Hammering Gods, “Todd Is God!” – Todd Rundgren and Three Dog Nightmare!

Look at these Golden Gods! Behold the majesty that was Led Zeppelin – often imitated but never bettered, they were the pinnacle of Rock in the 70’s…
and boy, did they know how to party! I’ve got the ultimate look at that, plus:

If you don’t know the face above, then you are missing out on one of music’s most eclectic and talented performers, and a master in the studio.

Finally, we’ve got your “three dog nightmare!”

Three Dog Nightmare! The Chuck Negron Story by Chuck Negron with Chris Blatchford – published in 2000

Do you recognize any of these songs? “Joy To The World”, “Celebrate”, “An Old Fashioned Love Song” or “Easy To Be Hard?” If so, then you know the group known as “Three Dog Night”. A large group of musicians fronted by 3 lead singers – Cory Wells, Danny Hutton and Chuck Negron.

First, the name. “A label called White Whale Records wanted to sign us immediately but we decided to see who else was interested. We did a showcase at the Troubadour in Los Angeles and a bidding war started. We ended up signing with Dunhill-ABC Records, but we still needed a name,” founding singer Cory Wells says.

The official commentary included in the CD set Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story, 1965-1975 states that vocalist Danny Hutton’s then-girlfriend June Fairchild suggested the name after reading a magazine article about indigenous Australians, in which it was explained that on cold nights they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground while embracing a dingo, a native species of wild dog. On colder nights they would sleep with two dogs and if the night was freezing, it was a “three dog night”.

Three Dog Night’s self-titled debut album was released in late 1968 and it became an immediate hit. Between 1968 and 1975, Three Dog Night had 21 Billboard top 40 hits in America, three of which reached Number One – three number 1 hits! Yet, here is what lead singer Chuck Negron remembers:

“I lay there shaking like a Vegematic and sweating through the blankets. I prayed, “Please let me die or give me one minute of peace from this sickness.” Then it happened. I knew then, and I still know now, that God did something for me that I could not do for myself. It was a gift. I was weak, alone, desperate, dying, and afraid. I surrendered. I prayed. He saved me. That’s the only way I can explain what for me was the beginning of a miracle.”

So there you have it – this book delves into the sordid underbelly of fame…when you seemingly have it all and throw it all away. Chuck Negron lays it all out there with a candid, brutal honesty…

Here’s what Amazon says: “Three Dog Nightmare” is a profoundly moral tale, an inspiring story of recovery and resurrection. But without a fall, there can be no resurrection. Few have fallen as hard, or as low. And even though we know the outcome, even though we know that he survived, Chuck Negron’s is a story that seems at times almost too painful to read in its devastatingly sad portrayal of wasted talent, ruined chances, and burned lives.

“I shoved drugs into my system like a little kid eating candy. And in the end, it took away everything: my money, my fame, my wives, my children, and my self-respect. I traded a Mediterranean-style villa in the Hollywood Hills for a corner of an abandoned building where I slept on a filthy mattress I found in a vacant lot.”

That he survived at all is a miracle; that he has his career back on track and a new life devoted to helping other drug abusers is an inspiration. So throw on a little “Eli’s Coming” and read all about it!


A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio – by Paul Myers and Todd Rundgren – published in 2010.

First, let’s give some credit to his hits: “Hello, It’s Me”, “Can We Still Be Friends”, “I Saw The Light”, “We Gotta Get You A Woman” and the classic tune played now at every sporting event, “Bang On The Drum All Day.”

As a huge Todd Rundgren fan, this look at his career captures the professional life of one of music’s great artists.

Hailed in the early stage of his career as a new pop-wunderkind, supported by the certified gold solo double LP Something/Anything? in 1972, Todd Rundgren’s career has produced a diverse range of recordings as solo artist, and during the seventies and eighties with the band Utopia. He has also been prolific as a producer and engineer on the recorded work of other musicians.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Rundgren engineered and/or produced many notable albums for other acts, including Straight Up by Badfinger, Stage Fright by The Band, We’re an American Band by Grand Funk Railroad, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf, and Skylarking by XTC. In the 1980s and 1990s his interest in video and computers led to Rundgren’s “Time Heals” being the eighth video played on MTV!

So about this book…here is how Amazon describes it: “Throughout his career Rundgren has ping-ponged between the worlds of producer and recording artist with varying degrees of critical and commercial success. After learning his craft as a songwriter and arranger with Nazz Rundgren gained attention by engineering recordings by The Band.

His reputation was cemented by a string of noteworthy productions beginning in 1971 with classic albums for Grand Funk Railroad, including the mega-hit “We’re An American Band”.

Todd also produced the follow-up album “Shinin’ On”, which was released with a 3D album cover!

Todd also produced Hall & Oates – and yes, arguably the least commercial album ever released by the duo. If you go to the “Live From Daryl’s House” podcast, watch Todd’s first appearance on it.

Daryl Hall fairly bristles when hearing that many blamed Todd for the album’s hard edge. The closest thing to a single was “Too Much Too Soon”, but on the podcast they perform a number of great hit songs together…beautiful!

