Nearly Human

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Nearly Human
Todd Rundgren - Nearly Human.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 18, 1989
RecordedJune 1988-February 1989
StudioFantasy Studios, Berkeley and The Plant, Sausalito, California
GenrePop rock, soul
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerTodd Rundgren
Todd Rundgren chronology
A Cappella
Nearly Human
2nd Wind
Singles from Nearly Human
  1. "The Want of a Nail"
    Released: 1989
  2. "Parallel Lines"
    Released: May 1989
  3. "Can't Stop Running"
    Released: 1989

Nearly Human is a 1989 album by rock musician Todd Rundgren, released by Warner Bros. Records. It was his first release in four years, although he had been active as a producer in the intervening years. Many of the album's songs deal with loss, self-doubt, jealousy, and spiritual recovery. It was also the first collaboration between Rundgren and Michele Gray, a singer and ex-model who helped organize the sessions. Gray sang background vocals, both on the record and on subsequent tours, and the pair later married.


The song "Parallel Lines" was originally written for Rundgren's musical theater Off Broadway production of Joe Orton's Up Against It. The original version is rather slow and can be found on Rundgren's Japan-only album Up Against It!. The song was re-recorded here with an uptempo and lusher arrangement.

Unlike a large portion of Rundgren's solo albums on which he played all the instruments and sang all lead and backing vocals, Nearly Human was performed live in the studio with numerous musicians, including the members of Rundgren's defunct band Utopia, which had broken up three years earlier; Roger Powell, Kasim Sulton, and John "Willie" Wilcox all play on the track "Can't Stop Running". Scott Mathews and former Tubes members Vince Welnick (keyboards) and Prairie Prince (drums) also perform on Nearly Human; the track "Feel It" was originally performed by the San Francisco band on their 1985 album Love Bomb, produced by Rundgren. Brent Bourgeois and Larry Tagg of Bourgeois Tagg, whom Rundgren had produced, also played on the album along with all three other three members of the band, making Nearly Human effectively a Rundgren-Utopia-Bourgeois Tagg-Tubes collaboration, plus extra vocalists and keyboard players.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Classic Rock7/10 stars[2]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[3]

Nearly Human garnered very favorable reviews. The album's only single, "The Want of a Nail," featuring soul legend Bobby Womack, was Rundgren's last charting Billboard single.[4]

Japanese release[edit]

For the Japanese release of the album, the sixth finger of the handprint on the cover was removed, "due to the religious significance of six fingers in Japan."[5]

Track listing[edit]

CD issue[edit]

All tracks written by Todd Rundgren, unless otherwise noted.

Side one
1."The Want of a Nail"5:14
2."The Waiting Game"4:16
3."Parallel Lines"4:22
4."Two Little Hitlers" (Elvis Costello)3:55
5."Can't Stop Running"5:00
6."Unloved Children"4:03
8."Feel It" (Rundgren/The Tubes/Vince Welnick)5:47
10."I Love My Life"8:55

LP issue[edit]

The LP release had a slightly different track list and did not include "Two Little Hitlers."

Personnel (partial)[edit]


Album - Billboard

Year Chart Position
1989 The Billboard 200[4] 102

Singles - Billboard

Year Single Chart Position
1989 "The Want of a Nail" Mainstream Rock Tracks[4] 15


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Todd rundgren - Nearly Human review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  2. ^ Quantick, David (March 2012). "Todd Rundgren - Reissues". Classic Rock (168): 108.
  3. ^ Fricke, David (29 June 1989). "Todd rundgren - Nearly Human". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  4. ^ a b c "Todd Rundgren: Billboard Albums and Singles". Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  5. ^ The Todd Rundgren Connection (2012). "Nearly Human". The Todd Rundgren Connection. The Todd Rundgren Connection. Retrieved 1 July 2012.