A Wizard, a True Star is the fourth album by American musician Todd Rundgren, released March 2, 1973, on Bearsville Records. It marked a departure from his previous, Something/Anything? (1972), with its lesser reliance on straightforward pop songs, a development he attributed to his experimentation with psychedelic drugs and his realization of "what music and sound were like in my internal environment, and how different that was from the music I had been making."The album was produced, engineered, and, with the exception of some tracks, entirely performed by Rundgren. He envisioned the record as a hallucinogenic-inspired "flight plan" with all the tracks seguing seamlessly into each other, starting with a "chaotic" mood and ending with a medley of his favorite soul songs. At the time of release, he stated that Wizard intended to advance utopian ideals; later, he said that the album had no definite meaning. No singles were issued from the album, as he wanted the tracks to be heard in the context of the LP. With 19 tracks, its nearly 56-minute runtime made it one of the longest single-disc LPs to date. Upon release, A Wizard, a True Star received widespread critical acclaim, but sold poorly, reaching number 86 on U.S. charts. According to Rundgren, "the result was a complete loss of about half of my audience at that point." To support the album, Rundgren formed a new group, Utopia, his first official band since the Nazz. Their technologically ambitious stage show was cancelled after about two weeks on the road. A Wizard, a True Star has since been recognized for its influence on later generations of bedroom musicians.Wikipedia
My stepdad is a Todd Rundgren fan so I heard this one early on. Also a favorite among college friends. I love these kinds of kitchen sink affairs where artists have the freedom/time to really explore possibilities in the studio. I wish more albums flowed like this one. Makes for quite a ride. Love that the ambition is tempered with humor along the way. Definitely his best album. A tour de force.
Why haven’t I heard of this guy before?
Really weird album, but really enjoyed it. All over the place, but still coherent enough to be a really fun experience. Favorite tracks: “Zen Archer,” “Onionhead/Da Da Dali,” and “Medley:....”
👍🏼 definitely need to listen to more of this guy. he has clear talent and imagination and all of the songs are incredibly varied and cool. the whole album is cohesive without merging too much but still if you listened to the first half of the album not in completion it wouldn’t really work. awesome album cover and i like the song names. come on a 4/named song ?! 👍🏼
Was not expecting to rate it this high, but this record is so out of control and unique that I have to give it a 5. Give it up for Todd Rundgren, because this is a psychedelic masterpiece.
In the 70s it wasn’t uncommon for someone to describe an album as being “good to listen to on acid”. This album would be one of those albums so described. This album is so bizarre and he plays very well. I think I’ll head to the pool room, score some blotter and give it another listen.
This is mental. It's interesting and I'm sure ground breaking at the time. Glad I listened, wouldn't listen again
I wanted to like this but do not.
Incredible album. The flow of the record is immaculate
Sounds like an album that was written in some dude's bedroom while he was on psychedelics. There are plenty of "Mr. Kite's Glass Walrus" moments (and a John Lennon diss track, apparently), but it also manages the trick of staying down to earth without being particularly dense or impenetrable. Rundgren didn't release any singles because he wanted people to listen to the whole album straight through, which is typically an eyeroll worthy statement, but in this case, I think it's a cohesive enough unit that a straight listen is probably the best route to take. This thing got better as it went. A great listening experience. Best track: Just One Victory
So happy this came up. Spend. More. Time. With. Todd.
Discazo de canciones. Del space rock al progresivo, del heavy al pop sofisticado. Muy grande, inabarcable. La esquisitez del rock setentero impecablemente presentado. Genial.
Really excellent. I loved this album
Incredible album! Cohesive, interesting, and boundary pushing. I can imagine how formative this must have been for experimental musicians. I'm very glad this has been put on my radar.
i so love it
This came out in 1972?! WAAAY ahead of it's time musically. Switching between playful and riffing rock songs effortlesly. I was expecting some boring prog album based on the album cover, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This album was an amazing experience
My favorite Todd album.
