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TODD RUNDGREN

Crossover Prog • United States


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Todd Rundgren biography
Hailing from Upper Derby in Pennsylvania, Rundgren played in several bands in New Jersey and Philadelphia during the mid to late 60's including the blues based Woody's Truck Stop, before forming The Nazz, in 1967. Playing both guitar and bass, Rundgren unapologetically drew inspiration from UK bands such as The Move & The Yardbirds, and, in signing to SGC records, they released Nazz Nazz in 1969.

When the band split, Rundgren simultaneously went in to producing and engineering for Bearsville Records, while forming his own band 'Runt'; a vehicle for his own solo career, the eponymous debut for which he released in 1970, which included the Top 40 hit 'We Gotta Get You A Woman'. It was however his reputation for production which ironically gained momentum, engineering The Band & Jesse Winchester, before Badfinger's 'Straight Up' gave him the hit 'Baby Blue'.

This success enabled him to produce his own, critically acclaimed power pop-oriented double album, 'Something/ Anything?' in 1972, upon which he played every instrument. With the door to success opening to him, he spurned it with future releases, such as 1973's eclectic follow-up, A Wizard, A True Star, and 1974's more progressive Todd, which contained several lengthy, experimental instrumentals. Rundgren's music was at its most progressive with his band Utopia (a band consisting of three keyboard players), which released Todd Rundgren's Utopia and Initiation in 1974 & 75 respectively, and Another Live, which showcased the bands experimental synthesiser work, with epics mostly over 10 minutes long.

During this period, his music addressed cosmic themes, a reflection of his strong interest in far Eastern religion and philosophy. It is this period of Rundgren's solo work, running parallel with 'Utopia' which will be of most interest to the progressive rock fan, as his music not only displayed psychedelic rock influences, but also the avant-garde Jazz Fusion of artists such as Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa. This was underlined by Rundgren's increasingly lavish, ambitious stage settings, which echoed the space-themed shows of acts like Funkedelic & Parliament.

