Getting into Todd Rundgren - where to next?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by warewolf95, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greenville, SC
    So Todd is an artist that's been on my radar for a couple years ever since I discovered XTC and Skylarking became one of my favorite albums of all time.

    This year he just keeps popping up in things I'm reading or I keep hearing about him randomly, etc.

    Eventually I gave into curiosity and so far I've heard the first Utopia album and a few of 80's Utopia albums, mainly POV and "Utopia" with the red "U".

    I freaking loved the first Utopia album - blew my mind! All those guitars swirling all over the place! The energy! Wow! Made me rock out hard. I've never had a 30 minute track fly by like that. And I'm a Deadhead and Dream Theater fanboy. :D

    And the 80's discs I've heard so far completely appeal to my pop rock and Beatles love.

    Is this the gist of Todd? How much more varied is he? I know he has a crap ton of albums overall and seems to be something of a Frank Zappa in that regard, doing a million different things.

    Any suggestions for my next listen? :)
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  2. malco49

    malco49 Forum Resident

    nazz and then his first four or five solo records
  3. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greenville, SC
    That's right, I forgot to mention I've heard the Nazz albums too and those were great.
  4. Something/Anything? seems like it's the default starting point for most Todd listeners, but it seems like you are way past that! I recommend A Wizard, A True Star next. It took me a few listens to get into the album. It sounds to me that you'd also like Initiation and the rest of Utopia's albums.
    ccbarr, Rfreeman, Crispy Rob and 3 others like this.
  5. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    S/A, then Wizard A True Star, then Todd, then the two Runt lps.
    If you're still on board, go to The Hermit of Mink Hollow and Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect.
    Be aware many of these lps are not exactly considered masterpieces of perfect sound.

    Utopia is a different story--it starts as Todd masquerading as Yes, then morphs into pop.
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  6. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greenville, SC
    The more I randomly sample Utopia the more I can say you're right about that. What makes Something/Anything good in your opinion? :)
  7. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greenville, SC
    The Yes bit I totally hear. The first thing I thought of when I played the first Utopia was of The Yes Album. :D

    What's the deal with the two Runt LP's anyway? Any thematic connection or do they just happen to share a title.

    Also, for someone that I thought was considered a pretty good producer (Skylarking is one of the best sounding albums I've ever heard), most of what I've heard from Todd/Utopia so far does indeed....not exactly SOUND amazing.
  8. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I'm out eating Chinese at the moment, just posting to remember this thread. I'll be back.
  9. jkauff

    jkauff Putin-funded Forum Troll

    Akron, OH
    Totally agree with the Wizard suggestion--still my favorite Todd album. If you want to get a little more current, the Liars album from a few years back was something of a comeback.

    Also, since you like Todd the producer, you could check out Re-Production, which is Todd covering many of the songs he produced for other people. His version of Badfinger's "Take It All" is especially nice.
    riskylogic, Crispy Rob and warewolf95 like this.
  10. telecode101

    telecode101 Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    I am a huge Rundgren nut. I also collect records he produces.

    I think if you like the Utopia progressive rock stuff. I would suggest you must check out RA and Adventures in Utopia. Those along with the first record are my fav Utopia records.

    Rundgrens own records are as you stated, the songs are influenced by some Beatles, some Philly soul (he's from Philly), rock, prog rock and other popular genres.

    He made a lot of records and I tend to divide them into the singer songwriter era (Runt, Ballad), the record production wiz era (From something anything to A Cappella), and also into the pre-vocalist and post-vocalist era. The divisor for vocalists era in the catalog is the A Cappella record IMO. That was the one where he focused on the vocal as a new instrument to heavily improve and use as a tool to get his music across. So the vocal performances improve significantly from I would estimate the early 80s onwards. Nearly Human and 2nd Wind are probably his stronger vocal years.
    ccbarr, rodentdog and warewolf95 like this.
  11. footlooseman

    footlooseman Forum Resident

    i know you like live releases so get this one

    Crispy Rob, Grampire and boboquisp like this.
  12. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident

    1060 W.Addison
    I'd venture that S/A is maybe one of the more accessible albums, certainly with a couple of radio hits; but my guess this may be more up your alley as far as an order: Wizard, A True Star; Todd; S/A; Mink Hollow; the Runts. Granted I'm not the expert you'll find showing up soon. There was nice box set put out recently, I am really happy with the sound of it. Todd Rundgren - The Complete Bearsville Albums Collection
  13. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greenville, SC
    Thanks for the awesome post!