When I first listened to this about 10 years ago I wanted to like it more, but found it too schizophrenic and irritating. On relistening Rundgren's genius really shines through. I love the fact that it doesn't sit still and changes direction so many times, but still manages to work in some decent tunes.
I just love when someone is having fun
Quelle aventure cet album. On oublie rapidement que c’est sorti en 1973. Un petit bijou psychédélique/pop/rock/soul. Je ne serais pas surpris de retrouver cet album dans la bibliothèque de Kevin Parker de Tame Impala ou des membres d’Animal Collective. Un gros coup de cœur pour moi. Pièce préférée: Le Feel Internacionale, When the shit hits the fan, Just Another Onionhead, International Feel, … ;)
Wonderful! This is one of my favourite albums ever. The book states that at first listen it could be tiring, but the first time I played it I was amazed: I thought it sounded as if it were made in 1993, not 1973; it really sounds far ahead of its time. The sprawling nature of the record reminds me also of the White Album, another of my favourite ever. I can hear Frank Zappa influences, Beatles, Beach Boys, some prog, gypsy music, and so much more. One of those records where you discover something new at every spin. I don't know if he was a true star, but for sure he is a true genius.
Even if side 2 was blank I still would love this album. A true star completely.
This album was an experience to listen to. It seems scatterbrained but with some type of order to it. Every song feels as if it was both handcrafted and also vomited out. Either way, it makes for a great first listen through. His voice fits the music perfectly, and each song has a sort of ulterior feeling that refuses to allow you to be bored. Honestly the only thing that I didn’t enjoy from this album was that the mixing was very sub par. Favorite track: International Feel
Todd Rundgren is under appreciated. I love Something/Anything and had heard this album before but never came back to it. Turns out that I should have because there’s so much interesting stuff on here, especially Zen Archer. Will be listening to this again for sure. 9/10
A few months ago, I was introduced to Todd Rundgren by Something/Anything? coming up on my list, and I thought it was a pretty good album. This is like all the weird and standout songs of Something/Anything? blown up into a full album. Like the aforementioned album that came before it, A Wizard, A True Star is quite eclectic and all over the place, but I definitely feel like the focus of this album was clearer than the previous album. That focus was definitely psychedelia. It's definitely the kind of music that'd be enhanced with psychedelics, but it was the 70s. Saying that, this rarely felt like a 70s album - the electronic elements throughout made it seem more recent than that at times. Being a psychedelic pop album, it of course had its token unhinged and unsettling songs, but overall I still liked this quite a lot. I'm eager to listen to more of Rundgren's work. Favourite: Zen Archer
A little bit of Steely Dan and a little bit of Zappa. Fantastic piece of art.
A brilliantly inventive album, and his use of synths as an instrument (as opposed to a shortcut to the sound made by an instrument) was ahead of its time. However, you'd be pressed to say that the songs themselves are his best work.
On first listen a brilliant but exhausting single LP (emphasized because of a 55+ minute runtime).
Interesting. Haven't listened carefully tho.
Väldigt bra , i like it!
It is chaotic but a very interesting journey. Definitely an album that needs to be played straight through.
Fun and interesting! Kind of reminds me of some of the Beatles' later songs.
A name I've never heard before. Surprised to hear synths. Shit for 1973 this is quite modern with it's synth-explorations. Via Wikipedia: "The sound and structure of Wizard was heavily informed by Rundgren's hallucinogenic experiences. It was envisioned as a hallucinogenic-inspired 'flight plan' with all the tracks segueing seamlessly into each other, starting with a 'chaotic' mood and ending with a medley of his favorite soul song". Fascinating. Ok I just looked at the track list and I'm 4 songs in and thought I was still on track 1. Wow. "You Need Your Head" is crazy! I have a feeling I need to listen to this all again. Dogfight Giggle woooow lol. This is like some RCE mandatory overtime shit. This is a perfect follow-up to that Zappa album, there is much more "heart" in here for me, but I'm sure vocals help here. 3.5 to 4.
