I got an amazing package in the mail last month from the good folks at Rhino Records that I’ve been soaking up since, like sunshine on that perfect midsummer day. Todd Rundgren’s seminal (landmark?) album Something/Anything has been reissued on perfect 180-gram vinyl LP and — to my ear — it has never sounded better. The curious thing about receiving this reissue was that only a week before I had pulled out my stock copy of the album (purchased in the early 80s) and it — frankly — sounded pretty awful on my new turntable. This was surprising, since the album was very well recorded by Todd, who proved beyond question his engineering and production savvy to the world, amassing big hits with the singles “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw The Light.” But then, there was still the problem of recycled vinyl going on back then due to the late-’70s oil crisis, so perhaps its not entirely surprising.
So I had it in my mind that I was going to get a new copy of this important album… soon!
This new pressing from Rhino Records lovingly reproduces the original artwork (it looks better than my original pressing, actually!) and includes the original multi-page fold out insert with lyrics, photos, and credits (which my copy that I bought new back in the day, not used, never had!). Todd plays every instrument on the first three sides of the album. Side four features some of the great session players of the times, including legends like Randy and Michael Brecker and Rick Derringer, as well as Billy Mundi (of The Mothers of Invention!), Hunt and Tony Sales (yes, Soupy’s kids, who later played with Bowie and Iggy Pop), and even the debut recording performance by fellow Pennsylvanian Vicki Sue “Turn The Beat Around” Robinson!
Why is a reissue like this necessary for a seemingly simple pop record? Well, because its not simple, and in fact is full of dynamic melodies and lush instrumentation; this was in some ways the merging of blue-eyed soul, doo-wop, progressive, and old tyme rock and roll that in some ways set the template for Hall and Oats to follow. Next to Paul McCartney’s first solo album and Emmit Rhodes’ first for Dunhill, Todd’s Something/Anything proved to many that it was possible for an artist to have a hit with a play-everything-yourself production.
The 180-gram pressing is super quiet, and way thicker than my old pressing. So until I find a (a) white label promo copy and (b) an original colored vinyl pressing (first 5000 copies back in 1972, uber rare) or a reasonably priced Mobile Fidelity version, this will serve my needs just fine. It’s a great investment for your collection of one of the most perfect 2-LP sets ever. Grab it now.
Here is a clip of Todd performing semi-live on The Midnight Special circa 1973 in an outfit that would make Roxy Music-era Brian Eno jealous!
And if you ever wondered about the vocal similarities, check out Todd and Daryl Hall singing “I Saw The Light” on Daryl’s live webcast show in 2009: