16 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

Todd Rundgren, visionary pop outsider and self-proclaimed “Runt,” was a distinctive and prolific producer and songwriter, who developed a skewed power-pop aesthetic that embraced the psychedelic textures of late sixties rock, the willfully difficult song structures of the progressive era, and the lush, symphonic sound of producers like Phil Spector and Joe Meek. He attracted a fair sized cult following with his carefully constructed solo albums, his inventive productions for groups as diverse as Badfinger, Cheap Trick, and XTC, and the bombastic faux-prog of his group Utopia. The plainly titled Very Best of Todd Rundgren does an admirable job of framing an accurate portrait of this notoriously elusive artist. Though many of Rundgren’s LPs were conceived as song suites (Runt and A Wizard, A True Star in particular), the compilers do an excellent job of extracting Rundgren’s poppiest moments from these dense, often bewildering albums. Though this makes for a simplified view of Rundgren’s work, songs like the soulful “A Dream Goes on Forever” which blends the drum machine experiments of Sly Stone with the fey, tin pan alley pop of Elton John, and the gentle revelation of “I Saw The Light” are phenomenal even when heard out of context.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Todd Rundgren, visionary pop outsider and self-proclaimed “Runt,” was a distinctive and prolific producer and songwriter, who developed a skewed power-pop aesthetic that embraced the psychedelic textures of late sixties rock, the willfully difficult song structures of the progressive era, and the lush, symphonic sound of producers like Phil Spector and Joe Meek. He attracted a fair sized cult following with his carefully constructed solo albums, his inventive productions for groups as diverse as Badfinger, Cheap Trick, and XTC, and the bombastic faux-prog of his group Utopia. The plainly titled Very Best of Todd Rundgren does an admirable job of framing an accurate portrait of this notoriously elusive artist. Though many of Rundgren’s LPs were conceived as song suites (Runt and A Wizard, A True Star in particular), the compilers do an excellent job of extracting Rundgren’s poppiest moments from these dense, often bewildering albums. Though this makes for a simplified view of Rundgren’s work, songs like the soulful “A Dream Goes on Forever” which blends the drum machine experiments of Sly Stone with the fey, tin pan alley pop of Elton John, and the gentle revelation of “I Saw The Light” are phenomenal even when heard out of context.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.0 out of 5
100 Ratings

100 Ratings

Tonus ,

Not Bad

This is a pretty decent "greatest hits" compilation. Honestly, though, it doesn't even scratch the surface of his gift to the musical world. Whoever wrote the original review saying that "Anthology" contained "too much music" for the average listener *had* to be joking. Again, it only really touches on some highlights.
I would recommend looking into songs like "Tiny Demons," "Hawking," "Hideaway," "Gaya's Eyes," "Eastern Intrigue," "If I Have to be Alone," "Pretending to Care," "Afterlife" (from his most recent and incredibly well-done release "Liars"), "Fascist Christ," (Utopia's) "Mated," "Hodja," the "Healing" trilogy... I could go on and on with a very long list of awesome music, here.
If you like any of the songs on this CD, I would recommend going and finding some of his original albums, because most of his musical gems weren't the "hits," so to speak.
C'mon, people! We're talking about the guy that inspired Prince (I saw an interview where Prince said, "Without Todd Rundgren, there would be no Prince." That's some pretty heavy words, considering the source.)! Well, take that for what you will, but Todd is amazing and the universe is a much richer place musically for having him here.

tony2 ,

Voicestra

I got to see Todd in Lubbock, Texas in the late 80's. He played to only about 150 people in a converted movie house downtown. He came out by himself, played a few notes on the piano, looked out at the crowd and said, "Who told you guys?". He then proceeded to play most of these great songs and an incredible version of "What's Goin' On". There were no instrumentalists other than Todd. He was backed by about ten vocalists (Voicestra) who sang and used their voice to do bass, percussion and even the lead guitar on "I Saw The Light". I know he paid to do that show out of his own pocket, but he never let his disappointment show. Don't forget to pick up some Nazz, too. You'll get a very different "Hello It's Me" and one of the greatest psychedelic rock songs ever, "Open My Eyes".

DD-69 ,

A Musicians Musician

Always something new to hear even in his earliest songs.
This is just a drop of water from the ocean of tunes Todd's hammered out.
The Wizard, The True Star.

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