SHAUN CASSIDY Wasp (1980) – Produced by (and music by) Todd Rundgren & Utopia

Wasp (1980)
Rundgren Killed The Radio Star

Shaun Cassidy, younger pop-star brother of David “Partridge Family” Cassidy, was caught in the receding tide of popularity when he enlisted Todd Rundgren and Utopia to help reshape his kiddie-worn persona for the new wave. A smart move… except all it did for his career was end it. Wasp was Cassidy’s last album, a gathering of cover tunes by David Bowie, David Byrne, Pete Townshend and Ian Hunter, alongside original songs by Rundgren and Utopia. Todd’s production, as usual, makes everything around him sound like Todd… even Cassidy. Since Utopia performs (and Todd writes), it’s almost more their album – 80s synths, robotic beats, brusk pop harmonies, et al. “Cool Fire” should have been at least a minor hit and, while it’s not as easy to defend, I like their version of “Rebel, Rebel.” As for the historic union, the potential new fans didn’t trust any of it and – this time – the little girls didn’t understand. Wasp has never been on CD and online rips are few, and/or lacking in quality. So, big thanks go out to Sal over at Burning Wood (HERE), who went to the effort (and actual expense) to donate this fresh vinyl rip for us here (he doesn’t even have the entire set posted at his place). Thanks Sal. Only on vinyl at Amazon (HERE). We don’t have any more Cassidy, put there’s more Todd in the archives (HERE).

Rebel, Rebel (4:02) (Bowie)
Cool Fire (4:10) (Rundgren/Cassidy/Powell/Wilcox)
The Book I Read (3:31) (Byrne)
Pretending (4:57) (Rundgren)
Shake Me, Wake Me (3:32) (Holland/Dozier/Holland)
It’s My Life (4:39) (Atkins/D’Errico)
So Sad About Us (3:00) (Townshend)
Wasp (3:09) (Rundgren)
Selfless Love (4:46) (Rundgren)
Once Bitten, Twice Shy (4:02) (Hunter)


  • Capt. Willard
    November 2, 2010 - 18:41 | Permalink

    Get it HERE.

  • aitoid
    April 6, 2013 - 20:26 | Permalink

    Just on the basis that I’m Bowie hardcore, this is indispensable. Plus I love Todd, The Who, Byrne, Hunter and Shaun’s brother so thanks loads, Willard and Sal.

  • Visions
    April 6, 2013 - 21:09 | Permalink

    Actually, this version of So Sad About Us reminded me of The Jam’s version. Damn, they were good. Am the only fan of The Jam and Paul Weller here? Nice post.

    • Willard
      April 6, 2013 - 21:35 | Permalink

      Maybe. I was only a casual fan myself.

    • aitoid
      April 6, 2013 - 23:25 | Permalink

      Big Weller fan here. I saw The Jam on their first national tour and had a drink with them afterwards. Paul was sullen while Rick and Bruce were delightful. Apparently PW has lightened up a bit since.

      I just heard a story from my wife that she heard when she had dinner a few years ago with a woman who was PW’s mum’s best friend. Apparently after splitting up with his wife he got together with another woman and had a kid – but he didn’t tell his mother that she had another grandchild. She only learned about it in the newspaper! Apparently PW was very embarrassed.

      Shaun’s version of Rebel Rebel reminds me of I’m An Adult Now by The Pursuit Of Happiness. I love it!

  • Curious George
    April 7, 2013 - 09:39 | Permalink

    @aitoid – thanks for the review. i was on the fence about this album, figuring it could be a brilliant forgotten gem, or a big pile of poop… but your comparison of this version of ‘rebel rebel’ to “i’m an adult now’ made me decide to give it a try. Thanks :)

    Oh.. and great story about Paul Weller and not telling his mom about having another grandchild LOL hilarious… loved the jam version of ‘so sad’, looking forward to checking out this version.

  • aitoid
    April 8, 2013 - 03:54 | Permalink

    Mind you, Once Bitten, Twice Shy is freaking awful.

  • Guy
    April 8, 2013 - 13:48 | Permalink

    Thanks for this post. I had this (obviously) on vinyl at its release. Shaun and this album certainly deserved a better fate. Last I heard of him was when he was a producer of the mid-90’s tv series “American Gothic”. Quality television that nobody watched.

    • Willard
      April 9, 2013 - 00:24 | Permalink

      Interesting. Didn’t know he got into the that end of the biz. I think the last I heard he was doing Broadway or something. But, that might have been last century. I’m one of the ones that missed American Gothic, too.

    • aitoid
      April 11, 2013 - 17:08 | Permalink

      My wife and I keep trying to find American Gothic on DVD because we loved it. No chance – not Region 4, at least.

  • Jeff Gee
    April 10, 2013 - 12:33 | Permalink

    I keep expecting “Cool Fire” to turn into “Marquee Moon.” It’s all pretty listenable. The whole project strikes me as a decent try and a more than respectable swan song. A smart guy who knew his sell-buy date was up and went on to do something that he seems to have been good at. He spared us the gruesome hail-mary forays into country and disco that I bet his management urged on him for the next 15 years. God bless him.

  • Ace K
    April 15, 2013 - 09:13 | Permalink

    One of my all-time favorite LP’s. Used to play it all the time in college to frustrate “serious” rock music lovers. What could they say? It turned their world upside down.


    Ace K.

  • Duncan Walls
    April 20, 2013 - 04:46 | Permalink

    This is why I come here (even if I am a bit late this week adjusting to a new work schedule). One of those LPs we laughed at when it came in used at the store, then never listened to…we were too hip by far when this was out and completely missed it. Thanks. I trust TODD and love finding ‘vindicating’ records by who you’d least expect. What fun!
    BTW. anyone who liked Paul Weller to keep checking on him, have you ever found or heard his version of Dave Mason’s Only You Know Or I Know’? Or by that matter any heard of any recording opf the most infamous line-up of Fleetwood Mac doing ‘Onl;y You and I Know’ during the tour for ‘Time’ when Dave Mason was with FM with Bekka Bramlett, Rick Vito & perhaps Billy Burnette? Just wondering….

  • KDNYfm
    April 26, 2013 - 18:31 | Permalink

    Okay now that I’m finished grabbing all the Todd that DonFO so graciously shared, I figured I better check this out…especially after aitoid comparing Rebel Rebel to TPOH…the Bowie single version of RR is one of my fave Bowie songs, and TPOH were such a fun band…and I ‘m not just saying that cuz they’re canucks. If you ever get a chance to hear Moe Berg in an interview, he is a great guy to listen to talk about being a musician. And in case anyone wasnt aware, Todd also produced the first couple major label releases for TPOH.
    Here I go on another bit of a tangent…but I thought the James Cotton album Todd produced was fun too, the hilite being She Moves Me Just Cotton and Johnny Winter…but I also liked Cotton doing Tonite I Wanna Love me A Stranger. As written by one of Todd’s cronies…Mark Klingman…whose solo album would be another cool find!
    Sorry W…but thanx for this.

    • Willard
      April 26, 2013 - 18:52 | Permalink

      Don’t apologize. I can’t even tell you how much I learn from the comments here. For instance, I didn’t know Todd produced TPOH… or, if I did, I totally forgot about it. Thanks.

  • Tracy
    April 5, 2016 - 18:20 | Permalink

    AMAZING post, Willard! I’m a longtime Shaun Cassidy fan — I was a teenager when he was popular, and I still fondly remember Sunday nights spent mesmerized by the Hardy Boys!

    • Willard
      April 5, 2016 - 18:23 | Permalink

      There you go. Thanks for commenting.

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