The year was 1972 and Todd Rundgren had to be feeling that it was now or never. He had put out three albums as part of a group called Nazz and two solo albums. All of his work was well received by critics but none of it had any significant commercial success. Todd wanted a lot of things but most of all he wanted success! Fortunately for him he had used his time with Nazz and with his first two solo albums to hone his songwriting chops and, maybe more importantly, to become a studio wizard. Armed with these skills Todd went into the studio to create his double album masterpiece that would become Something/Anything. The first three sides were all Todd…..no really they were all Todd. All of the songs, all of the instruments, all of the vocals and all of the production was Todd. Let’s listen to a few cuts from these first three sides (the notes are from the Todd’s liner notes that I copied from my copy of the album)……
Side 1: A bouquet of ear-catching melodies.
If there is a single on the album, this is it, so I put it first like at Motown.
I really don’t know what this song is about. It was sort of an accident.
Side 2: This is the cerebral side.
My first movie score. Unfortunately there is no movie to go with it.
Side 3; The kid gets heavy.
The hits just keep on coming
These are just a few of the gems on the first three sides of Something/Anything but some of the best was yet to come on side 4 where Todd had the support of a great crew of musicians and background vocalist. Let’s listen to a couple of the side 4 tracks.
That last one is a killer, maybe Todd’s best ever, and if that was the only song he ever wrote he would deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If you agree, please go back to the my last post and use the link I provided to sign the petition to get Todd nominated!
So…to be fair I need to tell you that Todd has a very strange sense of humor that sometimes comes out in his music. Let me give you one example from Something/Anything……
Written in the feverish grip of the dreaded “d’oyle carte,” a chronic disease dating back to my youth. Dedicated to Miss Patti Lee Smith.
So there you have it….Todd set out to make a masterpiece and that is exactly what he did. Hello Its Me became his most successful single topping at #5 on the charts. In 2003 Rolling Stone ranked Something/Anythng #173 in their list of the best albums of all time. Todd continues to make music to this day with varying degrees of success but he has never approached the level of consistent quality that he exhibited on Something/Anything. Todd has also had huge success as a producer for groups including New York Dolls, Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Hall & Oates, and Meat Loaf to name just a few. He is indeed A Wizard and A True Star!
The full album is provided below. Give it a listen and as always let me know what you think.