THE UNDERRATED TODD RUNDGREN

February 11, 2009 – 4:29 am

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

TODD RUNDGREN/UTOPIA
Rarities Vol I [ no label, 1CD]

In 1986, Time magazine called David Byrne “Rock’s Renaissance Man”. As much as Byrne’s music and songs are enticing and enjoyable (especially his tenure with Talking Heads), the term “Rock’s Renaissance Man” might have been better suited to Todd Rundgren.

Apart from being a sought-after record producer, despite his prolific output, what Rundgren lacked is a string of (pop/rock) hits. Being recognised for I Saw The Light is one thing but that hardly tells the whole Todd Rundgren story. Starting with simple (or classic) pop, Rundgren has delved into power pop (long before the genre became respectable); Philly soul; the bossa-nova; progressive rock; gone experimental (recording live albums by telling the audience to be silent!); took on electronica and ventured into interactive technology and music videos.

Instead of being hailed by the masses, Rundgren developed a cult following with both fans and critics acknowledging Something/Anything? (1972) and A Wizard, A True Star (1973) as Rundgren’s key albums.

The tracks on this Rarities album might not add up to a greatest hits package but they do give an idea of the length and breadth of Rundgren’s oeuvre - from the pop of Umbrella Man; a very ’80s-sounding Special Interest; a touch of Carole King in Baby Let’s Swing; the Motownish Mercy Mercy; rock ballads (Jesse); prog rock (Call From The Grave) and synth-pop/dance (Mad Men And Metal Machines). As the saying goes, never a dull moment.

This is what Frank Bubnick posted at bubnick.trconnection.com:

“At long last, the much anticipated rarities collection now available on CD! We took the best masters we had from Japanese bootlegs, US boots, my personal collection (which included two or three copies of some tunes) and had Paul Russo digitally edit and clean them up to offer these tunes to you! And what are they?

“Umbrella Man/Special Interest (B-side Utopia), God and Me/Mad Men in Metal Machines (never released Utopia), Hope I’m Around/Baby Let’s Swing/Say No More (super rare “Runt” tracks from pristine Japanese boot), Wolfman Jack (version with Wolfman on vocals), One Minute With Todd Rundgren, Hammer in My Heart/Something to Fall Back On (dance mixes!), Loving You’s a Dirty Job (Todd and Bonnie Tyler duet), HEAR PSA, Call From the Grave/Four in One (Todd and Gary Windo do Kurt Weil and Thelonius Monk tributes), Mercy, Mercy (Don Covay tribute tune starring Todd, Gary “U.S.” Bonds, and Chuck Jackson), Cissy Strut (Todd on guitar), Tree Tips PSA, Jesse (from the ‘92 Warner Bros. promo cassette, live and unedited), Voter Registration PSA. Quality varies from track to track, but until we have an “official” release, this fan based collection will do the trick.”

These tracks are no longer available for sharing.Umbrella Man 3:41 (5.1MB)
Special Interest 3:18 (4.6MB)
God And Me 3:10 (4.4MB)
Mad Men And Metal Machines 5:54 (8.1MB)
Hope I’m Around (alt. version) 4:30 (6.2MB)
Baby Let’s Swing (full version) 3:28 (4.8MB)
Say No More 3:13 (4.4MB)
Wolfman Jack (alt. version) 2:52 (4.0MB)
One Minute With Todd Rundgren 0:55 (1.3MB)
Hammer In My Heart 5:11 (7.1MB)
Something To Fall Back On (12-inch mix) 6:12 (8.6MB)
12. Loving You Is A Dirty Job 7:24 (Secret Dreams And Forbidden Fire)
Hear PSA 0:30 (762k)
14. Call From The Grave 5:21 (Lost In The Stars: The Music Of Kurt Weill)
15. Four In One 3:02 (That’s The Way I Feel Now)
16. Mercy Mercy 3:12 (Celebrating The Music Of Don Covay)
17. Cissy Strut 4:12 (Music From Free Creek)

Tree Tips PSA 0:29 (726k)
Jesse (live)* 5:16 (7.3MB)
Voter Registration PSA 1:00 (1.3MB)

*Readers might want to skip this track if they are sensitive to strong language.

