Thursday, November 30, 1972

Todd Rundgren “Hello It’s Me” released this month

Hello It’s Me

Todd Rundgren

Writer(s): Todd Rundgren (see lyrics here)

Released: November 1972

First Charted: September 28, 1973

Peak: 5 US, 2 CB, 6 GR, 4 HR, 8 RR, 17 AC, 2 AR, 1 CO, 17 CN, 68 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 60.5 video, 36.4 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Todd Rundgren formed his first band, Nazz, in 1967 when he was 19 years old. The first song he ever wrote, “Hello It’s Me,” was inspired by a failed high school relationship. Todd got dumped rather casually and he wrote a song about how he would have preferred her breaking up with him – in a sensitive phone call. He ended up flipping the perspective so that the guy breaks off the relationship and walks the listener through one side of a phone call in which “he hashes out why they can’t be together and lets her know that she should have her freedom.” SF

Rundgren said the song’s chord progression was taken from the introduction of a rendition of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home by jazz organist Jimmy Smith. SF He said, “Those changes became what are the changes underneath ‘Hello It’s Me.’ [They] are actually almost lifted literally from something that was, from Jimmy Smith’s standpoint, a throwaway.” WK

The “dirge-like version with lead vocals by Stewkey Antoni” SF was released as the B-side to “Open My Eyes” in July 1968. However, Boston radio station WMEX started playing “Hello” instead and other stations followed suit. The song eventually reached #66 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Nazz released two studio albums before Rundgren departed for a solo career. He got his first taste of top-40 success with “We Gotta Get You a Woman,” a #20 hit in 1970. His second solo album gave him two more minor hits before he broke through with his greatest mainstream success on 1972’s Something/Anything? The album produced the #16 hit “I Saw the Light” (which is the one Rundgren thought would be his first hit) DT and a minor chart entry with “Couldn’t I Just Tell You.”

Then came a new, mid-tempo recording of “Hello It’s Me” which Rundgren called “just a dense arrangement of simple parts.” TB It was released as the album’s third single in November 1972. It didn’t catch on however, until it was reissued in August 1973 – by which time Rundgren had already released another album. The song rose to #5 on Billboard Hot 100, giving Rundgren the biggest hit of his career. He chose to reject commercial music after that and pursued “cultish credibility instead.” TB

In 1998, the song was used significantly in the pilot episode of That ‘70s Show. It was also played during the end credits of the show’s series finale in 2006. Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, the Isley Brothers, and Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs have covered the song.


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First posted 3/11/2023; last updated 4/1/2023.

Friday, November 24, 1972

David Bowie “Ziggy Stardust” released as a B-side

Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie

Writer(s): David Bowie (see lyrics here)

Released: November 24, 1972

Peak: 2 CL, 4 CO, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 53.1 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

David Bowie’s fifth album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, was the one that made him a superstar. He conceived Ziggy Stardust as a bisexual rock star sent to Earth to stave off an impending apocalyptic disaster. Bowie drew inspiration for the character from Vince Taylor. Bowie met the English singer after he’d had a breakdown and thought he was a cross between a god and an alien. WK

The name of the character was inspired by Norman Carl Odam, a performer known as the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. Bowie also drew inspiration for the character from American singer Iggy Pop and fashion designer Yamamoto Kansai. WK Bowie based the character’s clothing on the Malcom McDowell character in the film version of A Clockwork Orange as well as William Burroughs book Wild Boys. SF The persona became a huge influence on the development of glam rock with its flamboyant costumes and singers who presented themselves as sexually ambiguous. SF

The song “Ziggy Stardust” was written in early 1971 before Bowie even began recording sessions for the Hunky Dory album which preceded Ziggy. It served as the centerpiece of the album. While the character had been introduced earlier in the album, this song focused on his rise and fall. Ziggy wins over fans, but falls from grace as a result of becoming too conceited and egotistical. Bowie said it was “about the ultimate rock superstar destroy by the fanaticism he creates.” SF

The song wasn’t released as a single, but did appear as the B-side of “The Jean Genie,” the lead single from the follow-up album, Aladdin Sane, which also drew from the Ziggy Stardust persona. A 1972 live version of the song was released as a single in France in 1994 to promote the bootleg album, Santa Monica ‘72.

The goth-rock group Bauhaus recorded the song in 1982 and took it to #15 on the UK charts.


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First posted 7/23/2022; last updated 7/13/2023.