Todd also produced Meat Loaf’s legendary “Bat Out Of Hell” CD – one of the best-selling albums of all time. While this book isn’t really a “tell-all”, Todd is brutally honest about the artists he produced, especially if they didn’t get along…stories about XTC and Cheap Trick, for example, are hilarious.

Todd produced The Patti Smith Group – an album including the classic song “Dancing Barefoot”.

And of course, Todd produced dozens of his own albums, including a sonic masterpiece called of course, “A Wizard A True Star”.

Researched and written with the cooperation of Rundgren himself, “A Wizard A True Star” is a fascinating authoritative account of four decades of making magic in the recording studio.

If you are into music, and how it is created, then this is the book for you. Read it, and also download Todd’s music from iTunes!

Hammer Of The Gods by Stephen Davis – published in 2001

And now, onto the golden Gods of Rock.

They were legends based on myths—myths of fantasy, power, and black magic. The tales of their tours were the most outrageous in the already excess-laden annals of modern music. The era of Led Zeppelin personified sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

Based on interviews with the band’s musicians, friends, employees, and lovers, Hammer of the Gods tells the shocking story of Led Zeppelin’s successes and excesses in the 70s—when Zeppelin reigned as the industry’s biggest act.

This book tears the cover off the band’s legendary exploits in the seventies….eye opening, controversial, and in the spirit of an era of “anything goes” in rock ‘n’ roll!

Exclusive sources. Documents. Interviews. Photos. Revelations about a band—and an industry—at its shameless peak. Read it all, and see why “Hammer of the Gods” is a classic of rock journalism in its own right.

The book is so full of anecdotes I don’t know wehre to begin, but here is one:

After becoming the biggest rock group in the world, Led Zeppelin still had people they were fans of…the stories about meeting Elvis are hilarious, and both Jimmy Page and Robert Planet were HUGE Joni Mitchell fans…so much so that Plant was too shy to actually meet her when given the chance….

Their legendary Manager Peter Grant was a huge Bob Dylan fan, and at a party went up to introduce himself:

“I’m Peter Grant, and I manage Led Zeppelin”. Dylan looked at Grant briefly and deadpanned: “I don’t come to you with my problems, do I?”

This book is a great look at a majestic band…

Then, grab the outstanding 4-DVD look at the group and see them performing – “there’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.” And don’t even get me started on that “bustle in your hedgerow” – awe-inspiring!

Categories: Books / Media, Led Zeppelin, Music, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. Interesting claim, 90%. Todd never makes music out of habit. He’s reinventing himlesf, and his music, constantly. If you’re hooked on one style or really like 1 album, you’re up for big disappointments because the next record will look nothing like the previous. So I can see, if you like Hermit of Mink Hollow a lot, people would have problems with for example No World Order. Or if they feel Arena was awesome, they would stay away from Healer. OR if they’re nuts about A Wizard A True Star they may think With a Twist is cheesy. I personally love Todd. Not because I love all of his music all of the time. But because you can’t pigeonhole the guy. Being from Amsterdam, I had to watch the worldpremiere of A Wizard, yesterday in Akron, on the internet. And again I was impressed. Some things may go wrong, but I’d rather see and taste the creative process than watch another prefab boyband or some other over commercialized concert.Thanks for putting this online and making me think about why I love this musical genius.


  2. Thanks for posting this. I’ve tried to get a copy of this for years. I have a very poor copy on a ctssetae tape. This is much better quality.I saw Todd perform A Wizard A True Star in Akron on Sunday night. Awesome. The music sounded great live. I’ve been a huge fan since the Nazz. And I can appreciate how the diversity of his musical offerings can alienate some. The first time I saw him live, at the now defunct Valley Forge Music Fair, he came out in a fairy costume and sang Never Never Land to tapes ! He continued to sing to tapes throughout the set, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and piano. It was the analog version of his later Apple Powerbook shows. At intermission, I would estimate that about half the audience left. He then came back with a prototype of Utopia, featuring John Siomos on drums, John Siegler on bass, Jacque-yves Labat (M. Frog), and others I no longer remember. They blew the doors off ! It was the first time anyone had heard songs like Heavy Metal Kids, Everybody’s Going to Heaven/King Kong Reggae, Number 1 Lowest Common Denominator, and featured blazing guitar, leaping crazed Labat on Theramin and synths, an amazing powerful performance. During the second set, another half of the audience left, those looking for ballads and singer-songwriter selections. The remaining crowd was given an aural treat.



  1. Led Zeppelin! Todd Rundgren! Three Dog Nightmare! Rock & ROLLED! « Music Platter
  2. Classic Led Zeppelin Remastered! “Hammer Of The Gods” X3! Greatest Rock Albums Ever! « johnrieber
  3. Led Zeppelin Rocks – A Lake! Seattle’s Aquatic Amphi-Theater Can’t Contain The “Hammer Of The Gods!” – johnrieber
  4. Led Zeppelin Rocks – A Lake! Seattle’s AquaTheater Can’t Contain The “Hammer Of The Gods!” Plus Jimmy Page Returns! – johnrieber

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