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TODD RUNDGREN

Crossover Prog • United States


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Todd Rundgren biography
Todd Harry Rundgren - Born June 22, 1948 (Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, USA)

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 19...
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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)

3.02 | 45 ratings
Runt
1970
2.35 | 50 ratings
Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
1971
3.44 | 81 ratings
Something / Anything ?
1972
3.98 | 110 ratings
A Wizard, a True Star
1973
3.89 | 89 ratings
Todd
1974
3.88 | 82 ratings
Initiation
1975
3.01 | 46 ratings
Faithful
1976
3.11 | 46 ratings
Hermit Of Mink Hollow
1978
2.98 | 38 ratings
Healing
1981
2.06 | 36 ratings
The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect
1982
2.49 | 29 ratings
A Cappella
1985
3.08 | 29 ratings
Nearly Human
1989
2.53 | 24 ratings
2nd Wind
1991
1.70 | 25 ratings
No World Order
1993
2.61 | 13 ratings
No World Order - Lite
1994
2.15 | 14 ratings
The Individualist
1995
2.86 | 9 ratings
With A Twist ...
1997
2.50 | 3 ratings
Up Against It !
1998
2.13 | 12 ratings
One Long Year
2000
3.26 | 23 ratings
Liars
2004
2.90 | 20 ratings
Arena
2008
3.80 | 5 ratings
Todd Rundgren's Johnson
2011
3.00 | 4 ratings
(re)Production
2011
2.31 | 15 ratings
State
2013
2.67 | 6 ratings
Global
2015
3.05 | 4 ratings
Todd Rundgren, Emil Nikolaisen & Hans-Peter Lindstrom: Runddans
2015
3.65 | 11 ratings
White Knight
2017

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

3.62 | 20 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)

3.27 | 7 ratings
Anthology (1968 - 1985)
1989
3.16 | 6 ratings
The Very Best of Todd Rundgren
1997
4.75 | 4 ratings
The Best Of Todd Rundgren - Go Ahead. Ignore Me
1999
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Definitive Rock Collection
2006

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Hello It's Me / Cold Morning Light
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Saw the Light / Marlene
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Something
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Love of the Common Man
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Good Vibrations / When I Pray
1976

TODD RUNDGREN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Initiation by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.88 | 82 ratings

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Initiation
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

5 stars This is Todd's "initiation" into full-blown synth-based prog rock after a few albums that tended to lean more towards pop rock and quirkiness. I like Todd's ballads and popular songs just fine, but I LOVE his prog efforts. And this is GREAT!

The overall theme of the album is so inspiring and thought-provoking, dealing with his search for spirituality and self-realization. The lyrics are absolutely perfect - motivating in "Real Man", psyched-up in "Initiation", contemplative yet determined in "Fair Warning", and typically humorous in "Eastern Intrigue" and "Death of Rock 'n' Roll". That's the strength and beauty of this album: the perfect blend of message with melody and instrumentation.

Oh, and don't overlook some simply STUNNING sax solos - Dave Sanborn provides some fireworks on the title track, while Edgar Winter(!) blows his way beautifully all around "Fair Warning". (You won't find that kind of sax work on any other Todd cd.)

And what about the 36-minute side-2 epic, "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire"? You either love it or hate it. It deteriorates into a bit of "needless noodling" at times perhaps, but this is a dreamy, fun, electronic trip into space and back again - with MUSIC, not just random sound effects. I LOVE it. Todd plays all of the instruments on this track, which features a lot of keyboards. During the opening few minutes though, Todd reminds us that he's also a pretty great guitarist as he wails out on one of his best guitar solos ever!

I've seen too many reviewers go overboard with superlatives on other cd reviews, so I'll try to remain rational. But this goes into my top 5 list of personal favorite all-time albums (along with Yes' "Tales from Topographic Oceans", Genesis' "A Trick of the Tail", Jean-Luc Ponty's "Enigmatic Ocean", and Renaissance's "Live at Carnegie Hall").

Hey, in the liner notes, Todd even thanks you for buying the album! Get it! (And now you know where I got my ProgArchives avatar from... ;-)

 Todd by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 89 ratings

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Todd
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is where Todd Rundgren clicks for me - briefly, before losing me completely. On this double album he takes the power pop ballad style of Something/Anything and the rampant experimentalism of A Wizard. A True Star and attempts to reach a balance point between the two. In the end, I suspect Todd's instincts lie more in the progressive direction than pop, with the end result being just as expansive a stylistic smorgasboard as the preceding album - but this time around, all the different musical ideas are given just enough room to breathe whilst still being kept disciplined enough to prevent them outstaying their welcome individually. As an album, though, it's a slog, with Todd's continued displaying of his studio tricks descending into flashy technical showing-off.
 A Wizard, a True Star by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.98 | 110 ratings

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A Wizard, a True Star
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Something/Anything was a big commercial and critical success, he was branded as the male answer to Carole King, which I guess he didn't want that comparison, so he purposely made his followup, A Wizard, A True Star to be very different. Much more quirky, twisted, and experimental, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Frank Zappa was a big influence on him at this point. "International Feel" sounds pretty normal, but a great piece. It sorta reminds me of Spirit's "Mr. Skin" if dominated by clavinet, but then after that it's clear that he really took the VCS-3 synthesizer to much greater use (he used it in a more low-key manner on Something/Anything), here he uses it frequently for strange electronic effects. He was purposely trying to record an album that won't give a hit single, and I'm not too surprised if this irritated the rock critics at the time. I have to admit I never cared for the medley of soul and Motown songs, it just doesn't fit too well with the more artsy and experimental pop surrounding the album. Regardless, listening to this, it's little surprise that he would actually explore prog rock for real with Utopia the following year. The more mainstream crowd would be more comfortable with Something/Anything, but for the more adventurous, if you forget about that soul/Motown medley, this is really some great stuff and worth having.
 No World Order - Lite by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.61 | 13 ratings

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No World Order - Lite
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by ghost_of_morphy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Todd has never been afraid of experimenting in different genres, as he shows here.

No World Order was a gimmicky release designed to let te listener simulate certain aspects of engineering an album. Certainly this was an interesting idea, but the resulting tracks had an incomplete sound to them.

A year later, Todd released No World Order Lite, incorporating this material in a more traditional and more listenable format. Todd has significantly updated his sound. incorporating elements of rap and hip hop along with a ponderous array of studio manipulated sound. Rap. hip hop, excessively manipulated sound.... that pretty much sums up the low points of this album, and those low points are pervasive.

On the other hand, the actual songs (the ones that are really songs) show some glimmers of interest here and there. Yes, this album is forgettable, but parts of it are quite pleasant and nearly all of it is listenable. Two stars for this confusing mish mash that occasionally melds into coherence.

 Something / Anything ? by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 81 ratings

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Something / Anything ?
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

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
3.65 | 11 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 | 38 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, 1982
2.06 | 36 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 | 46 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
3.01 | 46 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").

Thanks to Fandango for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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