Wow, kind of stunned by this. How have I never heard of this guy? Hearing Lemon Twigs in this, and Jack White. If this came out now it would still sound edgy. Getting really yacht rock with the Medley. Second half of the album sounds more dated but I still like it overall.
Rundgren is another artist I really need to dig into for a longer time. Whenever I listen to his music, I really like it, and then I forget for another year or so. One of my favorite new-ish bands, the Lemon Twigs, cite him as a major influence. I definitely hear that influence on this record. I'll be sure to revisit this one a few more times this next couple weeks as I can tell it's one that keeps on giving new gems over multiple listens.
I really like the eclectic style of this music.
The sound is way ahead it’s time for 1972. Utterly bonkers in places but strangely enjoyable psychedelic.
Quite classic psychdelic rock from that era, I liked it.
Psychedelic rock. I enjoyed the flow from one song to the other. A couple songs I really enjoyed.
WTF this is some crazy experimental stuff from the 70s. The album is made up of quick snippets of unfinished songs and one ten minute journey of a track. Sounds like he was on a ton of psychs when he was recording, makes sense.
I have his album "Todd" from the next year, but don't remember much about it. I know he has a reputation for being uncompromisingly non-commercial in his approach to pop & rock. Sounds good on paper, but doesn't necessarily lead to good albums... Well, this one is surprisingly enjoyable. I like the aesthetic of short, almost-incomplete songs, which allows a restless switching around of styles. There's a sense of humour throughout, and some earnest emotional content. It's a fun album. 4*
Bananas. But in a good way
Apparently reviews from the time found the first half too weird for its own good, which is sad, because I feel like the album might be even better if the second half was weirder.
Nice discovery. This album feels like being on acids, but in a good way (which I think was Todd's goal).
A rich collection of quirky pop songs with a satisfying flow, nice drum sounds too.
Really strange but fun and I treating album
Psychedelic and weird. Very happy for the refresher on Rundgren. This will work it’s way into my normal listening.
A tour-de-force kaleidoscope of psych folk pop gems
had never heard of this album, but was pleasantly surprised by the utterly batshit songs. i also note he's released literally dozens of albums since.... I wonder if they're also as mad as this one?
4 stars a very fun listen lots of stylistic changes. Deserves more attention
I digged this. It was chaotic and all over the place yet I liked every moment? Yep.
Loved this record! Going to listen to it again soon
Experimental, unusual, slightly psychedelic, funky. In all a great experience.
Wow! I've never heard of Todd Rundgren before, which is a real shame. What a trip this album has been. It's random and experimental, and then whenever I go 'Well this is a bit too experimental for me' it goes into a more classic rock song. I dig it!
Another very hard to rate album, some of the songs were hard to listen to, others such as Le Feel Internationale were absolute highlights. This is very much on the 3/4 boundary, but the sheer interestingness of the sound has pushed me to the higher edge of that.
Cool Album, variety of different sounds and beats
Diferente e interesante
Wizard Cowboy Space Travel.
LSD does wonders.
Experimental elements mixed with conventional aspects, intriguing listening
I remembered being less warm on Rundgren, but looking back it seems I was about as warm to Something/Anything? If anything, it took me a while to warm to that album; This one, while sprawling, has my favorite bits in the first half. I love the gonzo nature of it, and while it tries a tiny bit too hard it's also plain fun.
Dope. Very prog. Groovy baby, Yeah!
This was very impressive and unexpected. I don't remember if I've already listened to something from Todd Rundgren, but this release sounds really great and that is the type of thing that made this 1001 list worth it. A lot of experiments that sound much more modern than some 2000's bands, but still very enjoyable without exaggerated virtuosic. I liked it very much!! It's not 5 stars, just because there is one only song that is kind of exaggerated, but it's almost an essential album.
