John Lennon Fights With Todd Rundgren AND Paul McCartney!

Paul McCartney’s – and Todd Rundgren’s – War Of Words Against John Lennon!

A True Star Todd Rundgren

There were two fascinating feuds from the 70’s – both involving John Lennon! I’ve written about these musical battles before – but, I wanted to share both for a reason. As you know, Todd has a new CD out now, the experimental and beautiful “STATE”:


And Paul McCartney has a new CD out as well, “NEW”…


As both Artists continue to thrive artistically, it’s interesting that they both shared a common musical feud…they both happened in the early 70’s – we all know the Beatles had a very bitter breakup in 1970…


McCartney released what has become one of his most brilliant albums, “RAM”…here is Macca’s picture inside the RAM album:

greatest albums of all time

That was followed by THIS vicious parody that John Lennon used on his next album:

john lennon

I wrote all about the issues involved in this feud in this post, which you can read by clicking here:

But it was shortly after this epic “Beatles Battle” that John Lennon took on Todd Rundgren:


Yes, I am a long time Todd Rundgren fan – and it drives me crazy that more people don’t have his greatest hits on their iPods – his music is a great mix of pop hits, classic songwriting, and passionate eccentricity! Look at some of these classic songs:

Hello, It’s Me!
A Dream Goes On Forever
Just One Victory
Can We Still Be Friends
Bang On The Drum All Day

I mean, c’mon man! Let’s show you Todd in all his glory, with this classic performance of “Can We Still Be Friends”:

todd rundgren

Todd first broke into the spotlight with his gold solo double LP “Something/Anything?” in 1972. This double album included the smash hit “Hello, It’s Me” as well as “I Saw The Light” and “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference”…as you can see from the back cover photo below, it was a studio full of crazy ideas and energy, and it was recently acknowledged on Rolling Stone’s list of the best one hundred albums of all time!

On The Road To Utopia!

He has released more than a dozen solo albums, and during the seventies and eighties he formed the successful band Utopia, releasing a number of classic hit albums. He has also been prolific as a producer and engineer on the recorded work of other musicians – which is the subject of a GREAT book.

A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio – by Paul Myers and Todd Rundgren – published in 2010.

This is a great book that captures the professional life of one of music’s great artists.

Hailed in the early stage of his career as a new pop-wunderkind, Todd produced a wide range of Artists, in many cases delivering their best work ever. Let’s take a look at some of the creative collaborations captured in detail in the book.

Todd also produced Hall & Oates – and yes, arguably the least commercial album ever released by the duo. On “Live From Daryl’s House”, the two discuss the album, and Daryl Hall is really unhappy at the opinion critics have formed that Todd was responsible for the non-commercial tone of the music…and then they sing a gorgeous version of “Wait For Me”.

If you go to the “Live From Daryl’s House” podcast, you can see both of Todd’s appearances on it – here they are performing “I Saw The Light” together from the second show they did together – which is great because Daryl’s entire production rolls up to Todd’s house in Hawaii…

As you saw, Daryl Hall fairly bristles when hearing that many blamed Todd for the album’s hard/experimental edge. The closest thing to a single on the album was “Too Much Too Soon”, but the title track is great, and the album as a whole is a terrific, energetic and very hard-edged mix of musical styles…considering Hall & Oates were the bestselling duo of the 80’s, it no doubt surprised fans to go back and find them singing a song call “Johnny Gore & The ‘C’ Eaters”….

And of course, Todd produced dozens of his own albums, including a sonic masterpiece called – of course, “A Wizard A True Star”. This brilliant album includes his classic “Just One Victory.”

Researched and written with the cooperation of Rundgren himself, “A Wizard A True Star” is a fascinating authoritative account of four decades of making magic in the recording studio.

So Todd Rundgren was on a roll creatively in the 70’s, but there was a short period of time when he got caught up in a very public feud with John Lennon himself!

Todd and the John Lennon Connection

This feud happened soon after Lennon’s battle with McCartney – it’s Todd versus John Lennon, and it all began with these quotes in the music magazine “Melody Maker” in 1973…

“Rundgren: all or nothing” by Ailan Jones
Melody Maker 11/73
These are selected Todd quotes about John Lennon from the story….

“John Lennon ain’t no revolutionary. He’s a f——- idiot, man. Shouting about revolution and acting like an a__. It just makes people feel uncomfortable.”

“All he really wants to do is get attention for himself, and if revolution gets him that attention, he’ll get attention through revolution. Hitting a waitress in the Troubador. What kind of revolution is that?”

“He’s an important figure, sure. But so was Richard Nixon. Nixon was just like another generation’s John Lennon. Someone who represented all sorts of ideals, but was out for himself underneath it all.”

These quotes drew an immediate and angry response from Lennon…


Here is John Lennon’s Letter to Todd Rundgren published in Melody Maker in response to Rundgren’s interview in the same magazine.

john lennon


Couldn’t resist adding a few “islands of truth” of my own, in answer to Turd Runtgreen’s howl of hate (pain.)

Dear Todd,

I like you, and some of your work, including “I Saw The Light”, which is not unlike “There’s A Place” (Beatles), melody wise.

1) I have never claimed to be a revolutionary. But I am allowed to sing about anything I want! Right?

2) I never hit a waitress in the Troubador, I did act like an ***, I was too drunk. So shoot me!

3) I guess we’re all looking for attention Rodd, do you really think I don’t know how to get it, without “revolution?” I could dye my hair green and pink for a start!

4) I don’t represent anyone but my SELF. It sounds like I represented something to you, or you wouldn’t be so violent towards me. (Your dad perhaps?)

5) Yes Dodd, violence comes in mysterious ways it’s wonders to perform, including verbal. But you’d know that kind of mind game, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

6) So the Nazz use to do “like heavy rock” then SUDDENLY a “light pretty ballad”. How original!

7) Which gets me to the Beatles, “who had no other style than being the Beatles”!! That covers a lot of style man, including your own, TO DATE…

Yes Godd, the one thing those Beatles did was to affect PEOPLES’ MINDS. Maybe you need another fix?

Somebody played me your rock and roll pussy song, but I never noticed anything. i think that the real reason you’re mad at me is cause I didn’t know who you were at the Rainbow (L.A.) Remember that time you came in with Wolfman Jack? When I found out later, I was cursing cause I wanted to tell you how good you were. (I’d heard you on the radio.)

Anyway, However much you hurt me darling; I’ll always love you,
J. L.
30th Sept. 1974


Todd has pointed out that the two later settled their differences, but it’s a fascinating bit of music history to me…and showcases how combative Lennon was in general in the early 70’s…Todd wrote a lot about forgiveness, and especially “healing”…

Here is Todd performing “Healing Part 1″ live in 2010…it is a beautiful album…

todd rundgren healing

I hope you check out the great book on Todd, as well as his great library of music, as he truly is “A Wizard, A True Star!”


Categories: Books, Classic Rock, Current Hits, Greatest Albums Of All Time, John Lennon, Modern Rock, Music, Music Biographies, Music Documentaries, Music History, Music Videos, Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Todd Rundgren, Uncategorized

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