It’s pay day Friday, my business calls are all over for the day but I still have work to do on any one of the facilitator’s guides I have to complete and am quickly falling behind on. Time to get in the zone. And, really, this is all fine with me since crafting out clever instructional lesson plans is infinitely more enjoyable than dealing with any of the other office bullshit I deal with on any one of those soul-sucking conference calls. The problem is, everybody here today is chatting up a storm making concentrating difficult. I can’t blame though since it is pay day Friday and, mostly likely, everyone mentally signed off for the day hours ago. Needing to be here is a mere formality at this point. So I’m zoning out now with a real Prog Rock classic, ‘A Wizard, A True Star‘ by Todd Rundgren.
Released in 1971, Rundgren’s 4th studio album is, well, fucked up. Just look at the creepy Edward Scissorhands album cover, or listen to the quick succession of songs ‘Rock & Roll Pussy‘ and ‘Dogfight Giggle‘ and you will undoubtedly glean this as absolute fact. All that aside, it’s definitely a fun listen. Having said that, the album ever only peaked on Billboard’s Pop Albums record chart at #86. My Bible (Mojo, August 1995) ranks it at #93.
The album, and especially the first side of the vinyl recording, is an extended medley; brief songs segue into one another, and the lyrics are frequently humorous or hallucinatory. The first side, features a cover version of ‘Never Never Land‘ from the Broadway version of Peter Pan; the second side features a medley of covers of popular R&B hits from Curtis Mayfield, the Impressions, the Miracles, the Dephonics, and the Capitols. ‘A Wizard, A True Star‘ is one of the most revolutionary albums ever recorded – Todd’s ‘Sgt. Pepper‘ if you will. Even anything by Frank Zappa pales by comparison. You could say that there is literally something for everyone on this album from Motown to punk (‘You Need Your Head‘) to pop (‘Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel‘) to the Broadway stage.
It’s a total rollercoaster. It’s one of those rare rock albums that demands your full attention. At the very least, it’s perfect for blocking out all the other extraneous nonsense that flowing around the office today and enabling me to actually do something resembling work – after this blog post, of course.