Some songs you don’t expect to hear a cover of…this is one of them.
I bought this single in 1976 in a local record store we had in our small town called Sounds and Scenes (long gone but I love the name). I liked the song Good Vibrations and didn’t know at the time who did the original version. I was only 9 years old and thought I had the real thing.
He made an album called Faithful, full of covers and he performed them to the letter. I’ve listened to the album and they are close but this one is really on it. He did Rain, Strawberry Fields, If Six Was Nine, and Bob Dylan’s Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine.
Todd’s version of the song peaked at #34 in the Billboard 100 and #28 in Canada in 1976. The album Faithful peaked at #54 in the Billboard Album Charts.
Todd Rundgren is very talented and I’m a fan of him. He did a fantastic duplicate version of this song. My question now is why? He got so close…you have to wonder why he did it in the first place. But…who am I to question Todd Rundgren?
I usually don’t like when an artist covers a song and changes it so much you cannot tell what the song is… not a problem with this one. Todd does exactly what he says in the album name… he was very faithful to these songs.
Later on, Todd was asked what he gained after doing this album of covers.
Todd Rundgren: Well, you gain an education. I haven’t done so many of those lately. In fact, I can’t recall anything since, for instance, The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect or a Small Faces song. Everything since then has been originals. In that particular instance, on Faithful, that was like 10 years after I had gotten into the music business and I was trying to give people who either had never experienced it or had forgotten it, a taste of what it was like to move through the culture at that time. What was on the radio, what they were playing in the boutiques or in the record stores, the kind of songs you would hear. So I took a cross-section of mostly songs that were popular in 1966 and did them as dead-on as I could. People were supposed to pretend that they were listening to ’66 radio or going from store to store in a hip neighborhood in 1966 and hearing what people were listening to then.
I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air
I’m picking up good vibrations
She’s giving me excitations
Good bop bop, good vibrations
Bop bop, excitations
Good, good, good, good vibrations
Close my eyes, she is somehow closer now
Softly smile, I know she must be kind
When I look in her eyes
She comes with me to a blossom world
I don’t know where but she sends me there
Oh my my my, what a sensation
Oh my my, what elation
Got to keep those loving good vibrations
Happening with her