I always respect anyone who uses the accordion outside of Polka
This was good overall. Some ups and downs. I was a big fan of "When the Shit Hits the Fan" and "Hungry for Love"
Some of the experimental songs are too experimental and some of the earnest songs are too earnest but on the whole an engaging listen
The Wikipedia for this album said it was the result of Todd’s experimentation with lsd and I think that really comes through in the music. The production gets insane sometimes and super overwhelming but most of it was actually really good and well put together as you would expect from an artist on lsd in the 70s
Interesting. Probably requires several listenings to appreciate
On record for one of the longest single-disc LP's at nearly an hour long, Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, a True Star is a sprawling piece of art pop that takes you on a musical journey like no other. Songs feel more like vignettes for a larger piece of work as we chug along from one scene to the next, occasionally sticking around a little longer to ground the listener. The album cover accurately captures the kind of experience that this album is. It is certainly strange and sort of loses the plot halfway through side A only pick things up again near the end of side A. Side B slows things down with ballads and a particularly smooth medley. Rundgren's experimentation with psychedelic drugs is on full display with how this record flows, it's an excellent listen throughout. It helps that Rundgren was already an established producer/engineer by this point, so he really brings his own vision to life here. Definitely worth the price of admission.
Lovely surprise. Really enjoyed it
Has some real bizarre moments but I found it to be a fun listen!
Kuin lapsi olisi päästetty valloilleen studioon -- ja nyt siis 100% hyvällä tavalla! Leikkisä, luova ja yllättävä. 4/5
Ei ihan niin hyvä kuin Something / Anything mutta tosi hyvä levy silti. Todd selvästi taitaa löristelyn ja tunteikkuuden sekoittamisen. Tekisi mieli sakottaa muutamasta turhasta biisistä, mutta menköön 4/5.
Last time I reviewed Todd Rundgren, it was for *Something/Anything*, and I complained that even with his brilliant production chops, Todd's music was not "abrasive" or "leftfield" enough to make up for his *relatively* lackluster talent as a writer of memorable tunes and as a performer. This double album displayed a lot of imagination, sure. But that imagination still gave birth to a somewhat by-the-numbers result, in spite of the vast array of genres tackled. Apart from a very few choice cuts here and there, most of those tracks indeed bordered on muzak or elevator music, unfortunately. And it was a chore to go through them honestly. Well, it now sounds as if Rundgren heard *some* of my complaints as I uttered them from the future. If there's one clear asset to *A Wizard / A True Star* (which followed *Something / Anything*), it is that, this time, its production and sonic signature can't be blamed for NOT being "leftfield" or "abrasive" enough. Those sounds are nothing short of astounding, even today--the record is designed to be a purveyor of many classic hip hop or electro beats (proof that it has aged very well), and one can thus easily picture Animal Collective or MGMT doing the exact same sort of music during the 21st century. The first side is almost entirely comprised of short crazy musical psychedelic interludes segueing one into the next, so no one can accuse Rundgren of going the safe way here when it comes to compositions at least. In other words, those 'shrooms must have been particularly potent, that's for sure... On the whole this record is therefore a far more consistent effort than the previous (double) LP, as lopsided and zany as its individual tracks sound. Of course, beyond the multilayered instrumentation and production, there's still the songwriter issue. Going for moods and sonic landscapes, Rundgren doesn't have to worry a lot about that this time, but a few more *real* songs sprinkled in the middle of that wild ride would have *also* been a welcome respite, and made the whole thing far more accessible. Side 2 still has a few of them, even if a third of those more classic cuts are actually covers of soul staples assembled in a medley that comes a little out of nowhere (but in a way, that's keeping with the generally crazy tone and intent of the album, obviously). The most impressive "song", "Zen Archer", is towards the end of side 1 anyway, and it can at least boast of a grand finale that's quite important to make sense of the collage mess that came before. "Is It My Name?" is also a nice rocker, reminiscent of The Who. If only Rundgren had added something that had the level of "Couldn't I Just Tell You" in terms of intensity to those proceedings, the whole thing would hold up far better today that it does now. But that awesome power pop track stayed buried in the middle of the long-winded nonsense of *Something/Anything* instead (rather than *shining* in the middle of THAT shorter sort of nonsense). Another missed opportunity... So it's often a glorious mess, but it's a mess nonetheless. One can easily see how Rundgren became an endearing name for many, and besides, the man was groundbreaking, there's no denying about that. So this is *probably* a record everyone should listen to at least once. But is it *aimed* at everyone? And can enough listeners really dig into all that crazy stuff and not turn mad (at it, or just plain mad)? This remains to be seen, honestly... Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 874 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 68 Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 31 (including this one) Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 28
Todd Rundgren va ser tot un aventurer musical. El Dr. Livingstone dels estudis de gravació. Cal dir que la majoria de vegades acabava arribant a illes despoblades i no gaire atractives, però els anys 1972 i 1973 sembla que la màgia l'acompanyava i els dos discs que va facturar són obres magnes de la seva discografia, i de la década. Sempre et pots perdre en alguns dels seus excerpts, o dels seus tours de force de més de 10 minuts. Meravellós
One for the Onionheads.
