Song of the Day #1,559: ‘I Saw the Light’ – Todd Rundgren

I have to make an embarrassing confession. For years I’ve confused Todd Rundgren with Ted Nugent.

When I’ve read favorite artists of mine such as Ben Folds name Rundgren as an influence, I’ve thought “Jesus… the gun nut who basically threatened to kill Barack Obama a few months ago? He must have really gone downhill.”

But no, Rundgren isn’t a psycho fascist. He’s a singer-songwriter-producer who released his most popular material in the early 70s but has had a prolific career that’s still humming along.

I’ve barely dipped my toe into Rundgren’s discography, but a cursory listen to his most acclaimed album, Something/Anything?, left me impressed. He definitely sounds like the 70s, in ways both good and bad. And I can hear how he’s influenced Ben Folds in his melodies as well as his use of background vocals.

I feel like I owe Rundgren a little more time, particularly after I confused him for an ass-clown like Ted Nugent.

Today’s track is one of Rundgren’s most famous. The opening track of Something/Anything?, ‘I Saw the Light’ was written in the style of Carole King.

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 hit me oh so strong about you
Then you gazed up at me and the answer was plain to see
‘Cause I saw the light in your eyes

Though we had our fling
I just never would suspect a thing
‘Til 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
‘Cause I couldn’t ever love no one, or so I said
But my feelings for you
Were just something I never knew
‘Til I saw the light in your eyes

But I love you best
It’s not something that I say in jest (ha ha)
‘Cause 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

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5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,559: ‘I Saw the Light’ – Todd Rundgren

  1. Andrea Katz says:

    Today’s post made me laugh. I don’t know why I love reading music criticism but I do. Thanks.

  2. Dana says:

    Odd combo to mix up. Was it just the Ted v. Todd? I know this song fairly well, and look forward to the next time it appears on song pop 70’s collection, particularly if Nugent is one of the choices :-)

    Definitely can hear the influence he had on folds now that you mention it.

  3. Clay says:

    Yeah, I guess it was just the first names.

  4. pegclifton says:

    Definitely agree with the Carole King comparison.

  5. Amy says:

    THIS is Todd Rudgren?! I could not have named the artist who performed this song for all the women in Romney’s binders. In fact, I think I must confess that I, too, may have thought that Rudgren and Nugent were a single person. Maybe it’s in the genes. Regardless, this is a great song, and I’m glad to have learned something new today. Best of all, I returned to your blog on a day you called someone an “ass-clown.” ;)

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