This song is about a mixed-up young man, perhaps a teenage boy, who stumbles into his first affair and doesn't know if he loves the girl. It was a solid hit for Todd Rundgren
, but far from his favorite. He explained: "'I Saw The Light' is just a string of clichés. It's absolutely nothing that I ever thought, or thought about, before I sat down to write the song."
Mike - Santa Barbara, CA
Talking about the impact this song had on Rundgren's songwriting, he said: "I wrote this song in 15 minutes from start to finish. It was one of the reason that caused me to change my style of writing. It doesn't matter how clever a song is - if it's written in 15 minutes, it is such a string of clichés that it just doesn't have lasting impact for me. And for me, the greatest disappointment in the world is not being able to listen to my own music and enjoy it."
This was the first song on the album. According to the liner notes of Something/Anything?, Rundgren thought it would be a hit, so he placed it first just like Motown used to do with their records.
The 45 RPM single was pressed on blue vinyl.
Rundgren learned piano on his own, which gave him a nontraditional approach to the instrument. When he wrote this song, he was doing what came naturally, moving his hands up and down the keyboard. As he did it, he came up with very simple lyrics, letting one line flow into another without thinking about it at all:
It was late last night
I was feeling something wasn't right
Rundgren knew the song had hit potential, which he later learned can often come by keeping things simple. "Sometimes when these things just come spilling out, I've found, sometimes they have a more broad appeal to the average listener than if you're trying to do something impressive," he told Red Bull Music Academy during a 2013 talk. "I thought, 'This is a real simple, straight-ahead, easy-to-understand song. I'll pretend it's a single and I'll put it first on the record."
This was used in the TV shows Six Feet Under, Beavis and Butthead and That '70s Show. The song was also used in the movies Kingpin and My Girl.
Rundgren wrote this song, produced it, sang it and played all the instruments on it.
Todd states that after the release of Something/Anything he evolved as an artist and reached beyond writing about love and relationships. He states that he'd been using a brief relationship from high school as song fodder, throwing around the word "love" cheaply, and he began to feel strange about it. It inspired him to dig deeper for new material.
Rundgren re-recorded this with The New Cars after joining the band. It appears on their 2006 album It's Alive!
There is barely any chorus on this song - it's almost entirely verses and bridge. The chorus is just either "In your eyes" or "In my head" repeated twice.
The following year, another song using lots of "ite" rhymes hit the charts: "Dancing In The Moonlight
" by King Harvest. In that one, the end of ever line ends in a rhyme for "light."
Louise Goffin covered this for the 2022 Todd Rundgren tribute album Someone/Anyone?, the brainchild of Echo In The Canyon producer Fernando Perdomo. Net profits from sales of the album benefit Rundgren's Spirit Of Harmony foundation, which supports music education.