What a feast for the ears. This runs the gamut from heavy psych through to Philly soul, and pulls it off - mostly. Points need to be awarded on the basis of sheer, widescreen ambition. Side one of the album almost feels avant garde in places, with the brief one-minute tracks such as 'Flamingo' coming over like cuts from the Residents' Commercial Album. Elsewhere, 'Zen Archer' has a coda that is close to beautiful. 'Is It My Name?' sounds like a long-lost Tubes track. Closer 'Just One Victory' also demonstrates that Rundgren can play it straight-ish, boasting backing vocals that trip and dance around the music. Very few individuals have quite as much vision as Rundgren does; even fewer have the moxy and the chops to execute.
Performance fantastique de Todd, qui vient nous démontrer que toutes les daubes interchangeables des années 70 n'ont aucune excuse.
Un Todd en très, très grande forme sur cet album. Vous savez d'ailleurs probablement que j'accuse un léger retard sur le générateur depuis quelques semaines. Mon ennemi juré et compagnon d'écoute eltrapeze a donc eu tout le loisir d'écouter l'album, de contacter Todd, de devenir son meilleur ami et d'emménager en colocation avec lui. Lorsque j'arrivai à hauteur de l'album A Wizard/A True Star et compris que j'aurais très bien pu être à la place d'eltrapeze, je fus pris d'une colère noire et tentai de me rapprocher de Todd coûte que coûte. Celui-ci ne répondit à aucun de mes messages. Cette histoire me reste en travers de la gorge.
Weird exploration of synth technology and sounds music. Listen to while under the influence of something.
4 I read beforehand that this album was inspired by Rundgren's experimentation with psychedelics, and after having listened through, I gotta say that checks out. Rundgren captures the feel of a drug-induced trip well with this record... for better or for worse. The two sides of the album are drastically different - yet somehow complementary. Side A was mostly a sporadic collection of sounds and songs transitioning before I had a chance to fully digest one... and not all were pleasant to listen to. Side B was where the album really shined for me, where Rundgren creates a fusion of soul and R&B before finally "coming down" on a rock closer. At this point, I felt like I had reached the end of some spiritual journey. It's hard to pinpoint specific songs on this record, but I feel like that's kind of the point, and that the album is made purely to be consumed in one go. The second half is much stronger than the first, but at the same time, it almost feels like one couldn't exist without the other? Where Side A gives way to Side B to complete the journey? I'm still not sure how this album made me feel, but I think I liked it, so we'll go with 4. Idk I think I need to lie down.
Really surprised me. Was all over the place but always brought me back into it.
This shit was weird as fuck!