Rundgren's 1976 album Faithful, saw him return to the rock/pop genre which has brought him some success in the early '70s, with a side of original songs, and a side of 60's covers, such as Good Vibrations. This continued with 1978's Hermit Of Mink Hollow, which produced the hit single, 'Can We Still Be friends' which wa...
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Very Best ofVery Best of
Rhino 1997
Audio CD$7.93
$1.55 (used)
White KnightWhite Knight
Cleopatra 2017
Audio CD$8.60
$6.99 (used)
Something / Anything?Something / Anything?
Bearsville 2008
Audio CD$16.47
$10.95 (used)
Todd - Todd RundgrenTodd - Todd Rundgren
Import
Demon 2014
Audio CD$6.84
$19.25 (used)
Evening With Todd Rundgren: Live at the RidgefieldEvening With Todd Rundgren: Live at the Ridgefield
Purple Pyramid 2016
Audio CD$9.49
$11.30 (used)
A Wizard, A True StarA Wizard, A True Star
Rhino Records / Bearsville 1990
Audio CD$9.21
$5.98 (used)
Utopia:live@fox 73Utopia:[email protected] 73
Rockbeat Records 2015
Audio CD$9.71
$9.00 (used)
Anthology 1968-85Anthology 1968-85
Compilation
Rhino 1990
Audio CD$32.81
$1.91 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
TODD RUNDGREN - INITIATION NEW CD USD $16.85 Buy It Now 1h 34m
TODD RUNDGREN & Utopia - Mated (1985) 45 7" NM US PASSPORT RARE LISTEN USD $5.98 Buy It Now 1h 51m
TODD RUNDGREN-WHITE KNIGHT-JAPAN CD BONUS TRACK F08 USD $23.50 Buy It Now 2h 5m
Original Album Series by Todd Rundgren (CD, Mar-2010, Warner Bros.) USD $15.98 Buy It Now 2h 5m
Todd Rundgren - Arena [CD] USD $13.35 Buy It Now 2h 18m
Todd Rundgren's Utopia 70s POP ROCK DJ LP Another Live ORIGINAL 1975 USA ISSUE USD $18.98 Buy It Now 2h 22m
Todd Rundgren / TR-I ?- No World Order (Forward?- R2 71266 CD) USD $10.00 Buy It Now 2h 35m
45 RPM Vinyl Todd Rundgren Cold Morning Light, Hello It's Me Bearsville Rec45SM6 USD $12.59 Buy It Now 2h 42m
Todd Rundgren - a cappella - LP Vinyl Record WB (1985) USD $7.95 Buy It Now 2h 55m
Todd Rundgren Hermit Of Mink Hollow vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $54.81 Buy It Now 3h 2m
Todd Rundgren: An Elpee's Worth Of Productions CD USD $15.00 Buy It Now 3h 20m
18 Sealed 8-Tracks Leo Sayer/Todd Rundgren/Al Kooper/Orleans/Chic/Jo Jo Gunne USD $20.00 Buy It Now 3h 21m
Todd Rundgren,WB, "Something To Fall Back On",US,12" 45 with P/C,PROMO only,Mint USD $11.99 Buy It Now 3h 41m
Todd Rundgren R.I.P. Interview/article 1976 USD $13.17 Buy It Now 3h 59m
Todd Rundgren ?/ Healing (Vinyl LP) USD $12.49 Buy It Now 4h 29m
Todd Rundgren Todd 2LPS 1974 Bearsville Records BR 6952 (VG+ Vinyl) 1st Pressing USD $8.00 Buy It Now 4h 36m
TODD RUNDGREN A Cappella 1985 Warner LP 1-25128 NR/MINT w/lyric sleeve USD $7.44 Buy It Now 4h 47m
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TODD RUNDGREN An Evening with Todd Rundgren Live at the Ridgefield CD/DVD Hello USD $13.99 Buy It Now 5h 2m
TODD RUNDGREN AUTOGRAPHED -"FOR LACK OF HONEST WORK" - 3 CD BOX SET USD $39.99 [0 bids]
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Utopia OOps Wrong Planet /Promo/Todd Rundgren USD $18.00 Buy It Now 5h 47m
RUNT "WE GOTTA GET YOU A WOMAN" X-31001 (1970) 7" 45 SINGLE TODD RUNDGREN USD $3.97 Buy It Now 5h 54m
Utopia, Todd Rundgren 8 Track Lot x3 ~Oops Wrong Planet Adventures In Initiation USD $9.95 Buy It Now 6h 2m
Radio Show: DICK CLARK GOLD 327 1973! CARLY SIMON, TODD RUNDGREN, SYLVIA, PIPS USD $21.99 Buy It Now 6h 10m
Todd Rundgren Hermit Of Mink Hollow Vinyl BRK 6981 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 6h 14m
BONNIE TYLER DUET WITH TODD RUNDGREN Loving You's A Dirty Job But Somebody's USD $6.57 Buy It Now 6h 17m
UTOPIA (TODD RUNDGREN) Swing To The Right LP VINYL UK Bearsville 1982 10 Track USD $6.57 Buy It Now 6h 24m
TODD RUNDGREN Back To The Bars DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Bearsville 1978 20 Track USD $11.71 Buy It Now 6h 25m
TODD RUNDGREN Faithful / Initiation DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Castle 1988 22 Track USD $18.62 Buy It Now 6h 25m
Todd Rundgren Faithful LP Record 1976 Bearsville Records R-143486 USD $5.94 Buy It Now 6h 27m
TODD RUNDGREN State CD European Esoteric 2013 10 Track (Eantcd1017) USD $16.45 Buy It Now 6h 34m
Nazz Self Titled CD Orig 2006 Sanctuary Todd Rundgren 11 Bonus Tracks VERY RARE! USD $49.00 Buy It Now 6h 35m
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TODD RUNDGREN - GOOD VIBRATIONS - PORTUGAL 45 SINGLE USD $9.99 Buy It Now 6h 49m
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TODD RUNDGREN (UTOPIA) the ever popular tortured artist effect US LP/INNER USD $6.74 Buy It Now 7h 12m
TODD RUNDGREN (UTOPIA) healing US ORIGINAL LP Bearsville BHS-3522 / sticker USD $6.74 Buy It Now 7h 12m
TODD RUNDGREN:HERMIT OF MINK HOLLOW (1978 Album) 2016 Bearsville CD - NEW USD $3.94 [0 bids]
