Todd Rundgren is an interesting fellow. He's had a couple groups (Nazz, Utopia) and produced records for the New York Dolls, XTC, Meat Loaf, and the Band. Nevertheless, this playlist focuses on his solo career, which contains hits, experiments, jokes, curios, and incredible song craft. Dig!
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Echo & The Bunnymen, Reverberation: Yes, diehard Bunnymen fans, your long wait is over: Reverberation, the lone album recorded by the band during the brief period when Ian McCulloch had decamped and Noel Burke had replaced him at the microphone, has finally been added to our digital catalog. Although the album is easily the most obscure album in the Bunnymen’s back catalog, the lone single from the record, “Enlighten Me,” did actually hit #8 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart. The problem at hand, though, was that Burke, God love him, was no McCulloch, and the opportunity to make this observation in the snarkiest manner possible was impossible for the average music critic – and most Bunnymen fans, too, for that matter – to resist. When the album failed to make any significant commercial waves, the band soldiered on for a bit longer, but after two self-produced singles (“Prove Me Wrong” and “Inside Me, Inside You”) suffered a similar fate, the Bunnymen disbanded and the existence of Reverberation was either forgotten or ignored by most. Still, if you approach it as the debut of a new band rather than an attempt to keep an old name alive, it’s actually quite nice.
35 years ago today, one of America’s most popular rock groups released the album that would be referred to as their final studio album for a very long run, indeed, and although that status changed with 2007’s Long Road Out of Eden, there’s still very much an end-of-an-era feeling to the found in the grooves of The Eagles’ The Long Run.
The Eagles had long since earned their status as rock gods by the time The Long Run hit record store shelves, resulting in the album entering the Billboard Top 200 at #2, and it only took one more week for it to take down the previous chart-topper, Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door, and climb that one last rung to reach the pinnacle. This was no doubt a great relief to the band, given that A) the album took two years to complete, B) they had a heck of a lot to live up to after the ridiculously huge success of their previous album, Hotel California, and C) they were moving forward without founding member Randy Meisner in their ranks, with Timothy B. Schmit taking his spot in the lineup. That’s not to say that there weren’t critics who complained that it wasn’t as good as its predecessor, but the voices of the naysayers were decidedly overshadowed by the tremendous success of the album’s trio of hit singles: “Heartache Tonight,” “I Can’t Tell You Why,” and the title track. (The fact that it’s gone on to sell over seven million copies hasn’t hurt its reputation any, either.)
There aren’t a lot of bands that can claim to have been around for a full five decades – that’s half a century, people – but The Hollies can, thanks to Allan Clarke continuing to fight the good fight ever since founding the band with Graham Nash back in 1962. (Actually, Clarke and Nash had played together prior to that, but it was in ’62 that they first called themselves The Hollies.) Although Bobby Elliott can’t claim to have been there at the very, very beginning of the band, no one can say that he hasn’t been around the block a few times with them, having come aboard in August 1963. As the band prepares to release a collection to celebrate their anniversary – 50 AT FIFTY, which hits stores on October 21 – Elliott took some time to chat with Rhino about some of the highlights of his time with the band, including a backstage chat with Bruce Springsteen and having an unexpected elevator encounter with one of the funniest and most famous trios of all time.
As anyone who logs into Facebook with a sigh each morning already knows, it’s not exactly uncommon for two people to share the same birthday, but it’s slightly more atypical when it happens with two major names in music. That’s the case today, though…and we’re not even bringing Bruce Springsteen into the equation!
Today in 1926, John William Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina, while four years later – and slightly farther down the east coast, in Albany, Georgia – a young man named Ray Charles Robinson entered the world. Of course, the latter gentleman soon dropped his family name and began billing himself by his first and middle name instead…but given the title of this post, you probably already figured that out.
With his traveling exhibit of artifacts from throughout his career having finally traveled to our shores (it’s currently on display at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art) and the announcement that he’s got a new song on the way – “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime),” which will be included on his upcoming greatest-hits collection, Nothing Has Changed – there’s only one way to describe the current climate: everything’s coming up Bowie!
To keep things consistent for you David Bowie devotees, we’ve got a couple of new releases that’ll keep that smile on your face a bit longer, starting with a very cool 7” picture disc of “Knock on Wood,” a 2005 Tony Visconti mix of the in-concert version which appears on David Live. On the flip side, you’ll find another David Live track, “Rock ‘N’ Roll With Me,” which is also one of Visconti’s ’05 mixes. If you don’t recognize the picture which graces the A-side, then you must never have seen the original French single, since that’s where the shot could originally be found, but the photo on the B-side is a rarely-seen shot of Bowie from ’74, so it’s highly probably that it’ll be the first time you’ve laid eyes on it.