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CD review: Todd Rundgren's Utopia 'Live at Hammersmith Odeon '75'

CD review: Todd Rundgren's Utopia ‘Live at Hammersmith Odeon '75'
BY GENE TRIPLETT Entertainment Editor Published: April 27, 2012


Todd Rundgren's Utopia ‘Live at Hammersmith Odeon '75' (Shout)

Todd Rundgren proclaimed himself “A Wizard, a True Star,” naming his fourth solo album just that back in 1973, and revealing his well-developed ego in the process.

But he could live up to that self-aggrandizing title with some of the most perfectly-crafted pop songs of the early '70s, slickly produced by the “Runt” himself.

Beautiful three-minute heartbreak ballads like “Hello It's Me” and “It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference” — drawing from a combination of '60s British invasion and Carole King/Laura Nyro singer-songwriter influences — earned him a huge following in the early stages of his solo career.

Meanwhile, his technical skills made him an in-demand producer for acts such as Grand Funk Railroad, Badfinger, the New York Dolls and Meat Loaf.

But Rundgren was beginning to rebel against his mainstream chart successes by the time “Live at Hammersmith Odeon '75” was recorded in London.

He's backed by keyboardist Roger Powell, bassist John Siegler and drummer Willy Wilcox, the lineup known as Utopia, Rundgren's adventurous, techno-centric prog-rock vehicle.

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