Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“I Just Want to Touch You”: The New Rutles?

Why am I not terribly surprised that Todd Rundgren‘s Utopia went to the trouble and expense of dressing up as Fab Four lookalikes in their video for affectionate Beatle pastiche, “I Just Want to Touch You“:

From 1980 Bearsville album, Deface the Music, just two short years after spoof Rutles documentary, All You Need Is Cash, written by Eric Idle and Lorne Michaels, with songs composed by close friend of The Beatles and guitarist for The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Neil Innes.

Paul Lester‘s excellent and informative essay that accompanied the CD reissue of Deface the Music points out that this track was considered but ultimately rejected for feature film, Roadie – purportedly since the song too closely emulated the early Beatle sound and songwriting style.  Cash Box would identify “I Just Want To Touch You” as a ‘Single to Watch’ with a nudge and a wink in their October 4, 1980 issue:

Ah, for those days again when songs were under two minutes.  This tune may remind you of a particular group that burst on the scene circa 1964 from Liverpool.  And like anything that Rundgren and Co. do, the sound is intentional.  Have fun with this.

Utopia 45

Released in the UK as the kick-off track on a 4-song EP — check out the cheeky copy on the back of the sleeve:

Meet UTOPIA, an instantly likeable and aware quartet of bright young lads, carving a niche in today’s feverish pop market-place.  No Post-Industrial Funk for these pop-picking boys, just catchy snatches of hot rock ‘n’ roll.  Take the first cut, ‘I Just Want to Touch You’; a perfect example of Todd’s expressive lead vocals, combining with the harmonies of Willie and Roger.  Once heard, never forgotten, ‘Silly Boy‘ of course is purposely tongue in cheek, showing how UTOPIA’s writing has expanded into wider fields.  Flip the disc over and straight into ‘Life Goes On‘ revealing a more complex side to the band’s musical tastes.  A real grower this, and certain to become a stage favourite.  Finally, but not least, the record finishes with ‘All Smiles,’ a sure-fire UTOPIA classic, containing enough hooks to catch a haul of mackerel.  So there it is, four great songs by a great band.  Roll up folks and meet UTOPIA.

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