After the debacle of the Buggs’ Beatles story is this loving tribute to the Beatles put out by power pop superstar and gifted producer, Todd Rundgren, and his prog rock outfit Utopia. The 13 songs on this album pay homage to the fab four, capturing the sounds of all the phases of their musical career. Rundgren had already shown an incredible talent for mimicry on his previous album Faithful which included one whole side of exact copies of tunes by The Yardbirds, Beach Boys and The Beatles. What makes this album special is that instead of parody (done so well by The Rutles two years earlier) is that the Utopia tunes capture the spirit of the Beatles tunes without being outright imitations.
The opener I Just Want to Touch You has the feel of She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand but also captures the general Merseybeat sound as well. Todd does a pretty good Paul McCartney vocal and on the tracks Alone, Life Goes On and All Smiles this is put to good use on songs that sound-check McCartney-sung tunes like Eleanor Rigby, Fool on the Hill and Michelle. Nice little musical touches prevail like the variation on Day Tripper’s opening riff on That’s Not Right, or Hoi Poloi, which combines the satire of George Harrison’s Piggies and then throws in a little Penny Lane horn riff, for good measure. The album concludes with the Beatles psychedelic phase with the track Everybody Else Is Wrong, which forgoes the lyrical psychedelic imagery but still may remind you of I’m the Walrus.