Todd Rundgren’s “Power Pop”! The “Finger-Snapping” Story Of A Pop Music Sound!

Todd Rundgren The Waiting Game

Todd Rundgren’s Power Pop Classics!

Some of my favorite Todd songs were classic examples of “power pop”, a genre of music that has lasted throughout the rock era…here is a great example from his most recent tour:

Thanks to “rogsteel” for posting this on youtube…”Determination” is exactly what a power pop song should be, and here is why:

Power Pop!

Here is how “Power Pop” is defined:

“it incorporates strong melodies, clear vocals and crisp vocal harmonies, economical arrangements and prominent guitar riffs.”

Poptopia!

There have been a number of great compilations like “Poptopia!” that have captured some of the best songs…but where did the phrase “power pop” come from?

Pete_Townshend_live

Not “Where”…WHO!

Yep, Pete Townshend of The Who coined the phrase “power pop” in a 1967 interview! Here is what he said:

“Power pop is what we play… the kind of pop the Beach Boys played in the days of ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’.”

Here is an example of an early “power popping” Who – “The Kids Are Alright!”

The Who in concert

The Who continue to rock on 50 years into their career…but when it comes to what we think of as “power pop”, everything must run through the filter of the ultimate “power pop” song:

my-sharona-ultimate power pop song

My Sharona!

Yes, this is the poster child for “power pop!” The biggest chart hit by a pure power pop band was the Knack’s debut single, “My Sharona”, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks in the summer of 1979.

Who can forget this?

Get_The_Knack_album

While The Knack may have defined “power pop”, all of Todd Rundgren’s fans know that he created a pretty iconic “power pop” sound for bands to follow…beginning way back in the early 70’s, with this classic “power pop” song from “Something/Anything?”:

Todd Rundgren best power pop


“Couldn’t I Just Tell You”

This is classic “power pop”, with a tight guitar intro, fast-paced guitar work, terrific tight lyrics and driven by drums…here is the song performed by Todd live on “The Midnight Special” – hosted by Ike and Tina Turner from 1974, where Tina messes up Todd’s name!

Adventures In Utopia

Todd’s band Utopia headed into a much tighter sound in the 80’s, and on that journey they wrote several great “power pop” classics!

Todd Rundgren's Utopia

Let’s take a look at some of Utopia’s greatest “power pop” moments!

“You Make Me Crazy” from “Adventures In Utopia”

Checkout this great power pop song:

Utopia Beatles homage

Todd’s Beatles Album!

While some Utopia fans weren’t happy with Todd’s decision to do a Beatles homage with the band, one of the songs featured is a great example of “power pop”:

“I Just Want To Touch You” from “Deface The Music”

Here is the music video that replicated The Beatles on Ed Sullivan:

Utopia Swing To The Right

One of Utopia’s anthems makes a case to be considered pure “power pop”:


“One World” from “Swing To The Right”

A lean, clean guitar intro and tight vocals propel this classic Utopia song:

Utopia-Oops-Wrong-Planet

And speaking of a lean, clean guitar intro:

“Love In Action” from “Oops! Wrong Planet!”

Here’s a live performance from the great “Midnight Special” in 1978:

Utopia album cover

On the “Utopia” album from 1982, the boys even seem to evoke a bit of The Knack in the photo, and the album is chock full of power pop songs, but here is the one I want to highlight:

“Princess Of The Universe!”

Here is a live version from Utopia’s 1992 tour:

I’d love to hear what you think are Utopia’s best power pop songs, and if you want to listen to some classic Todd and Utopia live from the 70’s, this is the box set for you:

Todd Rundgren at the BBC

This box set includes Todd solo as well as Utopia, and the sound quality is amazing! Read all about it here:

https://johnrieber.com/2015/03/23/todd-rundgren-live-at-the-bbc-utopias-pyramid-climb-a-decade-of-brilliant-music/

And here is another amazing collection of Todd & Utopia live as well:

Todd Rundgren live at Knebworth

I know that some fans didn’t like the quality of these recordings, but they are the actual live performances by Utopia at this legendary british festival, so even thought he audio quality is variable, I bought them!

You can read more about them here:


https://johnrieber.com/2014/12/25/todd-rundgren-utopia-live-at-knebworth-amazing-box-set-fascinating-musical-history-in-a-box/

And leave a comment to let me know your favorite Todd power pop song!

