While Todd Rundgren's pop song craftsmanship yielded hits like "I Saw the Light" and "Hello, It's Me" his legacy goes well beyond the well-crafted chart-topping songs that he is most well known for. Rundgren's interests and talents range from sonic experimentation and production to computer technology and internet music delivery. These fascinations and projects pulled Rundgren from the mainstream spotlight but garnered him a lasting imprint on the world of music.
During the '70s and '80s, Rundgren seemingly worked nonstop, releasing up to two albums a year as a solo artist or as part of the band Utopia. With such an extensive catalog, Rundgren is known for his continuous change in sound. While never abandoning the power pop sensibilities that lent themselves so well to his early success with 1972's Something/Anything, Rundgren's music evolved to include influences from psychedelic rock to jazz fusion to the synth experimentalism. His mid-'70s work showed a strong focus on cosmic themes, including spirituality and philosophy, culminating in 1975's Initiation. 1976 saw Rundgren move back towards pop material with Faithful, an album that was half original material, half re-interpretations of classic pop songs from artists like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beach Boys.
In addition to his almost endless solo/Utopia recording, Rundgren also focused heavily on producing other artists' work. In his production career, Rundgren has worked with a variety of genres and artists, who include Patti Smith, the New York Dolls, Grand Funk Railroad, Hall & Oates, Cheap Trick, the Psychedelic Furs, and many more. His biggest success on the production side of things came with Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell. The unexpected smash hit (much or which is owed to Rundgren's vision and cinematic production) provided Rundgren with financial stability as well as numerous production opportunities.
During the '80s, Rundgren again recorded relentlessly both individually and with Utopia, but the decade also saw Rundgren shift his time and interest to computer related projects. His music video for "Time Heals" was the first to combine computer graphics and live action and only deepened his interest in technology. By the '90s, Rundgren was using the moniker TR-I, a name used to denote his more technologically innovative work. As TR-I, he released No World Order, which was not only released as a standard CD, but also as an interactive CD-ROM.
In 1997, amidst a resurgence of interest in Rundgren's material, he re-recorded many of his hits, now cult classics. He also toured in support. When not recording or touring, Rundgren invested himself in internet projects, developing PatroNet, a device that allows users to subscribe to music offered on the site.
Todd Rundgren continues to be involved in music, from producing soundtracks to recording solo albums to developing software for the future of the music industry. In 2001, Rundgren played in the Walk Down Abbey Road: A Tribute to the Beatles tour, and in 2004 he released his first album in over a decade with Liars. His last output came four years later with Arena.