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Todd Rundgren (Official Thread)

Discussion in '70's Music' started by Tattoo'd Lady, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. runtfan

    runtfan Senior Member

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    As many of you may have guessed, I'm a HUGE Todd Rundgren fan ( ncluding The Nazz and Utopia). My love of his music began after about three songs into Utopia's show in 1981. Until then I had only heard a few of his best known songs. I liked those songs but he hadn't really been on my radar at all. I went to the concert and left a Rundgren fan. His singing, the songs, the style...it all just hit me where I live. His music has been all over the map in his 40+ years of making music. He very early on mastered the power pop and ballads he's probably best known for. His "Something/Anything?" album (1972) is a pop masterpiece. It's a double album and three of the four sides are completely a one man show - he wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, and produced. Of course just as he hit the pinnacle of his craft, he got tired of it and moved on to something else - a pattern that follows to this day. It probably cost him much wealth and fame but he didn't want to be pigeon-holed as a pop star. He moved into more psychedelic, progressive, fusion, and experimental music for the next several years. It wasn't until the late 70's that he moved back towards more pop and soul influenced music.
    He has always been busy as a producer ( well, since the tail end of the 60's onward). He's produced some of the best albums from a host of artists of all stripes...The Band, Badfinger, Grand Funk, The New York Dolls debut, Rick Derringer, Steve Hillage, The Tubes, Tom Robinson, Sparks, Patti Smith, Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell album, Cheap Trick, XTC's Skylarking, Jill Sobule, The Pursuit Of Happiness...and the list goes on.
    I have just about all his albums ( there's several live bootlegs that got released several years ago that I don't have). It's hard to pick the best of the bunch - there's some masterpieces and none that really suck. Some of my very favorites are Something/Anything?, A Wizard A True Star, Faithful, Hermit of Mink Hollow, Nearly Human, and his latest release (2008) - Arena. These are all damn near perfect in my eyes. From 1974 through 1985 he was concurrently releasing Utopia albums as well. The early Utopia albums were prog/fusion with great vocals and loaded with great hooks and great playing. The mid-to-late Utopia albums moved more towards pop/rock but always maintained an edge. My favorite Utopia albums are...well, ALL of them.
    I've seen him live about 15 times ( three of those with Utopia). I've seen him with several different configurations...solo, one man shows...with a rock band...with a big band complete with backup singers, horns, etc....with an 11-voice choir and no band...in the multimedia "Todd Pod"...always a good show.
    He's still going strong at 61. Currently touring playing the entire A Wizard A True Star album live with a band that includes former Utopia members, Jesse Gress ( Tony Levin Band guitarist and long time Todd sidekick), Prairie Prince -drummer from The Tubes, Greg Hawkes fron The Cars. I haven't seen the Wizard live show but if they come anywhere near Dallas, I'm there. I got to meet him a couple of times in the last few years, including after a House of Blues show that I took my daughter to.

    Highly recommended. No matter what you like, Todd's got something for ya.
     
  2. kath

    kath astronomy domino's™

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    todd todd todd todd.
    as runtfan already knows... i am also a HUGE todd fan. broke my foot dancing around like an idjut to the song wolfman jack when i was eleven. then i almost broke todd's foot during the a cappella tour when i kinda sorta fell right on top of it. ahhh, the circle of life.
    saw him last april for the arena tour in memphis. rocked my ample ass clean off. the wiz thing aint coming anywhere near me, alas. sniff.

    my love of all things todd would take far too long to delve into here, and i am allegedly cooking dinner. suffice it to say the man is a genius. (hey runtfan, did ya ever see the footage of him at daryl hall's place? a kickass lil episode, that was.)

    uh oh. smoke alarm. god, i hate when that happens.
     
  3. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    Runtfan please give me a list of Todd's work in order of your preference, or what you consider "must haves" and I'll give him another listen.

    Kath...what can I say you crack me up...:lmao:
     
  4. runtfan

    runtfan Senior Member

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    Yeah, I did see it and, yes, it was pretty cool :grinthumb

    (Nice to see ya around, kath...don't be a stranger! )
     
  5. runtfan

    runtfan Senior Member

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    OK, I'll do my best :D

    Either of the first two Nazz albums ( Nazz and Nazz Nazz...both from 1968)

    Something/Anything? (1972) - a do-it-yourself masterpiece with a wide variety of styles and includes "Hello It's Me" and "I Saw The Light".

    A Wizard A True Star (1973) - a psychedelic/ pop/ rock/ soul/ synth-soaked freak out. Contains "Just One Victory" - shoulda been a hit and it's been played at the vast majority of Rundgren or Utopia shows since it's release ( the Utopian National Anthem)

    Todd Rundgren's Utopia (1974) - great American prog/fusion with a six piece band...great singing and solos galore.

    Faithful (1976)- first side is all note-for-note, spot on covers ( all songs from the 60's...Hendrix, Beatles, Beach Boys, Dylan, Yardbirds)...second side includes some of Todd's best tunes.

    Hermit Of Mink Hollow (1978) - another one man show album, and Todd had really learned how to sing at this point. Very strong songwriting and includes "Can We Still Be Friends"

    Nearly Human (1989) - awesome songs, outstanding vocals, great sounding album mostly recorded live in the studio ( as opposed to earlier overdubfests)


    I'd also highly recommend almost any Utopia album, especially the earliest few and P.O.V., their final album.


    I'd be more than happy to advise further :cheers:

    BTW, after writing this I realized this is more chronological than in order of preference, but any of these are a good place to start and none of them will give you the whole picture.
     
  6. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    Thanks for the rec's RF, I'll be back when I have checked out the ones you mentioned.:hab:
     
  7. Odysseus

    Odysseus Kustom Kartilage

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    [QUOTE Faithful (1976)- first side is all note-for-note, spot on covers ( all songs from the 60's...Hendrix, Beatles, Beach Boys, Dylan, Yardbirds)...second side includes some of Todd's best tunes.
    [/QUOTE]


    I bought that album in the early 80's. It remains a favorite Todd solo work of mine.:grinthumb
     
  8. Mr. T

    Mr. T Banned

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    Add me to the list of BIG TIME Todd fans. I have every studio album from Nazz, Utopia and his solo stuff as well as a number of bootlegs and "live". Love him or hate him, the man is a genius. I see runtfan has covered him well already but since this thread has been dormant for a while I'll add that his last 2 albums, Liars (2004) and Arena (2008) are both some of his best work in years! As some like to say... Todd is God!
     
  9. TheSound

    TheSound An Englishman in New York

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    Nobody mentioned two amazing Utopia albums, Ra, and Oops! Wrong Planet.

    I was pretty keen on Todd Rundgren for a while, amazing song writer and producer.

    He actually produced Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell album, one of the biggest selling albums in history, and should get more of the credit for that amazing wall of sound on that record.
     
  10. joe

    joe Senior Member

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    Re: Todd Rundgren

    Rhino Records re-issued all three Nazz albums on vinyl back in the early 80's. The first two are with Todd but the third his vocals were erased. The first is the best IMO.



    Here's a great tune from his first solo album, Runt:



    Something/Anything is a classic. 10/10

    A Wizard, A True Star is completely a different beast. Quite a contrast. Experimentation. Some of it brilliant, while some of it....

    Utopia never did much for me except the first album. Progressive in a noodling sense.

    Rundgren has to be one of the most underrated musicians/producers in music history IMO.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2013

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