The pride of Upper Darby, Todd Rundgren, is among this year's nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 2020 class.
Rundgren, known for hits such as "Hello, It's Me," and "We Gotta Get You a Woman," joins late musical icons Whitney Houston and the Notorious B.I.G. as the 16 acts nominated for inclusion in the Rock Hall that features hundreds of artists including Aerosmith, the Supremes, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Donna Summer and KISS.
This is Rundgren’s second consecutive year being on the ballot. He was cited as a “jack of all trades” who “continues to redefine the sound of rock & roll through genre-melding songwriting and production.”
Rundgren graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1966.
According to the official bio provided by the Rock Hall, he formed power pop group Nazz in 1967 and honed his chops as a songwriter, but his curiosity led to more. He joined Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Records as a producer and engineer, a decision that quickly paid off. Rundgren earned his first top 20 hit in America with “We Gotta Get You a Woman” as part of his debut solo effort “Runt” from 1970.
His ambitious 1972 double album “Something/Anything?” thrust him in the spotlight with iconic hits like “I Saw the Light” and “Hello It’s Me,” the latter reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Always prolific, in the 1970s and 1980s he released 12 solo albums, nine albums with his progressive rock outfit Utopia, and produced groundbreaking albums for the Patti Smith Group (“Wave”), Meat Loaf (“Bat Out of Hell”), Grand Funk Railroad (“We’re an American Band”), and the titular album for New York Dolls.
In 1983 he was nominated for a Grammy for his music video “Videosyncracy.” At each turn, his sound evolved: “I never felt pressure that I had to come back and top what I might’ve done before,” Rundgren said of his career.
“We can hear Todd Rundgren’s influence in everyone from Prince and Hall & Oates to Bjork and Daft Punk. In 2017, Rundgren released ‘White Knight,’ which includes collaborations with Trent Reznor (who is the face of fellow class of 2020 nominee Nine Inch Nails) and Swedish pop icon Robyn – further demonstrating the wide-reaching impact of one of rock and roll’s truest renaissance men,” reads the Hall of Fame’s bio.
Rundgren was one of only three Upper Darby natives featured in a 135-foot long mural on 69th Street completed last month. Rundgren is drawn riding a trolley with fellow musician Jim Croce and actress/writer Tina Fey.
In addition to the Rock Hall of Fame nomination, Rundgren has been nominated to join Upper Darby High School's Wall of Fame.
"He has many fans in the area and I hear many go to see him perform at every opportunity," said Upper Darby School District Spokeswoman Aaronda Beauford. "We are proud of and congratulate him for this amazing accomplishment."
Other nominees for the 2020 class includes German electronic group Kraftwerk who is nominated for a sixth time for induction, Depeche Mode, MC5, Rufus and Chaka Khan and Judas Priest. First time nominees include Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Motörhead, The Notorious B.I.G., Soundgarden, T. Rex and Thin Lizzy.
Nominees are eligible 25 years after the release of their first commercial recording. More than 1,000 historians and Hall of Fame inductees are polled and the top five vote-getters make up the inductee class. A fan vote is conducted online for the public to vote for their five favorite artists. Those results form one ballot and are weighed the same as the rest of the submitted ballot.
The 35th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on May 2, 2020, at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio.