Todd 10 Events of 1997

by Jerry Caldwell

10. VBTR

Release of "The Very Best of Todd Rundgren". Did anyone actually look at the order of these songs before the cd was released? And "Bang The Drum..."?, was Todd's told about this?

9. WAT

Todd makes and catches a wave with the release of "With A Twist...", a bossa nova reworking of some of the very best of the above, and more. A coast-to-coast tour launches Todd and lounge as the popular culture flavor-of-the- month.


Appearance on top-rated slime-meister television talk show thrusts Todd into the trailer park. The shows' topic: "Actresses Who Think Their Fathers Are Rock Stars". The guests, besides Todd and Liv Tyler: Heather Frampton, and RuPaul, who vows he/she is the love-child of Little Richard and Carol Channing.


After his "Tiki Lounge" 2-hour concert video debuts on boomer music channel, VH1, as the first "pop-up" concert, Todd is asked to host the sister-network's awards show. He declines, saying Reebok has a soccer game that day.


On the heels of the financial and critical success of the "X-Games" theme song written for ESPN, Todd is asked to compose the theme for CBS's 1998 Winter Olympic coverage. Todd comes up with the slogan: "Can We Just Chill, Friends?", along with a reworked lounge version of the song. Waking Dreams markets it world-wide.


Cashing in on the lounge craze sweeping the country, the National Baseball Association recruits Todd to sing the national anthem, bossa nova style, on the first game of the 1997 World Series. Not since Rosanne's San Diego solo has America reacted to the singing of this song. The nation was surprised, but loved the unique blend of lounge and Hendrix. During the telecast, our own Romo is spotted behind home plate holding up a "Todd 3:16" sign.


Todd's triumphant tour of China calms jittery nerves on the Far East financial markets, and prompts the Chinese people to unofficially adopt "Love Is The Answer" as its national anthem. Under growing pressure with Todd's followers, China grants human rights, frees all political prisoners, and in a surprise move, bans Starbucks. Sales of giga-pets soar in the US, all under the Waking Dreams trademark.

3. SNL

In the musical event of 1997, Todd, hosting NBC's "Saturday Night Live", shares a lounge act skit with an ailing, but enthusiastic, Frank Sinatra. The duo sings Buck Owen's, then Ringo's, "Act Naturally", and later, "My Way" with rich Brazilian percussion. While the tabloids had Sinatra on his death bed, SNL and the Sunday morning network news talk shows had Frank and Todd swinging. The national reaction prompts the duo to announce a 10-day holiday mini-tour. Before the dates are set, Sinatra dies in his sleep, one hand holding an empty martini glass... the other clutching a banana.


Having completed the Tiki Lounge tour at JAXX in Springfield, Virginia, Todd is summoned to the annual Renaisance Festival on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, by President Clinton. There Todd and the boys will perform a private concert. On the trip there, Todd's bus experiences a minor mechanical problem (unusual smoke in the passenger cabin) and is forced to stop overnight in Virginia Beach. I run into Todd at the garage, and offer the stranded band a place to crash/party/relax. Todd said they also needed a place to rehearse their upcoming appearance on SNL. I offer the studio where I work. Ironically, Frank Sinatra, vacationing at the beach, is also scheduled in at the studio to voice-over a new lounge version of the "Ricola" throat loungens commercial... (get it "lounge/loungens".) Todd and Frank click and begin sharing studio time. Between his work with Frank, Todd also rehearses material for the spring 1998 release, quickly and tentatively titled, "My Whey". Unfortunately I was out of videotape, but have a decent stereo dub off the board... as in the chairman of the board.


TV's "surprise" of the year was answered with TV's "shock" of the year. Seinfeld calls it quits, turning down a reported $5 MILL per episode, and leaving top-rated NBC looking for a Thursday night replacement and new peacock golden egg-layer. They turn to Todd, and his long-forgotten Disney pilot, "Never Neverland". Glad to give up the rights for a quick $250,000, ABC relinquishes what turns out to the demise of its network. NNL co-stars the Tiki lounge band, now renamed the Sons of the Individualist, as well as Paul Reubens as Todd's animated alter-ego. The so-called "show about something" soars in its Thursday night 9pm anchor position, then rockets to record- breaking rating heights as a monthly stand-in for Saturday Night Live. There Todd continues his post-difference nudge to up-and-coming runt-wannabees. He rules the popular culture and the network. Then, as expected by his fans, Todd heads back to the isle. He turns the reigns over to Doug Powell.