music. This may have happened as in 1976 Tony Sales sued Rundgren for appropriation of the song, suing for royalties of $100,000 or more.

The title track, the only live performance on the album, is culled from the band's seminal November 8, 1973 performance at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. A full release of the concert circulated amongst bootleggers for years before finally being officially released in 2015 by RockBeat Records under the title Live at the Fox 1973.

Track listing[edit]

CD Version[edit]

No.TitleMusicLength
1."Utopia Theme (live)"Mason, Rundgren14:31
2."Freak Parade"Klingman, Rundgren, Siegler10:14
3."Freedom Fighters"Rundgren4:04
4."The Ikon"Klingman, Rundgren, Schuckett, Siegler30:26
Total length:59:15

Vinyl Version[edit]

Side One[edit]

No.TitleMusicLength
1."Utopia (live)"Mason, Rundgren14:18
2."Freak Parade"Klingman, Rundgren, Siegler10:14
3."Freedom Fighters"Rundgren4:01

Side Two[edit]

No.TitleMusicLength
1."The Ikon"Klingman, Rundgren, Schuckett, Siegler30:22
Total length:58:55

Personnel[edit]

Production
  • Todd Rundgren - producer and engineer
  • David Le Sage - assistant engineer
  • Maruo Miyauchi - design and illustration at Push Pin Studios

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard

Year Chart Position
1974 Pop Albums 34

References[edit]

  1. ^ "allmusic ((( Todd Rundgren's Utopia > Review )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  2. ^ "Todd Rundgren: Todd Rundgren's Utopia : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on August 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  3. ^ Utopia chart placings, AllMusicGuide.