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TODD RUNDGREN Global LP VINYL European Esoteric Antenna 2015 12 Track Limited USD $33.83 Buy It Now 7h 34m
TODD RUNDGREN/EMIL NIKOLAISEN/HANS PETER LINDSTROM Rundans DOUBLE LP VINYL USD $18.03 Buy It Now 7h 34m
UTOPIA (TODD RUNDGREN) Oblivion LP VINYL German Wea 1983 10 Track Sleeve Has USD $4.13 Buy It Now 7h 35m
UTOPIA (TODD RUNDGREN) Oblivion LP VINYL US Pastels 1983 10 Track Deletion Cut USD $6.57 Buy It Now 7h 38m
TODD RUNDGREN Healing LP VINYL UK Bearsville 1981 9 Track With Bonus 7" USD $6.57 Buy It Now 7h 38m
TODD RUNDGREN Hermit Of Mink Hollow LP VINYL US Bearsville 1978 12 Track With USD $10.32 Buy It Now 7h 38m
TODD RUNDGREN Healing LP VINYL US Bearsville 1981 9 Track With Bonus 7" In USD $6.57 Buy It Now 7h 38m
TODD RUNDGREN Runt/Hermit Of Mink Hollow DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Castle 1988 22 USD $24.15 Buy It Now 7h 39m
TODD RUNDGREN Bang The Drum All Day 7" VINYL UK Lamborghini 1983 B/W Drive USD $6.57 Buy It Now 7h 42m
TODD RUNDGREN I Saw The Light 7" VINYL UK Bearsville 1972 Promo Copy 3 Track USD $14.47 Buy It Now 7h 43m
TODD RUNDGREN I Saw The Light 7" VINYL UK Bearsville 1972 A Label Design 3 USD $10.32 Buy It Now 7h 46m
TODD RUNDGREN We Got To Get You A Woman/I Saw The Light 7" VINYL US Bearsville USD $6.57 Buy It Now 7h 46m
TODD RUNDGREN Something To Fall Back On 7" VINYL UK Warner Bros 1985 USD $2.77 Buy It Now 7h 49m
UTOPIA (TODD RUNDGREN) Set Me Free 7" VINYL UK Bearsville 1980 B/W Umbrella USD $4.13 Buy It Now 7h 49m
TODD RUNDGREN Initiation + Faithful DOUBLE CD European Edsel 2011 20 Track USD $13.09 Buy It Now 7h 50m
UTOPIA (TODD RUNDGREN) Set Me Free 7" VINYL UK Bearsville 1980 A Label Design USD $6.57 Buy It Now 7h 50m
TODD RUNDGREN Go Ahead Ignore Me: The Best Of DOUBLE CD UK Essential 1999 31 USD $18.62 Buy It Now 7h 50m
TODD RUNDGREN AND UTOPIA Live At The Old Waldorf DOUBLE CD European Esoteric USD $31.06 Buy It Now 7h 51m
Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, A True Star Vinyl LP Record Album BR 2133 VG+ USD $19.99 Buy It Now 8h 3m
TODD RUNDGREN Radio Sampler Patti Smith Interview PROMO ONLY lp USD $34.99 Buy It Now 8h 7m
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What is This LP / Todd Rundgren produced rock trio. MCA USD $6.00 Buy It Now 8h 56m
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Todd Rundgren King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents in Concert 2001 Victor/Japan CD USD $24.99 Buy It Now 9h
Todd Rundgren Time Heals UK 7" vinyl picture disc 7 inch picture disc USD $15.91 Buy It Now 9h 32m
Todd Rundgren Back to the Bars - BEA J8A 6986 - 2 of 2 - 8-Track TESTED! WORKS! USD $2.05 Buy It Now 9h 34m
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TODD RUNDGREN - LIVE at INTERNATIONAL PLAZA BOSTON - CD USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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Todd Rundgren Faithful 1976 8-Track Tape USD $9.95 Buy It Now 10h 22m
Todd Rundgren Something/Anything Rare Colored Promo LP USD $42.88 [13 bids]
10h 30m
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Todd Rundgren A wizard a true star Original USA Die cut cover Lyric sleeve USD $24.99 Buy It Now 11h 51m
Todd Rundgren Rare Hand Signed Vinyl LP Record Initiation Utopia Classic Rock USD $124.99 Buy It Now 11h 59m
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TODD RUNDGREN - GLOBAL CD+DVD NEW+ USD $32.99 Buy It Now 13h 5m
TODD RUNDGREN - A WIZARD, A TRUE STAR [PA] NEW CD USD $11.57 Buy It Now 13h 19m
TODD RUNDGREN Faithful BEARSVILLE LP rock BR6963 VG+ USD $10.00 Buy It Now 13h 44m
TODD RUNDGREN State VINYL 2xLP Sealed 2013 Cherry Red Records USD $23.99 Buy It Now 13h 47m
TODD RUNDGREN Complete Bearsville Box PCCY-00924 CD JAPAN 1996 NEW USD $1,210.62 Buy It Now 13h 51m
TODD RUNDGREN - LIVE AT OLD WALDORF 1978 DOPPEL-CD NEW+ USD $29.19 Buy It Now 14h 11m
Todd Rundgren - Todd Rundgrens Johnson Live [CD] USD $15.66 Buy It Now 14h 32m
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Todd Rundgren - Global [CD] USD $13.35 Buy It Now 14h 36m
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Bonnie Tyler & Todd Rundgren - Loving You's A Dirty Job / same both sides PROMO USD $2.99 Buy It Now 14h 43m
TODD RUNDGREN Hermit Of Mink Hollow NM BEARSVILLE LP inner Sterling Shrink Hype USD $17.95 Buy It Now 15h 50m
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16h
Todd Rundgren - The Individualist [CD] USD $13.35 Buy It Now 16h 7m
TODD RUNDGREN Faithful '76 Solo BEARSVILLE Prog Rock LP USD $5.00 Buy It Now 16h 36m
Todd Rundgren, I Saw The Light / Hello It's Me (7", 45 RPM, Colored) WQJP117 USD $55.00 Buy It Now 18h 24m
TODD RUNDGREN Time Heals 7" VINYL US Bearsville 1981 B/W Tiny Demons (Bhs3522Ep) USD $4.13 Buy It Now 18h 29m
UTOPIA (TODD RUNDGREN) Set Me Free 7" VINYL US Bearsville B/W Umbrella Man USD $2.77 Buy It Now 18h 29m

