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Watch Todd Rundgren’s Buck Wild "No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator" Guitar Solo

Todd Rundgren performing at Maritime Hall in San Francisco on June 11, 2000.
Todd Rundgren performing at Maritime Hall in San Francisco on June 11, 2000. (Image credit: Clayton Call/Redferns)

Happy birthday to Todd Rundgren!

Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (opens in new tab) last year, Rundgren has performed numerous roles throughout his colorful career.

Recognized as a talented multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, multimedia artist, engineer and producer, Rundgren first rose to prominence as a guitarist in the late ‘60s as a founding member of psychedelic rock band Nazz (opens in new tab).

In the early ‘70s, Rundgren turned his hand to producing records while simultaneously striking out on a solo career.

Appearing in 1970, his debut solo record, Runt (opens in new tab), was the first in a catalog of highly original and experimental releases spanning well over five decades.

“My latest record, Space Force (opens in new tab), is all over the place,” Rundgren told Guitarist. “It’s another album of collaborations, so every song is different in terms of instrumental make-up and who’s playing on it. 

"I’m doing something of a ballad with Adrian Belew.”

Todd Rundgren 'Runt' album artwork

(Image credit: Ampex)

In addition to their recent studio collaborations, the much-lauded Celebrating David Bowie (opens in new tab) tour featuring Belew and Rundgren is due to kick off again this fall with numerous dates scheduled across North America.

“This is Major Todd to ground control. I’m stepping through the door,” commented Rundgren. 

“In 1973, I met David Bowie and one of us ended up crying.

“I met David several times after that. Some of our phases, like glam, coincided. David had more of that Andy Warhol kind of sensibility, a pop sensibility.”

Todd Rundgren 'Todd' album artwork

(Image credit: Bearsville)

Speaking of Rundgren’s astounding fretboard prowess, David Bowie and the Cure guitarist Reeves Gabrels recently told Guitar Player, “Todd is strangely underappreciated as a guitarist.”

Referring to his guitar solo in the track “No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator” from 1974’s Todd (opens in new tab) album, Gabrel’s went on to say, “He conjures up a surreal sonic landscape whose visual corollary, for me, would be Dali’s The Persistence of Memory (opens in new tab).

“Are psychedelics bad? Let Todd offer his opinion.”

Order the Todd Rundgren: Live in San Francisco DVD here (opens in new tab).

Browse the Todd Rundgren catalog here (opens in new tab).

Rod Brakes is a music writer with an expertise in all things guitar-related. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a journalist covering artists, industry pros and gear includes writing hundreds of articles and features for the likes of Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar, as well as contributions for specialist books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.