Live Todd Rundgren power pop



Categories: 70's Music, Art, Books / Media, Classic Rock, documentary films, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, Todd Rundgren, TV Show, Uncategorized

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

18 replies

  1. “Crybaby” and “Play This Game”, two great late-Utopia should be hits…

  2. Todd is truely a music icon ! Personally I was a later Utopia fan , but have always followed Todd from the Cleveland /Akron Ohio.
    I’m grateful that my sister invited me to Adventures in Utopia tour at Blossom Music Center . I was totally hooked on the great harmony along with Todd’s guitar skills.
    Todd has always been cutting edge and very open minded and very loyal to his fans. I even saw him perform ” a walk down Abby Road in Dayton Ohio that was very memorable . Todd and Kadim Sulton our way over due for the Rock & Roll hall of fame even though we all know the politics involved with it. To me it’s like the Beatles not being in . Much ignorance on the people who make those decisions. Even though I’m not a well know musician & song writer I am forever great full to the inspiration that Todd has been on my own writing recording and performing.

  3. Good list, but I would add these Utopia songs. From Todd Rundgren’s Utopia: Freedom Fighters. From Another Live: The Seven Rays. From Ra: Jealousy. From Oops! Wrong Planet: Gangrene. From Adventures in Utopia: The Very Last Time. From Utopia: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now and There Goes My Inspiration.

    • I told someone that I left several off to spark a conversation and all of these are great…in fact, by the end of the band’s run they had perfect power pop and power ballads…and they should have had hits! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Good story. However, who could forget the Knack? It would be hard not to – one of the most overplayed songs in Rock history.

    • It sure was! That over-playing may have contributed to the quick death of “power pop” as a musical category! Replaced by euro-pop like The Thompson Twins and A Flock Of Seagulls! Thanks for the note!

  5. “Determination” right up there for me!

    • Bob, I posted a story about Todd’s hidden gems, of which “Determination” is at the top of the list along with “Fade Away”, so I left it off hoping someone would add it – and you did! Thanks for the note!

  6. Hi John,

    I’m setting aside an hour or so this afternoon to wallow in this glorious Toddness! Thanks for another dose. Stuff I gotta do until then but the anticipation will make it that much sweeter.

Trackbacks

  1. Todd Rundgren Is “The Individualist!” Todd’s “No World Order!” “TR-i” – Todd Gets Interactive! | johnrieber
  2. Todd Rundgren “Defaces The Music!” Todd’s Beatles Homage Divides Utopia! – johnrieber
  3. Todd Rundgren! Utopia! “Oblivion!” Ironic Title Twist To Neglected Gem! – johnrieber
  4. “Let’s Do This!” Todd Rundgren’s Latest Power Pop Rocker! Two Great Videos From This “White Knight!” – johnrieber
  5. Songs In The Key Of “D”! Classic Rock! Iconic Bands! Eagles! Doors! Diamond Dogs! – johnrieber
  6. Bruno Mars Has “24K Music” To A “T”! Bob Dylan’s “Tight Connection”! Pete Townsend! Tom Petty Cameo’s For Dwight Twilley! – johnrieber

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Joy Lennick

Writing and Reading

Kenny's Camera, Cooking & Crazy Confessions!

It's photography, recipes and madness. It's laughter, it's lessons, it's life...

Captain's Quarters

Exploring sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult novels.

Roberta Writes

How you see life depends on how you look at things

Thirsty Journeys

Quenching your thirst for travel

Robbie Cheadle

Books | Poems | Reviews

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

Just muddling through life

The ups and downs of a working mum

Darlene Foster's Blog

dreamer of dreams, teller of tales

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

Urban Suburban Girl

(adj.) cul – de – sac couture

You can always start now

exploring possibilities

Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

You can take the girl out of Glasgow. Entertainment Reviews from a Wee Scottish Wife and Stepmum living in Finland.

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

The Planking Traveler

Affordable Travel, Enjoyable Movement, And Healthy Living Inspiration

Laura's Books and Blogs

Writing tips, giveaways, reviews, essays, and more!

Pages, Places, & Plates

Reviews of books, eateries, experiences, and travel.

Binging on a Budget

"Help Me, I'm Poor."

Sunshine with Savannah

Writer aiming to cultivate kindness. | Exploring, learning, scribbling, finding sunshine wherever I go.

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

A Rambling Reviewer

Here be rambles and reviews.

Drew's Movie Reviews

Movie reviews from your average dude

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Wrangling literary arts for writers: words for people!

The Annual Bloggers Bash

The Official Website for the Best Blogging Event of the Year!

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

Colline's Blog

A potpourri of books and things

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

Movie Reviews 101

Daily Movie Reviews & ABC Film Challenge

Cindy Bruchman

Films. Travel. Photography. Books. Let's talk.

From Michigan to Germany

A family from Michigan living abroad in Germany.

JR-Sploitation!

The world's wildest movies from an era of "everything goes!"

Eclectic Alli

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

fancypaper

Little Things Make Us Happy

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt

Cult Of The Cinema

Exploring Cinematic Diversity

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!

beetleypete

The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Suzie Speaks

The Adventures Of a Thirty-Something Life

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

The BookWorm Drinketh

Give Tea to the Tillerman, But Booze to the Bookworm!

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Come for Adventure. Stay for the Ride!

%d bloggers like this: