Todd Rundgren's Utopia (album)

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.

Todd Rundgren's Utopia
Todd rundgrens utopia.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1974
RecordedThe Secret Sound and The Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia April 25th,1974.
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
Allmusic [1]
Rolling Stone(Not rated)[2]
Tom HullC+[3]

Critical reaction was mixed 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.[4]

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 (1978) 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 April 25th 1974 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. There has been confusion as to which date is correct because the performance date was erroneously listed as November 8th 1973 on the original broadcast LP from the radio show "Retrorock" that was broadcast in 1983. The performance features a re worked version of "Utopia Theme". Previous performances from the 1973 tour have a marching band feel during the quiet sections that were reworked into a looser feel for the 1974 tour. The performance is also heavy on songs from the "Todd" LP which were not performed until the Spring 1974 tour.

Track listingEdit

CD VersionEdit

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 VersionEdit

Side OneEdit

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

Side TwoEdit

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

PersonnelEdit

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

ChartsEdit

Album - Billboard

Year Chart Position
1974 Pop Albums 34

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ Hull, Tom (April 1975). "The Rekord Report: Second Card". Overdose. Retrieved June 26, 2020 – via tomhull.com.
  4. ^ Utopia chart placings, AllMusicGuide.