Click here to order Todd Rundgren albums and click here to order Utopia albums.

  1. 20 Responses to “THE UNDERRATED TODD RUNDGREN”

  2. Excellent guitarist!

    By Rochacrimson on Feb 11, 2009

  3. For all those frustraated by the exclusion of tracks 12, 14-17 try this. The complete CD :

    http://rapidshare.com/files/52980230/TR_-_Rarities.rar

    8o)

    By Tor on Feb 12, 2009

  4. Thanks for these rare tracks. I eagerly await Volume 2!

    By Johnny Vandal on Feb 13, 2009

  5. Thanks Tor!!

    By PJS on Feb 13, 2009

  6. Looking forward to Vol. 2.

    Also, appreciate the rs link, Tor, which should lighten the load on the bigO server.

    By Rockin' Rich on Feb 13, 2009

  7. Thanks for the comments.

    Unfortunately we do not have Vol 2.

    We do have a copy of Hello It’s Me: Rarities [Todd-1, 1CD] but a good number of the tracks are (hard-to-find) official releases so that kind of rule things out.

    By bigozine2 on Feb 13, 2009

  8. Godd always rocks!

    By David Everitt-Carlson on Feb 13, 2009

  9. S,

    Thank you for posting music from THE MOST UNDER-RATED and/or perhaps under-appreciated artist, the great Todd Rundgren.

    I would love to see any re-postings from your archives. It would be great to find recordings of the tour that Todd and Joe Jackson did together with Ethel. Wow, that was a great show.

    Best wishes always…

    By Kevin on Feb 14, 2009

  10. Great stuff! Thanks!

    By RundgrenRadio on Feb 16, 2009

  11. You’ve done it again! Bruce AND Todd the same week! You never cease to amaze…..

    Namaste

    By Nonsensely on Feb 18, 2009

  12. Great to see a Todd collection on here. Thanks

    By Matt on Feb 21, 2009

  13. http://www.AWATSlive.com 9/6/09 in Akron OH!

    By RundgrenRadio on May 30, 2009

  14. This is my favorite Song is “Mad Men And Metal Machines, Hope I’m Around, Wolfman Jack [Mix], One Minute With Todd Rundgren, Hammer In My Heart [Dance Mix], Something To Fall Back On [12-Inch Mix], Loving You Is A Dirty Job, Hear Public Service Announcement, Four In One, Mercy Mercy, Cissy Strut, Three Tips PSA (public Service Announcement) & Voter Registration PSA.

    By alec julian ferrer on Jan 18, 2010

  15. Hammer In My Heart (Dance mix). Dance mixes of “Itch In My Brain/Too Much Water” 10-Inches was pressed as a promo.

    By alec julian ferrer on Jan 18, 2010

  16. Any other Rundgren or Utopia rarities out there?

    By JALTHEIMPALER on Sep 5, 2010

  17. Howdy,

    I read about a 3 CD set of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia at Madison square Garden in 1974. As I am deserate to find any Todd live material from late 73 to early 75, i’d greatly appreciate any source of this. I never got to attend any of those concerts. Only after the band trimmed back to 4 guys did I see them.Hearing a 3 CD concert of the prog stuff would be a dream come true

    By mark rauch on Dec 10, 2010

  18. Anyway,
    trying to find the 3 CDs from the 74 concert. [email protected]

    By mark rauch on Dec 10, 2010

  19. Thanks for this collection… it’s great!

    As for the question above, as to a ‘74 MSG concert… I was an avid fan, even back then, and as far as I know, Utopia never played MSG. I think the show you’re thinking of is the Radio City Music Hall 3+ hour show, on the first anniversary of Utopia, 10/20/74. It is out there, as a three CD bootleg…

    By J Bloomrosen on Jan 12, 2011

  20. Luv, these…some new~some old..some never heard!!!!

    By Stephanie on Jan 12, 2011

  21. dat voice :G

    By Babymetal vlog on May 3, 2015

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