Todd Rundgren’s first album entitled Runt was released in 1970. He followed that album up in 1971 with a record called Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren. However, it was in 1973 when Todd Rundgren released his double record Something/Anything? that he became a household name. The Something/Anything? album contained two of Todd Rundgren’s biggest hits of his career in “Hello It’s Me,” and “I Saw The Light.” From that point on, Todd Rundgren released records almost on a yearly basis. Todd Rundgren has released twenty six solo albums. That number does not include the albums he released with his band Utopia and his 1960’s band Nazz. In 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 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 very difficult to choose only ten songs. However, these lists are designed to serve 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.
# 10 – Marlene
If you don’t fall in love with this song instantly than 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 itself 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 break up can sympathize with. The songs intense guitar solo at the end echos the desperate cries of the broken hearted. This was simply brilliant stuff.
# 8 – Love of The Common Man
Listening to these incredible Todd Rundgren songs makes one realize that this was an artist that should have gotten so 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 great track “Black 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 deep compositional skills. Hints of Todd’s future success as also a legendary producer can be heard in this track’s great 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 had 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. Artist and record companies usually pick what they feel is the best song or at least song they think has the greatest chance of becoming a hit as the first single release 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 sense of counterpoint in melody between the song”s verses and chorus should be come the standard in teaching pop songwriting 101. This was nut just a pop masterpiece but it was 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 top 10 Todd Rundgren songs list choose “Hello It’s Me,” as Todd’ best song. It an amazing record that can be listened to over and over again without it ever sounding overplayed. An played it was in 1972. “Hello It’s Me,” was the most successful song of the Something/Anything? album. It was a top 10 US Hit peaking at number 5 on the Billboard top 100 chart. Its mesmerizing piano hook and unforgettable vocal lined defined the meaning of the “perfect pop song.”
# 1 – Can We Still Be Friends
Todd Rundgren understood what all the great songwriters learned about writing songs with universal meaning that everyone could 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 an wrote a melody and series of chord changes that made that question feel more real and yes, more painful. But when hearing someone else dealing with the same issues only usually eases the pain. And in the end music is all about therapy.
Music is supposed to relieve the pain in some sort of 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 sung with, is what made Todd Rundgren one of our most cherished artists.
Updated Nov 8,2020