Listen to What Happened When Todd Rundgren Refused to Bring Instruments on His 1985 Tour

He's the only rock star to undertake a fully a capella tour.

Music Features Todd Rundgren
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Listen to What Happened When Todd Rundgren Refused to Bring Instruments on His 1985 Tour

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In 1985, Todd Rundgren made a sharp left turn in his career. He had just disbanded his side-project, Utopia, and he’d grown tired of the constant solo tours that relied heavily on a handful of pop hits from the 1970s. So he made a record called A Cappella, which, as advertised, featured only the human voice, merging the magic of the doo-wop era with the contemporary pop formula he was famous for. The result was an album that got mixed response, and yielded no radio hits (with the exception of the infectious “Something To Fall Back On,” which did air on some stations).

On Oct. 26, 1985, Rundgren’s show at the Bismark Theater in Chicago was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Armed with only a group of backing singers, he performed songs from A Cappella to a rapturous crowd. Listen here to one of the best songs from the album, “Johnee Jingo.”

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