You just did not love me enough to believe me
Enough not to leave me
Enough not to look for a reason to be unhappy with me
And make me regret ever wanting you
But those days are through
Steve Leeds called me to speak at this class he’s teaching at
William Paterson University. And when we were through
discussing the logistics and the ins and outs of satellite
radio, he asked me what I was listening to.
I hate this question. It feels like a test. Like I’ll be
judged on what I come up with. But then Steve talked about
not knowing all the records he comes across in the store
anymore. I felt a certain kinship. And that’s when Steve
volunteered he loved listening to "Raising Sand", and that
he’d gotten into Alison Krauss at this late date. And I
asked him…HAVE YOU HEARD HER COVER OF "BABY, NOW THAT I’VE
FOUND YOU"? You know, the old Foundations song?
I loaded iTunes and played it over
the speakers. And as Steve was flattened, I looked at the
other Alison Krauss tracks in my library. Her cover of
Little Feat’s "Oh Atlanta", the great original from the
"Twister" soundtrack, "Moments Like This", and…"It Wouldn’t
Have Made Any Difference".
Was Steve a Todd Rundgren fan?
I heard that sigh, that sound of recognition that a lansman
feels when coming across a member of the tribe in the middle
of the desert. I fired up the track.
Do you remember the last time I said
If I ever thought about lying
I’d rather think of dying instead
How many versions of Todd’s debut on Ampex were there? For a
while, they were ubiquitous in cut-out bins. Then they
disappeared. As for the follow-up, what I consider to be
Todd’s magnum opus, "The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren", that was
even harder to find for a while. But then came
At this late date, "I Saw The Light" is
remembered as a hit. But it wasn’t. Eventually, "Hello It’s
Me" was. But it was bittersweet for those that remembered
the silky original on the very first Nazz album. But between
and around those two famous tracks are gems. Listening is
like finding diamonds in the middle of Iowa. How did all
this great music find its way on to a two disc set on tiny
Which disc do you play? The first or the second?
The second’s got the heavy metal ballad "Black Maria" that
blows everything Bon Jovi has ever done off the map, even
though it was recorded when Mr. New Jersey was barely out of
diapers. And the can only be done in America "Dust In The
Wind"… Inhabiting a no-man’s land between rock and schmaltz,
one that sounds bad on paper but makes you want to stand up
and sing along when you hear it.
And the second record has even got the comedy classic "Piss
Aaron", and the groupie lament, "You Really Left Me Sore".
Still, at this late date, I love the first disc more. For
its sweetness, for its intimacy, for its charm. Sure, it
begins with the offhand hit that Todd used to be able to
write at will, the aforementioned "I Saw The Light", but how
about the love song to Marlene? He was in love with her,
even though she was only seventeen. And "The Night The
Carousel Burnt Down", which seemed to be the soundtrack to a
date Todd had gone on with this girlfriend. It was a story.
Not about melisma, not about playing to the last row of the
house, but a private moment cut in his home studio, alone,
now shared with his soon to be adoring public. Then there’s
"It Takes Two To Tango (This Is For the Girls)", which turns
a cliche into an infectious lighter than air confection.
But sandwiched between "I Saw The Light" and Todd’s paean to
Wolfman Jack, before the deejay became ubiquitous, is "It
Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference".
And maybe you remember the last time you called me
To say we were through
How it took a million tears
Just to prove they all were for you
But those days are through
I’m not sure whether it was the movie
"Wall Street", or the rap explosion, but suddenly our country
went all macho. A strange turn of events after the
seventies, when men were encouraged to get in touch with
their feminine side.
Today’s stars seem to be proud about stepping out. Brad Pitt
has seemed to survive two-timing Jennifer Aniston and
ultimately marrying Angelina Jolie. Trading up seems to be
legal. Who’s left behind…that’s just the cost of working
your way up the food chain, the ladder to the top. Just ask
all those men Madonna left in her wake.
But how about the guy who’s devoted? Who wouldn’t step out,
who wouldn’t leave? Who has moral character, who’s not a
wimp, but is TRUSTWORTHY!
Well, certain women can’t trust any guy. Maybe their father
abandoned the family. Maybe they were abused by a high
school boyfriend. But this certain type of female is always
questioning, always sniffing the ground, to see if you’ve
That’s what "It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference" is about.
The devoted guy. Who just can’t prove his love to his
skittish girlfriend. He wants to hold on tight, but she’s
always wiggling from his grasp, to avoid being hurt. They
say there are no good guys out there? I’d suggest you check
your criteria. You’re looking for a bad boy with choir boy
traits, an oxymoron. Someone who’s not dashing and
dangerous, who you can count on…is that enough? Not for so
What is enough? What really counts? Is it looks? Or
companionship? Or trust.
Trust is number one. You’ve got no relationship if the other
person is not there. Commitment reigns supreme. And it’s
dependent upon the underlying trust. And if it’s not mutual,
Alison Krauss does not rearrange the song. But she turns it
into a dreamy lullaby, albeit with a black underbelly.
There’s mood, but the underlying emotion, the underlying
anger, is gone. It’s a performance, not her song.
But it’s Todd’s song. And his story. And he’s PISSED! And
although he possesses an inferior voice to the Nashville
angel, his take triumphs, because of its raw, naked emotion.
But both versions kill. And they’re both put over the top by
this one change, deep in the song. When the key drops and
truth is revealed. Alison underplays. She goes intimate.
She makes you think. Whereas Todd gets intense, he becomes
Those days are through. He’s finished.
He gave her everything, but it wasn’t enough.
They say certain people just can’t be pleased. That’s the
woman in this song. She believes in a fantasy world, with
angels and fairies, with film star boyfriends who are so
devoted and truthful that they never go to work, but stay
constantly by her side.
In order to survive, in order to be happy, you’ve got to let
go. You’ve got to have faith. Sure, you must make
judgments, informed ones. But after you’ve made your
decision, you’ve got to cease micro-managing. That’s when
your partner flowers. As does your relationship.