Really like the album... weird in a way that’s still melodic. Experimental without being too abstract. Todd Rundgeran strikes a balance between pop sensibilities and music experimentation. 4/5
Interesting, weird, psychedelic, drug-fueled
Todd invited me to his house tonight. He played me this record and before I knew it, we were on a rocket ship to space! I asked him where we were going but before he could answer, we were being chased by Alice in Wonderland across a mushroom forest with a pogo stick. She had Cheshire Cat's weird face instead of her own, which was CONFUSING. We escaped into the first door we saw and found ourselves onstage in a circus. An elephant tossed me a unicycle and told me to get on. What? I don't know how to use a unicycle! Needless to say, I fell off and hit my head. When I came to, I was in the audience and Todd was singing & playing music. Oh shit, he's talented! After the show, I went backstage and suddenly we were slow dancing to Ooh Baby Baby. I yelled at him, "Ohmygod, I know this song!" He then went on a medley while dancing and crying at the same time, before pulling out his guitar and levitating, carried by his confidence. After his last song, he hit me in the head with his guitar. I opened my eyes and was back in his bedroom with the speakers on. What the hell, have we been here the entire time?! Ah yes, the '70s!
The first thing I thought when I saw another Todd Rundgren album on here and looked at the length was, "Oh god, he's putting another too-long, over-the-top album on me." And to a degree, that's true. Todd Rundgren likes his double LPs. You can charge more money that way! And woo boy, this is another weird one. Weirder than 'Something/Anything.' But is it bad, you might ask? Well, um, I don't know if I can answer that. The album got off to a great start, I thought, before really delving into the ear-ringing weirdness with 'You Need Your Head' and 'Rock and Roll Pussy.' It's weird, but having just listened to 'Lust For Life' by Iggy Pop, I certainly can't just dismiss weird as bad. There's a lot of merit to this album, a lot of choices that work out in Rundgren's favor, but there's a lot of stuff that just felt excessive or unnecessary. As a total package, taking the good with the bad, I think this album does succeed. Maybe a little shorter next time, and it'll be five stars.
Wild and creative - I think it'd be a 5 star if it was half as long. Sounded like better beatles at the start, then went off the walls in cool ways, just a lot to listen to at once. The story of it's creation and impact on solo producers definitely keeps it listworthy!
Very solid record and great introduction to his talents.
This is brilliant. Musicians being brilliant at being musicians. And experimenting with sounds that really works. Todd's songwriting skills are fantastic too.
I don't know what I just listened to, but it was good
I heard this for the first time a couple of years ago and it just blew me away. I prefer the first half to the second, but it's just a fantastic and incredibly odd little record
A definite step up from it's predecessor, and I'm always a sucker for a good medley (and this delivered like 3 of them!). I just wish the back half was as solid as the front half; the more stable, less experimental nature of it made it kind of drag when compared between the bouncing-between-brain-folds zaniness of the A side.
It’s not only a wild musical trip Todd Rundgren provides us with A Wizard, A True Star. I dare not even consider the trip the man must have been on himself making this. The first half simply flies by in a flash of drug induced creativity and you’re never allowed the chance to even stop and think if this might not be for you. It’s only really when Medley hits that I fully snap back to reality. From there I lose some of my initial interest and also start becoming a bit dizzy from the many impressions so far. Then “Just One Victory” ends it all and Rundgren manages to pull himself out of his maniacal frenzy and produce one of the greatest pop songs of the early 70’s. What a way to end a thrilling yet somewhat disturbing ride.
Holy smokes Todd, leave some drugs for the rest of us! This might just be the most 70s record of all time. Your favourite musicians favourite musician, Todd Rundgren, takes everyone on a journey through space and time. Space rock, psychedilia and progpop/rock melts together in an incredibly unfocused, too long, lovable record encapsulating an entire musical movement. I prefer the more surprising elements of the album than the rather dull Medley taking up around a third of side 2. Luckily, 'Just One Victory' ends the whole trip and a very high note.
Hadn't heard of Todd Rundgren before. Initially thought it was bonkers (in a bad way), then I strangely got into it. Still very bonkers, but in a good way. 3.5
Yes please. This is the kind of batshit weirdness I was hoping to discover on this foray into albums. I could hear influences of (or to) Pink Floyd, Meatloaf, The Beatles, psych rock, Zappa. It's not something I'm particularly INTO, but it is GOOD.