Wolfman Jack

Album: Something/Anything? (1972)


  • Although Something/Anything? was Todd Rundgren's third solo album, it was the first to truly establish him as a solo artist. He gained the confidence to carry a double LP where he played every instrument and sang every vocal. He also gained a new habit: drug use. Not a big surprise coming from the '70s rock scene, but it was something Rundgren had been completely against before. He confessed he was a "complete teetotaller" until he tried marijuana before recording his second album The Ballad of Todd Rundgren. With Something/Anything?, he moved on to psychedelics and the stimulant Ritalin. He told the Independent in 2004: "With drugs I could suddenly abstract my thought processes in a certain way, and I wanted to see if I could put them on a record. A lot of people recognized it as the dynamics of a psychedelic trip - it was almost like painting with your head."

    The album reached #29 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified gold in 1975.
  • "Wolfman Jack" was just a voice in the 1960s - a raw, throaty howl that emanated from an unregulated Mexican radio station (harnessing a potential 250,000 watts of power) and claimed the airwaves across America after midnight. He offered the best in blues, R&B and rock 'n roll and punctuated his broadcasts with bawdy, but good-natured humor. The aura of mystery surrounding the Wolfman only added to his popularity. Most listeners assumed he was a smooth old hepcat; no one suspected he was white guy from Brooklyn named Bob Smith. By the end of the decade, he was making public appearances in character, and a year after Rundgren released his ode to the Wolfman in 1972, fans got to see the DJ in the flesh in George Lucas' nostalgia flick American Graffiti.

    The Wolfman has also been immortalized in songs like "Clap For The Wolfman" by The Guess Who.
  • Around the time Rundgren released his ode to Wolfman Jack, he was spotted with the DJ at the Rainbow in Los Angeles by none other than John Lennon. In 1974, the famous Beatle wrote a tongue-in-cheek response to Rundgren's scathing criticisms of him in the magazine Melody Maker and mentioned the sighting (Rundgren had called Lennon a "f--king idiot" and said the Beatles "had no style other than being the Beatles").
  • In 2003, Rolling Stone named Something/Anything? one of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Coming in at #173, the album is flanked by Bob Dylan's Desire (#174) and Rod Stewart's Every Picture Tells a Story.
  • In the Something/Anything? liner notes, Rundgren wrote: "I have a dream that I am cruising along Mulholland Drive late at night and the Wolfman plays this record over the air, screaming his jive and singing along at the bottom of his lungs."

Comments: 2

  • Guy from Somewhere Out ThereIt's actually the opposite. On the first three sides, he performs all the instruments and vocals himself. On the fourth, he recorded it live in studio with other musicians.
  • Victor Z. Epsilon from UsaTodd Rundgren did not record the entire "Something, Anything" album solo; only on one side does he perform all the instruments and vocals, while on the other 3 sides (including the big hit "Hello, It's Me") he has much help.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

The Girl in That SongFact or Fiction

Billie Jean, Delilah, Sara, Laura and Sharona - do you know who the girls in the songs really are?

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?

Grateful Dead CharactersMusic Quiz

Many unusual folks appear in Grateful Dead songs. Can you identify them?

Petula ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Petula talks about her hits "Downtown" and "Don't Sleep In The Subway," and explains her Michael Jackson connection.

Eric ClaptonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really write "Cocaine" while on cocaine? This question and more in the Clapton edition of Fact or Fiction.