“There’s something at the heart of it that’s simply awful
A man who makes a living off a plastic waffle!”
Time to celebrate an album from an Artist whose “plastic waffles” make millions of fans rejoice! Time for four more sides of inventive and memorable “Todd!”
An Album As Multi-Colored As His Hair!
After the huge success of the Todd’s double album “Something/Anything?”, he took a detour with the experimental – and brilliant – “A Wizard, A True Star”.
“AWATS” was greeted poorly upon release, but has become just another of Todd’s masterpieces…read more about it here:
Todd then followed up with “Todd”, his fifth album and second double album, released in February 1974.
Pop Hits! Classic Ballads! Timeless Todd!
You could also call him amazingly prolific, since this double album included 17 songs, including 5 instrumentals and one cover!
Todd’s “Oil” Crisis!
Here’s some interesting trivia: the release of the album was actually delayed by a vinyl shortage caused by the 1973 oil crisis!
Of course, record company politics were also a factor since the album’s release was also compounded by reluctance from the record label, Bearsville, to release a new album when his song “Hello It’s Me” from Something/Anything? was still on the singles chart!
Here is a look at the great double album “Todd”!
“How About A Little Fanfare?” / “I Think You Know”
The album begins with a short instrumental – “Fanfare” uses synthesizers, sound effect sand what feels like a car revving up its engine, then segues right into another of Todd’s great pop hits…Here is Todd performing them both live in 2010:
Thanks as always to “HarryRunt danu” on YouTube for posting great Todd performances!
More on where this live performance is from later…
“The Spark Of Life” is next, the second instrumental in only three songs, an interesting pop of fun before Todd gives you his opinion of his career with the goofy fun of:
“An Elpee’s Worth Of Tunes”
Tod always has fun in the studio, and shares his sense of humor with fans, and this son is no different…
“There’s something at the heart of it that’s simply awful
A man who makes a living off a plastic waffle…”
Here’s a quirky video of the song with Todd from 1974!
“A Dream Goes On Forever”
The album “Todd” includes a number of his greatest songs, like this one.
Here is a great live version of the song from 1978, just Todd at a piano:
Part of Todd Rundgren’s enduring career is his ability to release timeless music, and “A Dream Goes On Forever” is just the latest example…and of course, Todd follows it with a classic cover song!
“Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song”
Yes, Gilbert & Sullivan are covered by Todd!
After side one, you flip the disc and get an experimental instrumental “Drunken Blue Rooster” before Todd gives you another instant classic, the gorgeous breakup ballad:
“The Last Ride”
Here is a beautiful live version of this enduring Todd classic, with Daryl Hall joining in, from the great show “Live From Daryl’s House:
Here is a story I posted about their musical friendship:
Todd ends side two with an instrumental jam called
“Everybody’s Going to Heaven / King Kong Reggae”
This is a musical tour de force, with a funky reggae jam…side three begins with one of Todd’s heavy metal classics:
“Number One Lowest Common Denominator”
Todd’s foray into heavy metal, begins AND ends side three! First, this great piece of grunge rock with a heavy guitar riff…
Here is Todd performing it live in 2010 – when he performed the entire album live for a DVD release!
Obviously, all Todd fans should own this live version of the album, which shows off Todd’s virtuoso approach to his music library…side three of “Todd” is also a mini-pop masterpiece as well
The gorgeous pop song “Useless Begging” is next, then the “poppy” instrumental
“Sidewalk Cafe” – and then the pop hit Todd didn’t want!
This is a slice of pop majesty, but trivia says that Rundgren battled with Bearsville over the label’s desire to release the song “Izzat Love?” as a single!
According to wikipedia, Todd insisted the song was “indicative of a music style he no longer wished to pursue”, and vowed to never record again should the song be released.
I’d love for anyone to tell me if they believe this to be true!
Regardless, side three ends on another “heavy metal” note, with Todd’s classic hard rocker
“Heavy Metal Kids”
Here is a live version from 2011 – the Utopia reunion show!
Thanks to Susan Raslovick for posting this on YouTube….
Side four starts off with the last instrumental – with the funny title:
“In and Out the Chakras We Go (Formerly: Shaft Goes to Outer Space)”
“Don’t You Ever Learn?”
Next up is another of Todd’s enduring classics, and once again he ponders our role in the world…
“Don’t you ever listen?
Don’t you ever learn?
The hand may find you
It’s time to take a turn
You think this life is something strange
You’re ready for another change
But don’t you ever learn?”
Here is a great live Solo performance posted by “HarryRunt danu” from what he calls The Infamous “Drunk Concert” In Sausalito, CA In 1987:
The album ends with another unique idea by Todd:
“Sons of 1984”
This great crowd sing-a-long was recorded live at Wollman Rink, in New York’s Central Park – he performs the songs here live in 2010:
The lyrics of this song are great:
“Open your eyes and see
The world I couldn’t change for you
Reach out your hand and take
The world that will belong to you
We were on our way to a better day
And the spirit was in us all
But as time went by we fell by the wayside
Maybe you’ll be the last to fall
You are the only ones
There is nobody left but you
You are the chosen ones
There is nobody else to choose
Back when I was young, my hope was strong
But the time blew it all to hell
If I thought I knew what was good for you
I would have gone and done it for myself
Worlds of tomorrow
Life without sorrow
Take it because it’s yours
Sons of 1984”
What I love about this song is how inspiring and upbeat it is, and when you hear the thousands of fans singing along, it’s really magical…and what a terrific way to end this double album!
“Todd” wasn’t as successful as “Something / Anything?” from a commercial point of view, but Todd has always followed the beat of his own drum, and this double album gives fans great pop hits, beautiful ballads, inspiring lyrics and a whole lot of rock and roll as well!
Fans have always been given great Todd music to enjoy forever, like this one as well, the spiritual “Healing”:
Here is a look at that album, which includes one of the first music videos ever shown on MTV:
If you want to get a sense of Todd’s musical output from he 70’s both solo and with Utopia, here is a great place to start:
A decade of live performances are captured in this box set…see them here:
Let me know what you love most about “Todd!”