Todd Rundgren–Good Vibrations

I seem to have forgotten the intent of this blog, and that is to write about music.

This morning, I was thinking about Todd Rundgren’s Faithful, a 1976 album that found him assiduously recreating a series of 60s staples on side one from folks like The Beatles, Dylan, and the Beach Boys.

It’s a nifty trick, to be sure, but it’s unclear why he would undertake such a venture, beyond just demonstrating his proficiency at mimicry.

It reminds me of that basic shot-for-shot remake of Psycho that flopped at the box office some time ago in that it’s hard to imagine the need for such slavish imitation.

And it’s not like most people wouldn’t pick out the fact that this is a simulacrum.

The hope for any cover is that the artist brings something to the song that gives it new life, that deepens your appreciation for it, that impresses you with inventiveness, or something like that.

Even so, it’s hard not to be slightly impressed by the effort Rundgren put into recreating the songs.

But I was even more impressed with the effort he put into his own compositions on side two.


Meet the Beetles

I watched Sesame Street far later in life than I suspect you are meant to without having had children of your own.

It always made for great comfort food TV, in part because it had catchy songs but also there were the Muppets, and when they appeared there was a good chance that you were going to see something that ended up in chaos and anarchy.

Yet there were occasions when Sesame Street also lovingly sent up pop culture, like this video featuring the ‘Beetles’ singing Letter B, a good-natured homage to Let it Be.

Richard Hunt, who is dearly, dearly missed, provides the lead vocal, and Christopher Cerf, who has a very interesting family and professional history (and was the inspiration for Chrissy of Chrissy and the Alphabeats), wrote the song:

Really, if this doesn’t make you smile, I cannot imagine anything will.

The band’s output was relatively limited, compared to the actual Beatles, but it did last long enough to collaborate with Cookie Monster on Hey Food.