Musician Todd Rundgren turns 70

The concept of Deface the Music by Utopia was to pay homage to The Beatles.

Guitar Player, 1977
As I am a big fan of the eclectic, I love the music of Todd Rundgren.

I discovered Nazz, or the Nazz, his first, Philadelphia-based band after the group had already broken up. “‘Open My Eyes’ gained belated recognition thanks to its inclusion in Nuggets (1972), the genre-defining anthology of American 1960s garage punk and psychedelia.” He put out many albums, under various band monikers, reportage of which is a task too convoluted to note here. Check the Wikipedia.

Nor am I going to get into all the albums he produced for other people, including for Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Meatloaf, the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and XTC – look here.

Here’s somebody’s list of The 10 Best Todd Rundgren Albums To Own On Vinyl, FWIW.

Listen! All by Todd Rundgren, unless otherwise indicated; chart action is from Billboard Top 100:

Open My Eyes – Nazz, #112 in 1968
Hello It’s Me – Nazz, #71 in 1969, #66 in 1970 – these songs were the flip sides of each other
Loosen Up – Nazz, parody of Archie Bell and the Drell’s Tighten Up

We Gotta Get You a Woman – Runt, #20 in 1971; it’s unclear if this was a real band or just Todd

I Saw the Light, #16 in 1972
Hello It’s Me, #5 in 1973

Love in Action – Utopia, 1977
Can We Still Be Friends #29 in 1978 – I always find this song extraordinarily sad

Bang The Drum All Day, #63 in 1983; based on his comments playing this with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, Todd thinks this is a really dopey song

Coverville 1222: The Todd Rundgren Cover Story II

Now we get to “the albums that Roger owns on vinyl” section of this post:

Deface the Music – Utopia (1980) – “The concept of the album was to pay homage to The Beatles and create songs which sounded very similar to the Fab Four’s tunes throughout the various stages of their career.” If you appreciate the Rutles, you should get this album.
I Just Want To Touch You
Life Goes On
Everybody Else Is Wrong

Swing to the Right – Utopia (1982)
Swing to the Right
One World

A Cappella (1985)
Something To Fall Back On
Pretending To Care
also
Real Man, from the “A Capella” tour

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “Musician Todd Rundgren turns 70”

  1. By all accounts, Todd does consider “Bang the Drum All Day” a dopey album, but live video of various performances has persuaded me that he’s not going to simply go through the motions: the audience loves it, even if few of them laid out actual cash for Rundgren’s The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect.

    Todd, a two-LP set from 1973, contains a smartassed two-minute number called “An Elpee’s Worth of Toons,” which contains lines like “There’s something at the heart of it that’s simply awful / A man who makes a living off a plastic waffle.”

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