While calling themselves Halfnelson in the late 1960s, brothers Ron and Russell Mael came to the attention of Rundgren while he was working for Albert Grossman. At Rundgren’s urging Grossman signed Halfnelson, and after the duo rebranded as Sparks they had their first minor hit with “Wonder Girl”. The rest is art pop history.
Their latest collaboration is bonkers fun. “Everybody loves it when you do your fandango,” Sparks sing. “When you do your fandango/ When you do your fandango.” There’s a harpsichord breakdown, and Rundgren sings his parts in a goofy accent: “In a bright pink tuxedo/ Or a little tiny speedo/ You make everyone’s libido/ Stop and say ‘Oh Yes Indeedo.'”
In a February interview with Salon, Rundgren talked about how the song came together, explaining,
“They sent me something that I guess they had done. What often happens is I’ll get something from another artist. And it’ll be a demo for a song that they worked on, but then they never finished it. They lost interest in it or something like that.
“So they sent me this song that sounded substantially like a finished product, except for the fact that I think there was some placeholder stuff that was meant to be developed a little further and they just never got around to it. I started just dressing it up and adding some vocal parts, writing some lyrics for it. And, in the end, you know — they sent me the track, I sent back what I did to them. We were both happy with it, and the label’s happy with it because they’re going to put it out.”
Check out the song below.
Sparks’ reunion with Rundgren comes at an especially apt time, as the band is amidst a career retrospective. After debuting to rave reviews at Sundance earlier this year, Edgar Wright will premiere his new documentary, The Sparks Brothers, in North American theaters on June 18th. We recently spoke to Sparks and Wright about the documentary for a video interview you can find below.