REVIEW

A Todd Rundgren tribute: "Someone/Anyone?" compilation lovingly covers "Something/Anything?"

Marshall Crenshaw and more top talent mark the 50th anniversary of Rundgren's masterpiece of love and desperation

By Kenneth Womack

Published February 9, 2022 10:30AM (EST)

Todd Rundgren signs a Something/Anything album at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on June 5, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Harmony Gerber/WireImage/Getty Images)
Todd Rundgren signs a Something/Anything album at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on June 5, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Harmony Gerber/WireImage/Getty Images)

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Todd Rundgren's classic "Something/Anything?" LP. While he took issue at the time with being labeled as a "male Carole King," Rundgren's double-album was released at the acme of the singer-songwriter era. With Rundgren's deeply penetrating songs of love and desperation, "Something/Anything?" is one of popular music's most enduring masterworks.

To commemorate the occasion, producer Fernando Perdomo has brought together a host of top-flight musicians in celebration of the album's golden anniversary with a new tribute called "Someone/Anyone?". In 2021, Perdomo assembled a similar collection to mark the original release of Paul and Linda McCartney's "Ram." In a particularly fitting move, the profits from the "Something/Anything?" tribute will be donated to Rundgren's charity Spirit of Harmony, which advocates for music in schools, especially music performance for youth.

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A tour-de-force, the tribute album is chock-full of lovingly crafted cover versions of "Something/Anything?" tracks. Standout cuts include Brent Bourgeois's sterling take of "Hello, It's Me," Rundgren's 1973 top-five hit. In Bourgeois's hands, "Hello, It's Me" retains its original flavor, while enjoying fresh shades courtesy of the singer's top-notch lead vocals. And then there's Marshall Crenshaw's superb turn on "Couldn't I Just Tell You." With his sizzling guitar work and vocals to boot, Crenshaw brings the song to life in innovative fashion.

Meanwhile, Louise Goffin (Carole King's daughter) provides a throwback, girl group-era lead vocal on "I Saw the Light," the original lead track from "Something/Anything?". In a similar vein, Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots produce an unforgettable version of "Saving Grace" in all of its buoyant, foot-stomping majesty.

Indie artist Ken Sharp offers soulful takes on "It Wouldn't Have Made any Difference" and the bonus version of "I Saw the Light." The recording artist behind last year's splendid "Miniatures" LP, Sharp embodies the spirit behind Rundgren's homespun work on "Something/Anything?". A gifted multi-instrumentalist, Sharp really shines on "It Wouldn't Have Made any Difference," accenting the song's heartfelt realizations about love's trials and tribulations.

Perdomo brilliantly concludes the tribute LP with a selection of bonus tracks from the Miami Beach High School Rock Ensemble, including a scorching take on "Money (That's What I Want)." The inclusion of the high school combo makes for a fitting nod to Rundgren's charity and its vital cultural mission.


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Kenneth Womack

Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin and the host of "Everything Fab Four," a podcast about the Beatles distributed by Salon. He is also the author of "Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles," published in 2019 in celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary, and "John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life." His newest project is the authorized biography and archive of Beatles road manager Mal Evans, due out in 2023.

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