    I read about A Capella - is it as cool as it sounds? It sounds like the kind of album that either would be horribly dated or would be awesome. :)
    Can't wait to hear it.

    Is that his only album constructed as such?
  14. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    Runt was a half hearted attempt by Todd to form a band, but when you read the book, you find they rarely played live and Todd was becoming an anal studio hound.
    Try to find the cd that duplicates the long version of the first Runt lp--it has a great song called Say No More that is very haunting. It was deleted from the 'normal' issue of Runt.
  15. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greenville, SC
    I'll be here waiting. :)

    Thanks for the suggestions Pete. :)
    bmoregnr likes this.
  16. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    Runt was sort of a band, with Todd using the Sales Brothers (Hunt and Tony) as a rhythm section. But they are basically both Todd solo albums, similar to Something/Anything?. Quite good too, I think, although not as proggy as Utopia.
    warewolf95 likes this.
  17. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greenville, SC
    Thanks for the tipoff!
  18. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    Todd taking on ELO and doing very well, thank you

    warewolf95 likes this.
  19. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    And Todd, off the rails, going all out to let his freak flag fly (and solo at the end like his fingers are on fire):

    (Damn, I love this track!)
  20. WonkyWilly

    WonkyWilly Forum Resident

    Paradise, PA
    I like everything up to "Todd". After that, I fall asleep.
  21. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

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  22. kaztor

    kaztor Forum Resident

    The Toddster is an eccentric par excellence. He likes to push (and often overthrow) boundaries.

    Listen to King Kong Reggae on Todd, for instance.
    A song that's so overproduced I bet the master tape for it has disappeared into osmosis by now.:D
  23. Crispy Rob likes this.
  24. drewslo

    drewslo Forum Resident

    With Todd, suggestions can be all over the map. My favorite is "Healing" (album cover to the left). "Hermit Of Mink Hollow" is a beautiful album. I could name a bunch more but such a large a diverse catalogue that you will have such fun exploring.
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  25. WilliamWes

    WilliamWes Forum Resident

    New York
    Chris DeVoe really knows Todd better than anyone here, but just for some quick write-ups of the first few...

    The best would just be chronological since his first 4 albums show incredible growth into one of the great all-time cult albums Todd from 1974. Just listen to them on YouTube and you'll hear the progression to progressive rock.

    Runt 1970: A mix of pop and some rock with the lighthearted hit "We Gotta Get You a Woman". A bit rocky in points but overall a good album.

    Runt: The Ballad of Todd 1971: Some of the best pop compositions of all time. Many piano ballads, slow and low songs with unbelievable melodies influenced by Laura Nyro but topping her when it comes to melody.

    Something Anything 1972: Todd plays every instrument on 3/4 of the 2-LP. Again some of the greatest pop compositions plus excellent production work not found on the prior two records. Funny mock storyline for side 4 with all live takes including his all-time hit "Hello It's Me. Also features "I Saw the Light". But it's the incredible album tracks - the softer ones. The rock songs are probably the weak points of the album but it's his best and most popular album.

    A Wizard, A True Star 1973: A left turn into experimental pop/rock that feels way more adventurous stylistically and in its production. Opens with a medley of short songs before reaching the regular length tracks. The songwriting is not quite as good but it feels like a carnival of an album. Exciting.

    Todd 1974: A production wonder of a left turn, deepening the prog and psych aspects with amazing intelligent sounds and tones but focuses less on songwriting despite some great tracks.
    By doing it chronologically, you'll appreciate how his music branched out further and further. From there you can take on early Utopia which is as experimental as Todd gets (Other than A Capella)
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