Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Todd Rundgren - I Saw The Light

Todd Rundgren - I Saw The Light

I listened to this classic early 1970s rock tune by Todd Rundgren tonight while picking up some ice cream at Schnucks. Yup, that's how I'm going to start this little post About Todd Rundgren.

I recall having the song I Saw The Light stuck in my head many times as a youngster. It is an infectious tune. It comes from a time when guys were wearing long hair, wild clothing, and when mellowing out with friends meant passing the peace pipe while listening to albums with their best friends.

The aspect of I Saw The Light which I like the most is that the song focuses on just that one moment, that one incredible moment when two people become a couple. It's like magic, that moment, and to nicely capture it in a song is something song writers have taken to task for as long as there have been love songs. The moment takes place lyrically in just a glance, a sparkle of light, in a fraction of a second was all it took - and that is what is being shared in this song. Human beings are incredible at communicating their feelings when they want to, and sometimes even when they don't, but the heightened senses present when one walks hand in hand with a date put those communication skills into orbit.

Baby Boomer Rock Dedicated To Love

In the Seventies despite the complex, and strained relationship young Baby Boomers were having with their Greatest Generation parents (i.e., there was a very real generation gap) the one common feature that was evident in the music of both generations was the topic of love, and romance.

Baby Boomer's parent's songs were very romantic indeed, but the expectation for that generation was that holding hands, kissing, and hugging led to marriage first, then to the hanky panky. Baby Boomer rock songs were likewise romantic, and focused upon love, but the necessity of making it to the altar was vanishing , and this change was reflected within the lyrics of rock love songs.

The truth is that Baby Boomer's parents were having premarital sex too, but the Greatest Generation was so stilted by censorship that heavy levels of metaphor, and allegory had to be used to convey anything more than kissing, hugging, and holding hands.

Despite the cultural changes of the Sixties, and Seventies, and the slow demise of the prohibition on references to premarital love making within love songs love itself remained a vital ingredient in rock love songs. Just because couples could admit to premarital conjugation, and songs were written in a more open, and honest way didn't mean that love itself was suddenly obsolete.

One criticism leveled at Baby Boomers by their parents were that their songs were just loud noise with people screaming, another was that Baby Boomers were more interested in letting it all hang out, having sex that is, without taking the necessary step of professing love, and respect for those they were jumping into bed with. Yet, one only need to briefly review the themes of the most popular songs of the Baby Boomers to know that love reigned supreme.

Baby Boomer rock groups even managed to express complex forms of love in songs - philosophical love, love of one's brothers, love of the human race, which had never been expressed in popular Greatest Generation love songs. Many groups during the height of the alternative hippie culture performed songs which could be interpreted as conventional love songs, and also as spiritual love one another songs - just listen to Moody Blues, or the Beatles for examples.

Will Hip Hop Be Totally Forgotten - Probably.

Today (2008) many of the more popular "lyrics", in the more popular "songs" essentially dismiss love all together. There's mention of couplings, but more like that as seen on Animal Planet than anything else. Get down on your Knees B(#TCH! Is the attitude of the day, and romance is hard to find in the most pop of the most popular songs among today's youth. Love is seen as old fashioned, and weak. A lack of compassion, and tendency towards violence has replaced love as an underlying theme.

I don't quite know what will become of the current generation of pop music fans under twenty. Just what they'll be looking back at in those tender moments as middle aged couples is the question. Without catchy lyrics, melded with emotive melodies to help them hold onto such songs what exactly will make their beat driven rap memory worthy?

The pop music industry 0f the last fifteen years has been run by rich white men who have exploited black gang culture to harm black families, promote hatred of women, and mock any values which promote life, peace, and love. Teenagers desperate to prove to themselves that they are unique, and thus different from their parents have been fed a diet of trash, and don't always know enough to reject it for what it is.

This isn't an indictment of every hip hop song ever written. I've listened to many groups, and performers who were heavily influenced by hip hop, and the infusion of heavy beat within lyrics can be enthralling. Hip hop isn't new to the twentieth century, and it will be around for as long as people are, but replacement of lyrics with prose, and replacement of melody with percussion will never happen - not in the long run. Melody, and lyrics together form an emotive bond that helps the process of memory. Mixed with love and strong emotions song will beat rap a million times over again - that's why when you find yourself in a store wandering down the isles in the middle of the night you won't be listening to rap, or ever will - it's truly forgettable.

Love Beats Warner Brothers & Sony Corp Every Time

In the meantime at least I have an occasional chance to learn a bit about an artist from the past by checking out YouTube, and Google. One thing I've learned about Todd Rundgren is that he is on tour. The man has never stopped working in all the years since producing a string of hits in the Seventies. He's been working since the late Sixties. Rundgren appears to have quite a following. He deliberately changed styles, and refused to be trapped into playing just his hits over the years - staying committed to his progressive roots.

Todd Rondgren's I Saw The Light

It was late last night
I was feeling something wasn't right
There was not another soul in sight
Only you, only you
So we walked along
Though I knew there was something wrong
And the feeling got me oh so strong about you
Then you gazed up at me, and the answer was plain to see
Because I saw the light in your eyes

Though we had our fling
I just never would suspect a thing
Until that little bell began to ring in my head
In my head

But I tried to run
Though I knew it wouldn't help me none
Because I couldn't ever love no one, or so I said
But my feelings for you
We're just something I never knew
Until I saw the light in your eyes

But I love you best
It's not something that I say in jest
Because you're different, girl, from all the rest

In my eyes

And I ran out before, but I won't do it anymore
Can't you see the light in my eyes

Todd Rundgren - Sept 2007
Todd Rundgren coming to Chicagoland!

Park West

Tickets are currently available for this show. Price: $52.50

1 comment:

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Todd Rundgren is vastly underappreciated, even by people like me who think he's underappreciated yet still don't own much of his work. I did have Something/Anything? and Hermit of Mink Hollow on vinyl, but since going digital, I've only acquired a small greatest hits compilation.

I Saw the Light is a great song and, thanks to your post, I'll be dialing it up on the iPod later today.

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