Our Top 10 Todd Rundgren Produced Songs list looks back at a collection of great songs by various artists produced by Todd Rundgren. When you start listening to these songs together, one will hear a amazing similarity between these track that you may have never noticed before. More on some than others. Most of it can be easily heard in the background vocals, especially when it’s Todd Rundgren singing those back up vocals. But you can also hear it in the guitar sounds and especially the drums which are always high in the mix. Its a fact that all great producers realize that its the sound of the drums that really defines a great sounding recording that cuts through anything.
Todd Rundgren has produced so many great bands and albums throughout his producing career that has moved nicely along side his own recording career as a solo artist and with his band Utopia. In many ways, Todd Rundgren has shaped a large part of the sound of classic rock since the late 1960s. It is not only about what Todd Rundgren has released as an artist and producer, its about how he inspired all the people who worked with him and went out on their own learning the tricks of the trade from Todd Rundgren.
Listing only ten Todd Rundgren produced songs is pretty unfair to all who have worked with Todd Rundgren. By no means is this a definite list. It’s just a sampling of some of the great Todd Rundgren produced songs ever released. This was a really fun article to write as we listened to so many recordings that completely blew us away and brought back a lot of great memories.
# 10 – Love My Way -The Psychedelic Furs
We ope up our top 10 Todd Rundgren Produced songs lust with a great track from The Psychedelic Furs. Listen to how great the drums sound balanced against that marimba sound. The synth line trickles down carefully filling in the spaces, but never overwhelming the arrangement. The vocal is haunting and melodic and sails creepily over all of it. The song “Love My Way,” was released in the Psychedelic Furs album Forever Now. The album was released in 1982.
# 9 – Hurdy Gurdy Man – Steve Hillage
This great album by Steve Hillage had Todd Rundgren’s hands and band all over it. Utilizing members of Utopia such as Roger Powell, Kasim Sulton and John Wilcox, Rundgren merged familiarity of his own band with an artist he barely knew. Of course, the results were stunning because Todd Rundgren has an ear that understands artistic intent instantly. The result was one of the best progressive rock albums of the 1970s. Steve Hillage’s album L was a masterpiece.
# 8 – Guitars and Women
Oh man, the guitars at the song’s opening just sound so sweet. I keep starting the song over and over again just to hear those opening licks. Todd Rundgren and Rick Derringer together made an incredible album here. Todd Rundgren does all the background vocals on this track and he sounds amazing as usual. This one is fantastic. The album was released in 1979.
# 7 – Grass – XTC
This is one of those great Todd Rundgren productions in which it is very difficult to hear any of the trademark Todd Rundgren audio enhancements. Rundgren’s role in producing this fantastic XTC album basically was in pushing the band to greatness. There were many stories told of Todd Rundgren butting heads with members of XTC on this recording. In the end, whatever Todd Rundgren did, resulted in one of the best XTC albums ever released.
# 6 – Frederick
Those opening piano chords on his great Patti Smith song just bleed Todd Rundgren harmony. The song is very similar to the chord changes of “Because The Night.” Yet Todd Rundgren’s production takes it somewhere else. Simply love the Todd Rundgren oohs in the chorus. The song builds with energy over time and becomes very addicting. “Frederick was released on Patti Smith’s Wave album. The record was released in 1979. “Dancing Barefoot,” was the other standout track on this great album.
# 5 – I Can’t Take It
Cheap Trick meets Todd Rundgren and the results were a spectacular album that was heavily influenced by Todd Rundgren. The album titled Next Position Please was released in 1983. While Todd Rundgren’s trademark production skills are all over this record, its what he did in bringing out the best vocals Cheap Trick ever achieved on record that defined Rundgren’s value on this one the most.
# 4 – Piece By Piece – The Tubes
Likes many great Todd Rundgren produced songs, the drums open up this great track by the Tubes. This is such a great song by The Tubes. Listen to those chord changes, the guitar line and that amazing chorus. The signature Todd Rundgren produced background vocals are a highlight of this song as Fee Waybill is such a great singer. Listen to him sing the line “She Seems like she’s complete.” Such brilliant stuff.
# 3 – Baby Blue – Badfinger
While there are so many great Todd Rundgren songs that are both on and not on this list, the next three that do appear here are masterpieces. Badfinger’s fourth studio album Straight Up was produced originally by Geoff Emerick who was replaced by George Harrison. When Harrison’s schedule became too hectic to continue with Badfinger, Todd Rundgren was brought into complete the album. The result was an album of tracks produced by both Todd Rundgren and George Harrison with Todd Rundgren overseeing the final mix of all the album’s tracks. One of the stand out tracks that Todd Rundgren produced was the great song “Baby Blue,” which we have presented here on this Todd Rundgren produced songs list.
# 2 – We’re an American Band – Grand Funk
If we had to choose the best rock song that opens with an iconic drum solo, it would probably be between Led Zeppelins “Rock and Roll,” and this legendary Grand Funk song “We’re an American Band.” This is one song we will never get sick of. Todd Rundgren took the great Grand Funk Railroad Band into the studio and walked out with the band’s most successful song of their career. This recording sounds so good. It sounded great back in 1973 and it still sounds incredible in 2020.
# 1 – Bat Out Of Hell – Meat Loaf
The first time I ever heard Meat Loaf’s song “Bat Out of Hell,” was when I was 15 and had brought the record simply based on what I thought was a cool cover. This was the day it was first released. I walked home and lowered the needle. My mouth dropped as to what I was hearing. And it kept getting better and more exciting as the song went on. Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell,” is a rock and roll masterpiece. You don’t have to be a musician or a recording engineer or a producer to understand that. But if you are, it makes it even more impressive as to how mush talent and work went into this incredible song and album. This was Utopia meets the E Street Band, meets a brilliant songwriter, meets an out of this world singer, meets one of the greatest producers of all time. It all clicked, it all worked and it still stands as one of the greatest albums of all time…….produced by Todd Rundgren.
Updated April 2, 2021
Top 10 Todd Rundgren Produced Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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