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Wednesday, October 05, 2011
 
Todd Rundgren had a couple of monster hits in the early 1970s, with Hello It's Me:



And I Saw the Light:


He popped up again on the charts about a decade later with the novelty song Bang on the Drum All Day:


But before, during and after this phase Rundgren had an incredible career as a hard rocker, phenomenally successful record producer, and musical innovator.  As an example of his hard rock chops, consider these two selections from his initial band, The Nazz:

 

Rundgren produced the phenomenally successful Meatloaf album, Bat Out of Hell, which currently ranks as the fifth best-selling album of all time.  And in the mid-1970s he created the innovative synthesizer band, Utopia, which later became a more conventional rock band.  Here's Part I of the Ikon from the first Utopia album:


Utopia's Singring and the Glass Guitar was something of a Lord of the Rings for rock and roll:

I particularly like the opening to part II of this song, especially the drumming:


Be sure also to catch the ending of that track, starting around 6:45.  Granted, the narration tying the segments together gets annoying, but the music is terrific.

Rundgren's politics were pretty consistently leftist, although there are only a few songs here and there where the message overwhelms the music.  He is definitely one of the few musicians of the rock era where the label "genius" seems appropriate.
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