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TODD RUNDGREN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

TODD RUNDGREN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.03 | 40 ratings
Runt
1970
2.32 | 43 ratings
Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
1971
3.28 | 69 ratings
Something/Anything?
1972
3.98 | 92 ratings
A Wizard, a True Star
1973
3.89 | 72 ratings
Todd
1974
3.77 | 66 ratings
Initiation
1975
2.88 | 40 ratings
Faithful
1976
3.11 | 37 ratings
Hermit of Mink Hollow
1978
2.98 | 31 ratings
Healing
1981
2.02 | 32 ratings
The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect
1983
2.51 | 26 ratings
A Cappella
1985
3.08 | 27 ratings
Nearly Human
1989
2.54 | 23 ratings
2nd Wind
1991
1.67 | 21 ratings
No World Order
1993
2.94 | 12 ratings
No World Order, Lite
1994
2.19 | 14 ratings
The Individualist
1995
2.71 | 9 ratings
With a Twist
1997
2.33 | 3 ratings
Up Against It
1998
2.16 | 12 ratings
One Long Year
2000
3.25 | 21 ratings
Liars
2004
2.85 | 18 ratings
Arena
2008
3.50 | 4 ratings
Todd Rundgren's Johnson
2011
2.00 | 3 ratings
(re)Production
2011
2.28 | 13 ratings
State
2013
2.60 | 5 ratings
Global
2015
3.00 | 3 ratings
Runddans (with Emil Nikolaisen & Hans-Peter Lindstrom)
2015
3.73 | 6 ratings
White Knight
2017

TODD RUNDGREN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 18 ratings
Back to the Bars
1978

TODD RUNDGREN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TODD RUNDGREN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 6 ratings
Anthology (1968 - 1985)
1989
3.08 | 5 ratings
The Very Best of Todd Rundgren
1997
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Best Of Todd Rundgren - Go Ahead. Ignore Me
1999
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Definitive Rock Collection
2006

TODD RUNDGREN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

TODD RUNDGREN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Something/Anything? by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.28 | 69 ratings

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Something/Anything?
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars I really couldn't see the fuss on this album. It's the same feeling I have for the Beatles' White Album. It would have served much better as a single LP as there's too much messing about for a consistent release. "I Saw the Light" and the remake of the old Nazz song from 1968, "Hello, It's Me" were the big hits on this album, the latter having a faster pace than the '68 original. The best stuff is when he takes creative twists to the songs, like "The Night The Carosel Burned Down", the instrumental "Breathless" and "Song of the Viking". "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" is a piano-oriented ballad, but I simply don't care for it, although it sounded like it could become an AM hit at the time. "Hello, It's Me" was originally recorded by Todd's old band, The Nazz, and of course it's the remade version that everyone's familiar with, and I have always enjoyed this song, even when heard on the radio. I hadn't heard this album in years, but I remembered that, for every brilliant song was a song that I could do without. I obviously didn't expect something full-on prog like Utopia's debut, that would be ridiculous. To me, I found A Wizard, a True Star an improvement (although I could do without the medley of soul ballads, as most others can agree on). Certainly Something/Anything is quite diverse but it's really hit or miss, so three stars, it is.
 White Knight by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.73 | 6 ratings

