…like nothin’ else to make you feel sure you’re alive

Young men are pretty much the same everywhere, I guess. They never have their wits about them. They never mean what they say, because they don’t understand the use of words. They are generally half impudent and half timid … Indeed there is no such thing as a young man, for a man is not really a man till he is middle-aged.” – The Duke’s Children (1879) Anthony Trollope 

Born in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby in 1948, Todd Harry Rundgren had some success as a teen with his garage rock group, the Nazz.  A fine songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he was influenced instrumentally (and production-wise) by mid/late ‘60s British groups like The Who, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Cream and vocally by the likes of The Beach Boys, Gilbert & Sullivan, classic Rock n’ Roll and by Broadway musicals.  His major inspiration however, at least early-on, was the great Laura Nyro.

“I knew her fairly well,” he once said. “I actually had arranged a meeting (in 1968), just because I was so infatuated with her and I wanted to meet the person who had produced all this music. We got along, and we were kind of friendly, and actually, after I met her the first time, she asked me if I wanted to be her bandleader. But the Nazz had just signed a record contract and I couldn’t skip out on the band, even though it was incredibly tempting.”

Actually, breaking it off with the Nazz came the following year and Rundgren, who’d considered working as a computer programmer, learned how to engineer and master his own records, becoming a well respected and accomplished producer, not only for his own projects but (through the years) for numerous others too, including albums by: The Band, Bad Finger, Grand Funk Railroad, Hall & Oates, Ian and Sylvia, Meat Loaf, Patti Smith, The Tubes, XTC and Cheap Trick.

In 1970 he formed his next band, Runt with (what a kick!) Soupy Sales’ two sons, Hunt and Tony and released a debut album that some maintain is the group’s debut (the name of the album was also Runt) while others refer to it as Rundgren’s debut solo album as he not only wrote, produced and sang the songs, he also played many of the instruments as well, including keyboards and guitars.  Rundgren alone is pictured on the album cover and, when reissued, his name received the sole artist credit.

The third track of Runt, and today’s selection about timid/impudent young men everywhere, who never quite “mean what they say because they don’t understand the use of words,” hit Number 20 on the Billboard Charts.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Thursday 26 April 

We Gotta’ Get You a Woman

 Leroy, boy, is that you?

I thought your post-hangin’ days were through

Sunkin’ eyes and full of sighs

Tell no lies, you get wise

I tell you now we’re gonna pull you through

There’s only one thing left that we can do

 We gotta’ get you a woman

It’s like nothin’ else to make you feel sure you’re alive

We gotta’ get you a woman

We better get walkin’, we’re wastin’ time talkin’ now

 Leroy, boy, you’re my friend

You say how and I’ll say when

Come and meet me down the street

Take a seat, it’s my treat

You may not ever get this chance again

That empty feeling’s just about to end

Talkin’ ’bout life and what it means to you

It don’t mean nothin’ if it don’t run through

I got one thing to say, you know it’s true

You got to find some time to get this thing together

 We gotta’ get you a woman

It’s like nothin’ else to make you feel sure you’re alive

We gotta’ get you a woman

We better get walkin’, we’re wastin’ time talkin’ now

Talkin’ ’bout things about that special one

They may be stupid but they sure are fun

I’ll give it to you while we’re on the run

Because we ain’t got time to get this thing together, ’cause we

Got to get together with a woman who has been around

One who knows better than to let you down

Let’s hope there’s still one left in this whole town

And that she’ll take some time to get this thing together

We gotta’ get you a woman

And when we’re through with you

We’ll get me one too

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