Top 10 Todd Rundgren Songs

Todd Rundgren Songs

Photo: By Curtis Palmer from Vestavia Hills (Birmingham), Alabama, USA (Todd Rundgren performs @ WorkPlay) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Todd Rundgren Songs list looks at the career of one of rock and roll’s most influential artists. As a songwriter and producer, Todd Rundgren has been involved in some of classic rock history’s most influential albums and rock tracks. No other artist can go from singing some of the most sweet and beautifully crafted pop songs to intense guitar-driven heavy psychedelic jams. A brilliant vocalist, an utterly underrated guitarist, and a magnificent producer, Todd Rundgren defined the term genius.

Todd Rundgren’s first album, entitled Runt, was released in 1970. He followed that album up in 1971 with The Ballad of Todd RundgrenHowever, in 1973, when Todd Rundgren released his double record Something/Anything? he became a household name.

The Something/Anything? album contained two of Todd Rundgren’s biggest hits of his career, “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw The Light.” From that point on, Todd Rundgren released records almost yearly. Todd Rundgren has released twenty-six solo albums. That number does not include the albums he released with his band Utopia and his 1960s band Nazz. Between solo albums and band releases, Todd Rundgren served as a producer on albums such as Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell, The Rascals Felix Cavaliere’s solo album, Patti Smith’s Wave, and so many more.

With an artist that owns such a deep catalog of albums as Todd Rundgren, it becomes challenging to choose only ten songs. However, these lists are designed to serve as an introduction to an artist’s works that young people may not know. So, we hope you don’t mind if we missed your favorites. These are just a handful of Todd Rundgren songs that everyone should hear. There are so many more.

# 11 – Bang The Drum

We forgot this one when we first published this article—shame on us. So we turned it up to 11 to make up for our mistake. This is a perfect way to get this party started.

# 10 – Marlene

If you don’t fall in love with this song instantly, then don’t even bother checking out the rest. It’s simple; it’s incredibly innocent sounding. The instrumentation sounds almost “toy-like,” which only lends to the song’s innocence. The melody is as beautiful as it gets. From the brilliant  Something/Anything? album, “Marlene,” is our choice as the opening song on our top 10 Todd Rundgren Songs list.

# 9 – Hurting For You

In complete contrast to the happy, fun, like melody and spirit of “Marlene,” Todd Rundgren’s “Hurting For You” exemplifies all the pain of heartbreak in a resonating chorus that anyone who has felt the despair of an unwanted breakup can sympathize with. The song’s intense guitar solo at the end echoes the desperate cries of the brokenhearted. This was simply brilliant stuff.

# 8 – Love of The Common Man

Listening to these incredible Todd Rundgren songs makes one realize that this artist should have gotten much more credit than he received. “Love of the Common Man” was released on Todd Rundgren’s 1976 album Faithful. That album presented fans with a side of cover songs by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan. Side two of the record featured all original songs written by Todd Rundgren.

# 7 – All The Children Sing

While Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything? album contained the biggest hits of his career, our favorite Todd Rundgren record has always been 1978’s Hermit Of Mink Hollow. Every song on the record defined an emotional roller coaster of thought and feeling that penetrated the soul in a way that only truly great art can. Both the Something/Anything? album and The Hermit Of Mink Hollow albums provide this top 10 Todd Rundgren songs list with seven songs from the combined albums making our top 10. For the number 10 spot, we have chosen the album’s uplifting opener, “All The Children Sing.”

# 6 – Black Maria

The outstanding trackBlack Maria” showcases the other side of Todd Rundgren. While songs from the album like “Marlene” and “Hello It’s Me” defined Todd’s sense of pop melody, “Black Maria” presented fans with Todd’s heavy rock and roll chops and great compositional skills. Hints of Todd’s future success as also a legendary producer can be heard in this track’s superb production. Simply a true work of art!

# 5 – A Dream Goes On Forever

No other line in musical pop history probably resonates more in the hearts of a struggling artist or a hopeful romantic than Todd Rundgren’s “A Dream Goes On Forever.” This beautiful song of hope was released on Todd Rundgren’s album Todd.  The album was released in 1974 and was the second two record set that Todd had released in just two years. From 1970 to 1974, Todd Rundgren released five albums, with two of them being two record sets. The only other single artist to release that much material in such a short span of time was Elton John.

# 4 – I Saw The Light

The first single released from the Something/Anything? album was the pop masterpiece “I Saw The Light.” It was the album’s opening track. Artists and record companies usually pick what they think is the best or at least a song they think has the greatest chance of becoming a hit as the first single released from an album. It was clear they all thought “I Saw the Light” would be the album’s most successful song. They were close, but there would be one that would become much bigger. “I Saw The Light” reached the number 16 spot on the U. S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972

# 3 – We Gotta Get You A Woman

What we always loved about Todd Rundgren was his sense of humor. There is no better closing line in popular music history than what Todd Rundgren sings to his friend at the end of “We Gotta Get You A Woman.” Todd Rundgren’s sense of counterpoint in melody between the song’s verses and chorus should become the standard in teaching pop songwriting 101. This was not just a pop masterpiece but one of the most addicting songs ever released. “We Gotta Get You A Woman” was issued on Todd Rundgren’s first solo album Runt. It was Todd Rundgren’s first solo single of his career. The song reached Number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. A true GEM!

# 2 – Hello It’s Me

Most of the top 10 Todd Rundgren song lists choose “Hello It’s Me” as Todd’s best song. It is a fantastic record that can be repeatedly listened to without sounding overplayed.  “Hello It’s Me” was the most successful song from the Something/Anything? album. It was a top 10 US Hit, peaking at number 5 on the Billboard Top 100 charts. Its mesmerizing piano hook and unforgettable vocal line defined the meaning of the “perfect pop song.”

# 1 – Can We Still Be Friends

Todd Rundgren understood what all great songwriters know. One of the secrets of writing successful pop songs is delivering songs with universal meanings everyone can relate to. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship has probably heard the words at one time or another: can we still be friends? Todd took that universal and painful question and wrote a melody and series of chord changes that made that question feel more natural and, yes, more painful. But hearing someone else dealing with the same issues usually only eases the pain. And in the end, music is all about therapy.

Music is supposed to relieve the pain in some ironic way. “Can We Still Be Friends” is Todd Rundgren’s most important song because it communicates most directly to the fan, to the gist of heartbreak and redemption, to an understanding that we all go through the same nonsense and we all can celebrate and despair together. That connection between the music that Todd Rundgren composed and the voice he sang with is what makes Todd Rundgren one of our most cherished artists.

Professional Sources, research, experience, and citations

Charting information used in the analysis and research of the commercial success of these songs comes from Billboard Magazine Charts

https://www.billboard.com/charts/

The Story Of Classic Rock

Other sources for important factual information include the band’s website

https://toddrundgren.bandcamp.com/

Further analysis is provided by the writer Brian Kachejian’s experience as a professional musician and music collector for over 50 years and his experience as a New York State certified educator and professional music journalist with the New York Press.

These articles are updated regularly.

Top 10 Todd Rundgren Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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  1. Avatar Dave Nelson October 10, 2020

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