Todd Rundgren was recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Patti Smith, who – via a virtual link – bestowed the honour on the rock veteran during the Rock Hall Ceremony in Cleveland, USA. Rundgren, however, who has been consistently indifferent toward the Hall Of Fame institution since its inception, chose not to attend the ceremony, having said that it would be “hypocritical” to do so.
During Smith’s pre-recorded segment on Rundgren, the musician, poet and memoirist said: “Todd and I met in our early twenties. We were both from the Philadelphia area. The runt and the wallflower”.
She went on to describe some of Todd’s accolades, describing how he was “already quite accomplished at 22 years old, the head engineer at Bearsville Studios. I was allowed to sit in the studio as he worked on ‘Stage Fright’ with The Band.” You can watch a clip of the full speech below.
“He was unflinching in the face of new technology,” Smith continued. “He would just bend it in his hands. Smith has also been reported to have said that, even with high-profile musicians, he had a dizzying level of confidence: “He would tell The Band, ‘If you know what you want, I will help you. If you don’t know what you want, I’ll do it for you.’”
As well as working with The Band, Rundgren produced Patti Smith Group’s 1979 album Wave. His last album was released in 2017 under the title White Knight and featured collaborations with the likes of Robyn, Trent Reznor, and Daryl Hall. Even with the impact of Covid-19, Rundgren has continued to perform live, embarking on his Clearly Human virtual tour earlier this year.
As well as Rundgren, the 2021 Rock Hall class included Foo Fighters, Carole King, Jay-Z, Tina Turner, and the Go-Go’s. Randy Rhoads, Billy Preston, and LL Cool J were all honoured with the Musical Excellence Award, while Kraftwerk, Gil-Scott Heron, and Charley Patton were given the Early Influence award.
See the clips, below.