Sons Of 1984

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Songfacts®:

  • This song was influenced by the 1949 George Orwell novel 1984, where the populace has given up their freedom to the government, known as "Big Brother," in exchange for comfort and security. In a Songfacts interview with Todd Rundgren, he explained: "The idea behind the song was things could go one way and things could go another way. And the whole idea behind 1984 was abrogation of your will to authority. So, the song essentially was about whether the coming generation would have the strength or the will to continue to resist that authority and maintain their own autonomy."
  • Rundgren recorded this live at a free concert he set up at Wollman Rink in Central Park on August 25, 1973, and used the audience to create the choir. The concertgoers were given lyric sheets with the chorus and asked to sing along - Rundgren rehearsed them a few times and then did a few recordings. After getting what he needed for the song, he proceeded with the show. A photo from the event appears on the back cover of the album.

    The Central Park audience was used on the right channel in the mix during the chorus; the left channel is another audience from a similar concert Rundgren put on in San Francisco's Golden Gate park on September 9, 1973. This means when you listen to the song on headphones, you're hearing the West Coast crowd in your left ear and the East Coast in your right, a geographically accurate representation symbolic of the nation. The collective choir is credited as "The First United Church Of The Cosmic Smorgasbord."
  • This is the last track on Todd, a double album where Rundgren explored a range of styles. Always keen to explore new technology, he hacked some drum machines to develop the rhythms.
  • Rundgren played most of the instruments himself throughout the album, but because this was a live recording, he needed some help. Here are the personnel:

    Electric piano: Moogy Klingman
    Bass: John Seigler
    Drums: Kevin Ellman
    Organ: Ralph Schuckett
    Saxophone: Mike Brecker
    Trombone: Barry Rogers
    Trumpet: Randy Brecker

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