Tonight’s Progress Report (8 o’clock) is the last episode for a while, and I’ve saved some of the very best for last: tune in tonight to hear the early masterpiece “Singring and the Glass Guitar,” from the first studio album of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia.
It’s a massive and fun piece, built upon a tongue-in-cheekly-cheesy fantasy story. You see, in the land of Harmony, everybody lives happily and in, um, harmony with one another. This is due to the presence of the muse Singring, the “spirit of Harmony.” But jealous forces – “and there are always jealous forces in such tales” – kidnap Singring and imprison him in a glass guitar. They put that guitar in a chest with four locks, then hide the four keys at the four corners of the world.
This, of course, is one doozy of a setup for four amazing solos, as each band member becomes one of the brave adventurers that goes after an individual key. It’s smart, it’s fun, the music is great, and it typifies just about everything I love about this style of music.
As if all that weren’t enough … here, for your viewing pleasure, is a rare video of the band doing the entire thing live in 1977. Enjoy!