Todd Rundgren is one of those artists who successfully made the transition from being a pop superstar in the early ’70’s to being a widely respected producer and arranger throughout the late ’70’s and still to this day.
I saw Todd a few times in concert as the Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park back in the mid-70’s and always found his solo piano ballads the best work he’s done. Works like “Hello, It’s Me” and “I Saw the Light” are classic tunes that still occasionally get air play.
Born June 22, 1948 in Upper Darby, PA, a Philly suburb, Todd was in a blues band but soon left to found the band Nazz with bassist Carson Van Osten. Rundgren penned his best known song “Hello, It’s Me” while in Nazz and they had immediate success with the single. It was his first original song. He later re-recorded the song a few different times across his career.
[Trivia note: Carson Van Osten left Nazz to go to Disney Comics as an illustrator of Mickey Mouse and Goofy comic books.]
Rundgren went through a few bands, the most notable of which was Utopia and did a lot of solo work over the following decades. His production work has ranged from some early Janis Joplin (although unreleased) to artists such as XTC, Meatloaf, The Band, New York Dolls, Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Hall & Oates, Patti Smith, The Tubes, and Cheap Trick. The list goes on…
For the casual listener just starting out with Todd you can’t go wrong with The Essential Rundgren. For a bit more depth of his early work go with Something/Anything?.
Happy Birthday Todd Rundgren!!!
- “Hello, It’s Me”
- “I Saw the Light”
- “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference”
- “Love Is the Answer”
- “Bang on the Drum”