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White Knight
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by cartwing

4 stars the last good or just acceptable Album I heard from Todd was the - to my opinion underrated album "Second wind". I was a fan before I found my way to the world of prog, but I wouldnt describe any of his albums as progressive rock ´with two exceptions. "Initiation" and the first "Utopia" album. So this new album is as far away from anything similar to prog as you can imagiine. BUT it is in fact the first album I could listen to from the beginning to the end without pushing the red button. After "Todd Rundgren and friends" this is another album on which he works together with big names such as Daryl Hall or Donald Fagen. Some good tracks on this one even when you compare it with the last few albums. different Music styles are mixed together here but thats just what makes it special. I guess it deserves 4 stars just for the fact that it is real music again...
 Healing by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.98 | 31 ratings

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Healing
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by CassandraLeo

4 stars It's a bit beyond me why this album has been so overlooked in Rundgren's catalogue. The album is certainly a product of its time, which means that anyone who doesn't like the sound of '80s synthesizers won't find much to enjoy here. It's also true that, because the songs are a bit more low-key than Rundgren's usual fare, they aren't as immediately catchy as many parts of his catalogue are. However, it's unique in Rundgren's catalogue and, as far as I can ascertain, the whole canon of recorded music.

Rundgren eases you into the album with straightforward synth-pop songs, and the last two songs on the CD version are also straightforward synth-pop (they are included as a separate 7" single on the vinyl, which I will discuss later). However, the midsection of the album - "Shine" and the title track - is an effective fusion of synth-pop and progressive rock, and I haven't heard anything else like them. Perhaps someone like Mike Oldfield was attempting similar material at the time, but there's an atmosphere here that's somewhat different from that of Oldfield's work.

I think part of the reason this album often gets overlooked is because it demands too much patience from listeners who are expecting simple pop songs, but it also contrasts with the flashy showmanship of Rundgren's mid- seventies material. "Healing" runs for twenty minutes, and while it's far from a straightforward verse-chorus-bridge pop song (the song is divided into three tracks because they are discrete parts of the work, not merely for ease of CD navigation), it also doesn't rely on displays of instrumental virtuosity like the best of Utopia's material and Rundgren's mid-'70s solo work did. But that's not the point - the point is to take the listener on an elaborate, emotional musical journey that simply wouldn't have been possible in the form of a three-minute pop song.

The title track is clearly going to get the most attention here, though "Shine" may actually hew closer to what is generally expected of prog - it has a more complex arrangement and is closer to, well, rock music. Along with the title track, it is a highlight of the album. The remaining songs are very good pop compositions, though. For me, the standouts among these are "Flesh", which details Rundgren's thoughts on human institutions such as the law, "Compassion", about exactly what its title specifies, and the final two tracks, "Time Heals" and "Tiny Demons".

Rundgren placed these last two songs on a separate 7" single with the vinyl edition of the album, despite the fact that the single combined with the album's B-side (total length 26:40) is actually shorter than the album's A-side (27:08). While this could have been done for reasons of audio fidelity, Rundgren has never been one to shy away from lengthy album sides (the A-side and B-side of Initiation, infamously, run for 32:08 and 35:20 respectively, making it one of the longest single LPs ever released), so it was more likely done to emphasise that they are intended to be considered separately from the title track. They do feel somewhat different in tone from the rest of the album, but I almost always play them after the B-side regardless. "Time Heals" is probably the catchiest song on the entire album, and "Tiny Demons" is a beautiful, subdued ballad that was used on Miami Vice, a TV series often noted for making superb music choices.

Overall, not everyone will love this album, and it demands a lot of patience from the listener before it begins to deliver its gifts. However, it's one of my favourite works Rundgren has released, and I find it comforting in a way that few other musical works can manage. I'm going to give it four stars for my review here because not everything here can be properly considered to be progressive rock, but if I were rating purely on the basis of music quality, I'd award it five stars without hesitation.

