Wednesday, May 17, 2006


My favorite album is Todd Rundgren's Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren, released in 1971. And in college I realized my favorite film (as opposed to my favorite movie, which would be Raiders of the Lost Ark—it's important to waste time thinking about these kinds of things) is The Last Picture Show, also released in '71.

But what does my favorite LP say about me? The Ballad of Todd Rundgren was one of the albums found by Mark David Chapman's bedside after he murdered John Lennon.

In Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, the Man Who Killed John Lennon (1992)*, author Jack Jones writes, "To fill the void in his life created by the cooling of his fervid Christianity, Chapman turned to the rock 'n' roll of John Lennon's onetime musical nemesis, Todd Rundgren.

"'The lyrics and the music provided everything I needed to express my identity,' Chapman recalled. 'I didn't need anything else. I was in my own private world with Todd Rundgren. You know, I'm a feeling, sensitive, poetic type person and I need my emotions expressed in poetry and in harmony and not in babble. Rundgren provided the stage for my psyche to do that. Even if it was just to an unknown audience, he provided that for me.'"

Chapman's wife, Gloria, told Jones, "After we were married, he bought a few Rundgren albums but didn't keep them for long. He got very depressed listening to the music. He said it depressed him to hear music that good. He hears things in music that indicate to me that he has an extraordinary ear for music. He picks up on small things, obscure things. Mark amazed me in that way. Several times he said that he would never listen to another Rundgren album again because of the way it would depress him, but sooner or later he'd buy one and keep it for a while."

* excerpts taken from a post on an Internet message board, not the book itself

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