Friday 30 April 2021

One song to the tune of another

When Jeff Lynne wrote the rather catchy Do Ya for the Move they (unwisely, IMHO) stuck it on the B side of their 1972 single California Man. And there it would have stayed if it hadn't been for one Todd Rundgren. In 1975 Rundgren and his pick-up band Utopia were dropping it in their live set and everyone, seemingly, thought it was one of theirs. Well they would, wouldn't they? It sounds like a Todd Rundgren song.

The Move - Do Ya (1972)

So when the perma-shaded Lynne - by now fronting the Electric Light orchestra - got wind of this he must have said to himself 'Fuck that for a game of soldiers' and promptly rerecorded it for the next ELO album. A New World Record released in 1976 went on to shift five million copies in its first year of release alone; thanks, obviously, to the inclusion of Do Ya.

Todd Rundgren - Do Ya (1975)

And, yes, its striking resemblance to the Sweet's Fox on the Run hasn't gone unnoticed. The harmonies, in particular, have been lifted wholesale. I can only think that Jeff Lynne must have been feeling quite magnanimous about the whole thing and didn't bother filing a lawsuit; cushioned as he was, probably, by his millions in the bank.


  1. What are the chances, John? I featured a live Utopia song on Friday as well, and that was after reading his name twice earlier in the week on other blogs. Todd is everywhere! This was quite an enlightening post. Like this take from Utopia. One of my favorite artists, Jason Falkner, covered this one on a Jeff Lynne tribute album.

    1. Thanks, Brian - it's like playing join-the-dots isn't it? Jason Falkner - Jellyfish - ELO - Todd Rundgren - Wings - Beatles; in the end it all comes back to the Beatles.

      Jason Falkner can do no wrong in my book. He worked with Pugwash, you know; of course you know. Here are Pugwash doing Telephone Line.