 The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.02 | 32 ratings

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The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Walkscore

2 stars Bang on a Drum while you listen to this.

Made solely to complete a record contract he had with Bearsville (which later went bankrupt), this album sees Todd toss off the throwaway pop tunes as quickly as he could. It is mostly uninspired. Perhaps it was when he was feeling the pressure himself that he came up with the anthem-like chant here, "Bang the Drum All Day". Very likely a joke song for him, it is the one track on this album really worth hearing. The song "Drive" is OK too, although not a sufficient draw to make this album worth purchasing. On the whole the songs are not too too bad, but they are not sufficiently interesting or memorable. Mostly just blah. I give this album 3.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to low 2 PA stars. But that one hit makes me want to go play the drums all day...

 Hermit of Mink Hollow by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.11 | 37 ratings

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Hermit of Mink Hollow
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars The Best post-Wizard Solo Studio Album.

Here, Rundgren continues with the kind of short, thoughtful, and well-crafted songs that he put on side 2 of Faithful, but writes generally stronger material. Indeed, this album contains some of Rundgren's better lyrics. It is intelligent and accessible, but not overly-poppy. This is often considered his best solo album by mainstream critics, but of course, they are less likely to be able to sit through Wizard. I agree that this is one of his best solo albums, more consistent than either Faithful, Something/Anything, or (especially) Todd, and better than most of his solo work that would come afterwards. But it is also clear that his energy for creating innovative new forms of music - so evident on Wizard and TR's Utopia - had waned. This is not in the same league at all as Wizard. But I like it better than Something/Anything. Thankfully, all the songs are decent, and one can listen to this album all the way through without having to hit skip. The songs on Side 2 are particularly good ("Bread", "Bag Lady", "Lucky Guy") and on this album Rundgren lyrics contain social commentary and a more mature adult outlook. So, recommended. I give this album 7.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to high 3 PA stars.

 Faithful by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.88 | 40 ratings

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Faithful
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Walkscore

2 stars Side 2 OK, but a pointless 'concept' Side 1.

The title of this album refers to the fact that Rundgren chose to record cover versions of some of his favourite rock songs, and to be as faithful to the originals as possible. This he does no side 1, with cover versions of the Beach Boys ("Good Vibrations"), the Beatles ("Rain", "Strawberry Fields"), Bob Dylan ("Most Likely Go Your Way...") and Hendrix ("If 6 Was 9") among others. While Rundgren shows he can do an amazing job of copying some of the vintage sounds, what is the point? Why would we want to listen to these versions? Don't get me wrong - I support artists making cover versions of classic songs - but I am most interested in hearing where they take the song that is different from the originals, turning into something new and different. That is the art in covering and interpreting other's music. I don't know why he thought we would want to listen to him being faithful to the originals.

However, side 2 is different, with 6 original Rundgren songs. One of these, "Love of the Common Man" is a Rundgren classic, and up there with the best Rundgren songs. "Black and White" and "The Verb to Love" are also decent, although pretty poppy and not that progressive. The last piece, "Boogies", has some good guitar playing, but sounds like filler. (But isn't all of side 1 filler?). I am not sure why Rundgren didn't just record a full album of originals. As it turns out, there are only a few original songs making one want to get this album. The general quality is not low, per se, but most of it is simply pointless. I give this album 4.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 2 PA stars. Really, only for fans (and even then, mostly for the excellent "Love of the Common Man").

 Initiation by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.77 | 66 ratings

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Initiation
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Some Gems, but what happened to that epic?

This album is quite different on each side. On side 1 you have individual songs, some of which are excellent Rundgren radio-friendly songs ("Real Man") and some which are excellent Utopia-like progressive rock pieces ("Initiation" and "Fair Warning"). Even "Born to Synthesize", his synth experiment on this album, is decent and listenable. The second side seems to me to be a case of Rundgren losing steam. It is a 36-minute long song, but not one like The Ikon (from TR's Utopia) with a full band and guitar solos, etc, but instead just Todd on synthesizers and no vocals. It seems to me from listening to this, that Rundgren had intended to write another 30-minute progressive rock epic, like The Ikon, and this track is his sketching out of the piece in the studio. But somewhere along the way, he lost energy and/or interest in turning this into a progressive rock epic, and so just released the sketch he did largely with just the synths, and without writing the vocals. As such, it feels unfinished. There are some decent parts - it really could have been a great composition! But it is also clear it was intended to have vocals - there are sections where the chord changes are begging for a vocal overlay, which never came. After this album, Rundgren went back to writing only short songs. I think it was during this album that he found he just didn't have the energy needed to create another epic - it is the point at which you can see the huge potential Rundgren displayed in writing 'Todd Rundgren's Utopia' (the first Utopia album) and the great 'A Wizard A True Star' dissipate. From this point on, Rundgren would become a craftman of quality rock/pop. This album still has hints of Rundgren's innovative and progressive potential, but it is a potential that remained largely unrealized (except for the three great songs on side one). I give this 5.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to low 3 PA stars.

