For The Want Of A Nail

rusty nail pic

He has taken it out of the way; having nailed it to the cross. – Colossians 2:14

He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. – See more at:’ve been wronI had plans so big

But the devil’s in the details
I left out one thing
No one to love me
No one to love

One of my old friends from the music biz recently shared a post on Facebook about Todd Rundgren’s album, Nearly Human, and that prompted me to look at some of Todd’s considerable work for a good UTRS post. It didn’t take a lot of looking to find something good!

I first picked up on Todd in 1972 with the release of his ambitious double album, Something/Anything (a massive 25 song collection that included: “Hello, It’s Me”, “I Saw The Light”, and the closet hit, “Wolfman Jack”). If you listened to Top 40 radio at all in the early 70’s, you could not have missed “Hello, It’s Me” or “I Saw The Light”. Todd was such a prolific hit writer during this period, he had to shake off the nickname “the male Carole King”.

Todd’s virtuoso performance on this LP (he not only produced the recordings but played all the instruments and sang vocals on all 18 of the songs on he first three sides of the album) was fueled by a strange combination of Ritalin and marijuana. He said the songs just “poured out of me at a frantic pace…”I Saw The Light” took only about 20 minutes”. I guess this may be a testament to the creative and concentrative (is that a word?) qualities inherent in those two drugs!

The fourth side of the album was recorded in a separate session with an eclectic mix of available studio musicians at the Record Plant in NYC. Basically, Todd just put the word out at the studio that he was going to need help recording, and waited to see who would show up!

But, I digress…

For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost
For the want of a shoe, the horse was lost
For the want of a horse, the rider was lost
For the want of a rider, the message was lost

You know, the little things in life can have a huge impact. You can look at it in terms of negligence, but I prefer to view them as sins of omission. How many times have you said later “I should have….”. And most of the time it was something really simple, so easy for us to have done. The things left unsaid, the things we leave undone; can bring the biggest regrets.

For the want of a nail, the world was lost

Speaking of a lost world. And of things that could have been left undone. Certainly, Jesus could have chosen another path. But he didn’t.

No lack of a nail there.  And the world is eternally grateful.

Multiply it a billion times
Spread it all ’round the world

And now this is our mission. To spread the Word until all the world’s people groups are reached. It’s been a long time coming.

Everything seems to fail
And it was all for the want of a nail

Nearly Human was Todd’s 12th release (not counting the Nazz stuff) coming almost 20 years later. It featured an ex-model turned background singer named Michele Gray, whom Todd later married.  “For The Want Of A Nail” featured the ever-soulful Bobby Womack (“Across 110th St.”) on backing vocals. Brother Bobby passed away just last week. And the Big Man himself, Clarence Clemons, jumped in on “I Love My Life”.

“For The Want Of A Nail” was Todd’s last charted hit. Seems appropriate enough to me. But, if Todd wanted to tear himself away from the production side, I’m sure he could spin out another smooth Top 40 hit in a half hour.

Another interesting tidbit: the Japanese release of the album featured an alternative cover (the main cover art showed a hand print with six fingers). The Japanese version showed a “normal” five fingered (actually four plus thumb) hand print, due to some secret religious significance in Japan.

So my friends, have no regrets. Go ahead, say the word, make the gesture. Just reach out with your human hand. Don’t let the little things trip you up.

Listen here:

Todd Live at Daryl’s House:

More Todd w/Daryl:






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