Personnel: Todd Rundgren (vocals, guitar, sitar, piano, keyboards, synthesizer, percussion); Rick Derringer (guitar, bass); Bob Rose (guitar); Dave Sanborn, Edgar Winter (saxophone); Roger Powell (nose flute, synthesizer); Moogy Klingman (organ); Ralph Schuckett (clavinet); John Siegler, Dan Hartman (bass); Kevin Ellman, John Wilcox, Roy Markowitz, Bernard Purdie, Rick Marotta, Chris Parker, Barry Lazarowitz (drums); Barbara Burton, Lee Pastora (percussion).
INITIATION took a lot of notice when it was first released in 1975, because of its technical oddity: at 68 minutes, it was and remains the longest single-disc-vinyl pop album ever, longer than some two-LP sets. Over half of that length is taken up by the 36-minute exploration "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire." Bookended by pyrotechnic guitar solos, most of the piece consists of a lengthy synthesizer solo that actually sounds like a lot of the electronica acts that appeared two decades later.
The other half of the album contains a pair of Rundgren's trademark pop-soul gems, "Real Man" and the title track; the SMILE-era Beach Boys homage "Eastern Intrigue," which foreshadows the genre exercises of Rundgren's next album, FAITHFUL; and an odd layered-vocals experiment called "Born to Synthesize." INITIATION is the first taste of the restless stylistic exploration that dominates the rest of Rundgren's career.