A Todd Rundgren album can vary between pure pop to bossa nova, guitar rock to wild experimentation; like the proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get with the next Rundgren album. Released in 1989, the Nearly Human album is Todd at his best, a pop masterpiece of well-crafted songs performed impeccably, live-in-the-studio. “Parallel Lines” is one of the strongest cuts, initially written for an off-Broadway musical based on the script for a never-produced 3rd Beatles movie.

“Parallel Lines” (Todd Rundgren) Copyright 1989 Fiction Music, Inc./Todd Rundgren BMI

— This show is one of many great podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Check ’em all out!

It Came From Boston (Vol. 2): Local boy from Wellesley, MA pays his dues in & around Boston and New York; eventually becomes a solo artist and strikes gold on his 2nd solo album, Don’t Say No. “Lonely Is The Night” was the 2nd single and my favorite track from the album, so let’s have a listen to this classic track from the early ’80’s.

“Lonely Is The Night” (Billy Squier) Copyright 1981 Songs Of The Knight

— This show is part of the Pantheon network of music-related podcasts. Check out their other shows!

To say Rush has a devoted fan base would be an understatement. I know, because I was a card-carrying member of the “Rush Backstage Fan Club” back in the ’80’s. Perhaps no Rush song connected so directly with their fans as “Subdivisions”. On this episode, we celebrate Neil Peart with a deeper look at this fan favorite.

“Subdivisions” (Music by Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson, Words by Neil Peart) Copyright 1982 Core Music Publishing

It Came From Boston: 5 experienced musicians come together to make something new: keyboard whiz Greg Hawkes; the bassist with the killer voice, Benjamin Orr; drummer David Robinson from the legendary Modern Lovers; one of the tastiest guitarists in the business, Elliot Easton; and singer/songwiriter/guitarist & mastermind Ric Ocasek. Merging classic guitar rock with the burgeoning synth-pop sounds to bring New Wave to the masses, The Cars defined that sound for the late-70’s/Early ’80’s. It all started on local Boston radio with this song. 

“Just What I Needed” (Ric Ocasek) Copyright 1978 Lido Music, Inc.

Few bands have changed their sound as drastically as Yes did on their 90125 album, a radical departure from their previous progressive rock style.  But it ended up giving them their one & only #1 hit, “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”.  In this episode, we follow the song’s evolution from Trevor Rabin’s solo demo to the final production, including its innovative production techniques (such as being one of the first rock songs to use samples).  This was the most challenging episode I’ve done yet, but I think it was worth it.  If you enjoyed it, share it with your friends!

“Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, Trevor Horn & Chris Squire) Copyright 1983 Carlin Music Corp, Unforgettable Songs And Affirmative Music

70 years ago this month (June 2019), George Orwell’s “1984” was first published.  So let’s give George an ol’ Rock & Roll salute by looking at one of the many songs inspired by his book.  Sure, I could’ve done David Bowie’s “1984”, but that would be too easy.  I’m a big Utopia fan, so this is a good excuse to take a look at another one of their tracks.  It’s Utopia in dystopia!

For more 1984-inspired songs, check out Eurythmics “Ministry of Love”, Radiohead’s “2+2=5”, or “Standards” by The Jam, just to name a few.

“Winston Smith Takes It On The Jaw” (Utopia) Copyright 1983 Unearthly Music/Fiction Music (BMI) Terrestrial Music/Fourth Floor Music (ASCAP)

I will admit that I can be prone to hyperbole, but I’m convinced this is The Best Album Of The 1980’s and one of the greatest albums of all time.  It is a perfect album.  A magnificent song cycle that reveals something new each time you listen to it.  A masterwork of songwriting and production.  I could go on…

This song is a blast of pure pop; catchy, clever and concise– 3 minutes and 20 seconds of pop genius.  It will make you smile.

NOTE: During the podcast, I reference “The Fool Guitar”.  More details on that legendary instrument can be found here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fool_(guitar)

“That’s Really Super, Supergirl” (Andy Partridge) Copyright 1986 Virgin Nymph Music, Inc (BMI) – Copyright 2010 Ape House Ltd