 Todd by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 72 ratings

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Todd
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Walkscore

2 stars A Failed Experiment. Should also have been a single album.

While Wizard saw Rundgren takes risks that paid off hugely, Todd largely falls flat. It is full of short synth instrumentals and experiments that only sometimes work, and which disrupt the flow of the real music so much that it is very difficult to listen to this album all the way through. There are some gems here, but they are a minority, and are scattered in such a way that one needs to hit skip all the time. "A Dream Goes on Forever" is classic Rundgren, and was the single from this album, very nice (if poppy) song. "Heavy Metal Kids" and "Sons of 1984" are important Rundgren songs that were played live by his band (both solo bands and later Utopia), although I don't think either is that musical. However, there is one amazing 10/10 song here: "The Last Ride". This is a fantastic rock tune, not really progressive but it has a great, classic, guitar solo, among Rundgren's top five songs. Other than this, the picking are rather slim. I give this album 3.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to lower 2 PA stars. Other than "The Last Ride", only for fans.

 A Wizard, a True Star by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.98 | 92 ratings

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A Wizard, a True Star
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars His Best Solo Album, although not as good as the first Utopia album.

It is amazing to think this was made right after 'Something/Anything'. While the latter is light and poppy (and yet also too long!), 'Wizard' is innovative, provocative, soulful, counter-cultural. Made around the same time as the first Utopia album, this album also features Moogy Klingman on keys. The two albums are complementary, yet totally different. While TR's Utopia is a symphony of highly complex, virtuoso but beautiful music all flowing together perfectly, Wizard involves a collage of short and often whimsical fragments thrown together in order to disrupt and provoke, often with humour. Utopia is by far the higher achievement, and a far more musical album. But Wizard also deserves special recognition, as only on some of Zappa's earlier albums (eg "We're Only In It...") does this kind of collage work so well. The first side starts and ends with "International Feel", which clearly shows its lineage to the music on Utopia, with very short snippets filling the space between them, some great, some that don't work so well as music, but all of which maintain the collage momentum. The second side contains longer and more soulful pieces, some of which seaugue or collage, others which stand on their own. The hit from this album, "Sometimes I don't know what to Feel" is a great Rundgren soul tune. But the real standout here is "Just One Victory", probably Rundgren's best solo song, and often played live by Utopia later on. In between, Rundgren has a few humourous but good-quality tunes, such as "Hungry for Love" and "Is It My Name?", and a four-part medley of some of his favourite soul pieces (one of which - "Cool Jerk" - Rundgren put into 7/8 time instead of 4/4). While the musicality is up and down on this album, it is Rundgren's most inventive, and contains some of his best solo songs. I give it 8.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is on the higher end of 4 PA stars.

 Something/Anything? by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.28 | 69 ratings

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Something/Anything?
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Should have been a single album.

While I normally support putting out more, rather than less, music, if just because what the record companies think is worth selling is often inferior to the experimental or marginal tunes many artists come up with, I take the opposite argument with many Rundgren double-albums. This album epitomizes the issue (and 'Todd' is even worse!). Released as a double album, it contains a lot of filler that after a few listens becomes unlistenable. However, there IS some good music on this album (and others), if you are willing to wade through it. Indeed, I find there is about one single-album's worth of good tunes on this. His single "Saw the Light" is, well, light but good, as are the fluffier poppier tunes of "It wouldn't have made any difference" and his remake of "Hello its me". Other notables include "Wolfman Jack", "Sweeter Memories", "Black Maria", "The Night the Carousel burnt down", and the closers "You Left me Sore" and "Slut". Even with just these tunes - making up a single album - the quality is just 'good'. It is mostly light pop - high quality at times - but nothing to write home about. I give this album 5.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is at the low end of 3 PA stars. Much better albums would be forthcoming after this one.

Thanks to Fandango for the artist addition.

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