Rundgren started the band Utopia in 1974 to run concurrently with his solo career. Whilst using many of the same musicians, the band was a more democratic affair. The first two albums “Todd Rundgren’s Utopia” (1974) and “Another Live” (1975) will be issued later in Edsel’s reissue programme.
By mid-1976, when they appeared on the bill at The Rolling Stones’ Knebworth Concert, Utopia’s line-up had settled to the quartet of Todd (guitar), Roger Powell (keyboards), Kasim Sulton (bass) and John Wilcox (drums). All four contributed vocals and compositions.
The first release by this line-up was the prog classic album “Ra” in January 1977, featuring the 18 minute epic “Singring And The Glass Guitar” and the disturbing “Hiroshima”, which they had performed at Knebworth. Supported by an extravagant Egyptian-themed European tour, the album became Rundgren’s highest charting UK album.
The swift follow-up album “Oops! Wrong Plant” (September 1977) was a completely different affair, containing twelve short songs, a mixture of pop rock and heavy rock, but ending with another of Todd’s anthems “Love Is The Answer”. The cover version by England Dan and John Ford Coley was a US Top 10 hit in 1979.
The package contains ephemera and rare photos, all the lyrics, and extensive
File Todd Rundgren. 2CD 2011 issue of both 1977 LPs. An album of prog heaven + a power pop masterpiece !
I remember the RA album adverts in teh music press back in teh 70s and thought it was weird. How wrong I was, I've just heard this for the first time and wish I'd listened back then - its got everything, battling guitars, great hooks and super songs - it's certainly progrock but much more and at thsi price you can't go wrong. Plus 'OOps...' is new wave, which I think Utopia did well. Great album, but sound needs remastered.
Saw the Ra show live 76 maybe 77. Maybe not his best work but still some genius and a must have on cd for me. Thank goodness this sort of thing got recorded back then. We had variety, experiment and integrity back then not boy bands.
Two of Todd's least known records released togther. Ooops represent a more rock/melodic journey with some excellent songs - by this time Todd had decided to delegate out the lead vocals which was a pity - Ra is just dreadful. Check out Hermit of Mink Hollow for vintage Todd.