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Todd Rundgren explains his tribute to the Beatles’ ‘White Album’

Todd Rundgren explains his tribute to the Beatles’ ‘White Album’

Todd Rundgren explains his tribute to the Beatles’ ‘White Album’
December 01
10:49 2019

Todd Rundgren performs on March 14, 2015, in Pala, California.

Todd Rundgren may be on the phone to draw attention to an all-star tribute to the Beatles’ “White Album” on which he’ll share a stage with Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, Joey Molland of Badfinger, Christopher Cross, and Jason Scheff of Chicago.

But that doesn’t mean he has to like it.

And by “it,” I mean “The White Album.”

“I make no bones about it,” Rundgren says.

“I think it’s a contender for the Beatles’ worst album. And it’s not necessarily a judgment about the music on it. I’m talking about a Beatle album, not a bunch of half attempts at solo albums, which is what ‘The White Album’ is. So as a Beatle album, it’s terrible. Very rarely do all four of them play at the same time on the record. Having said that, it was a great start for a George Harrison solo record.”

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Rundgren laughs, as he does often in the course of casually dismissing one of rock’s most celebrated albums with a disarmingly playful irreverence that couldn’t be more charming.

“It was the first time George had contributed so much material to a single record,” he says. “But again, it was like you could tell that they weren’t writing together anymore that often, they weren’t playing together … The result was not necessarily the best material out of them, even as solo writers.”

Then, he takes the gloves off.

“I mean, a lot of John’s material is just dolorous,” he says. “And much of Paul’s material is pointless. Like, why would he write a song like ‘Honey Pie’ unless he found out that ‘Winchester Cathedral’ had topped the charts and he said, ‘Oh, I can do that?’”

Rundgren laughs again, then wraps up his critique with “Having said that, that doesn’t necessarily compromise the audience’s enjoyment at hearing it reproduced.”

How the ‘White Album’ tribute came to be

So how did Rundgren find himself saluting an album he views as a contender for the Beatles’ worst?

He’s worked with the production company before on other Fab Four tributes.

“I have been out with Christopher Cross before, doing some sort of Beatles tribute,” he says, “and also with the producer of this particular show in other sort of lineups. So my name usually comes up when they’re planning one of these things.”

Source: Todd Rundgren explains his tribute to the Beatles’ ‘White Album’

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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