Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
It’s Forty Year Friday again. For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured Never Surrender by Triumph.
Posted on my Facebook page Feb. 14, 2013:
This week’s Thirty-Year Thursday album is THE TUBES “OUTSIDE INSIDE” (released in March 1983). They’re best known for the Top 10 hit “She’s A Beauty,” which was my introduction to their music, but the entire album is excellent and was one of my favorites that year (other highlights for me include “No Not Again,” “Out Of The Business,” “Wild Women Of Wongo” and “Tip Of My Tongue”). I quickly went back to their previous release (with the radio hit “Talk To Ya Later”) and both albums make a great back-to-back listen. Years later I got into their ’70s albums as well, but these two…and particularly Outside Inside…are extra special to me. They also hold up extremely well after 30 years, even though they have some of that typical early-80s production. My favorite song, and one of their funkiest, is a cover of Major Lance’s “The Monkey Time” (written by soul legend Curtis Mayfield) and features Martha Davis of The Motels. I still get excited every time I hear it. Does anyone else love this album as much as I do?
One of the things I forgot to mention in that Facebook post 10 years ago was the importance of producer David Foster to the commercial sound of this album and its predecessor, The Completion Backward Principle. He made their songs radio-friendly, which wasn’t always the case on their earlier albums, but the band’s quirky songwriting & knack for melodic hooks was there from the beginning. Lead singer Fee Waybill has always been a dynamic stage performer with a strong & distinctive voice, and it took Foster (along with a huge number of guest musicians & vocalists, including several members of Toto) to turn him into a pop star with the Top 10 hit, “She’s A Beauty,” the band’s biggest single. For further listening beyond the two Foster-era albums, I highly recommend their self-title debut and the Todd Rundgren-produced Remote Control.
I have no memory of the band (other than that one hit). I listened to the album – it was good, like you said. They pack a lot in a small space. I went down a rabbit hole and watched some YouTube videos of the band live too – songs such as “White Punks on Dope”. Looks like they were very entertaining – quite theatrical. I did not know any of that before
They had another FM radio hit a year earlier with “Talk To You Later,” which featured great guitar work from Steve Lukather. Otherwise, they’ve always had a low profile. I never saw them live but I’ve watched lots of clips over the years, and they put on quite a show. One of Fee Waybill’s characters is Quaye Lude, which must have been quite a sight in the ’70s.
Essentially, I know The Tubes by name only and their mid-70s song “White Punks on Dope.” The main reason I’m aware of that tune is because German rock group Nina Hagen Band did a German cover, “TV-Glotzer”, in 1978, which became popular in Germany.
Based on your picks, the “Outside Inside” album sounds very ’80s, which I suppose isn’t very surprising. That said, “She’s a Beauty”, which vaguely sounds familiar, is a pretty good pop song.
I’ve wondered if they made any impact outside the US. Interesting that you know of them via a cover of the best known song from their early years. I’ll have to check out Nina Hagen’s version. As for the very ’80s sound of the album, that will be the case with the majority of this series. Although I feel like 1983 wasn’t as bad as around ’85-’86, when so much music sounded so synthetic. At least you can still hear the musicianship at this point in the decade.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Playing catch-up here. I think I’ve heard of The Tubes but wouldn’t be familiar with any of their albums. On first listen I like their sound better than the other band I hadn’t heard of, Triumph, so it’s a 6.5/10. Again I just think ‘Ridgemont High’ when I hear this, but this might be the case with any album by an American rock band from this 1983 series. Good that there is variation with the singing credits and the Martha song I do like. The last song reminded me a bit of our own Heaven 17 – not sure if you know them?
Hi Alyson. Thanks as always for checking in, even when it’s an artist you’re not familiar with. Although The Tubes weren’t included in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, their music fits in with that era, and I’m surprised that their great 1981 single, “Talk To Ya Later,” wasn’t used in the movie. I never heard Heaven 17 back in the day but I’ve listened to their music in recent years and it’s pretty good. Are you a fan? I’m currently listening to the just-released super-deluxe edition of Haircut 100’s only album. This is a band I’ve loved for decades, as well as Nick Heyward’s solo career. Wondering if you have any thoughts on them.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Since we’re talking 1983 around here, good to have shoehorned in Heaven 17 and Haircut 100. Along with Spandau Ballet 56 (joking, but what was with the numbers) they made me very happy back then. Glenn and Nick both very smiley too – neither seemed to subscribe to the mean and moody look. Lost track of them over the years but Nick still performing and he pops up on the music blogs often. Still smiley and still cute.
Haha, well played with Spandau Ballet 56. That was the laugh of the day so far for me. Nick Heyward always had a pleasant (smiley) vibe. I love a lot of his solo work, especially his 1993 album “From Monday To Sunday,” which should have been huge. It’s chock full of catchy power pop. The only time I saw him in concert was shortly after that album was released, and he was great. Needless to say he played a number of Haircut 100 songs. I also like the other “Nik”, as in Kershaw. I’m guessing you like some of his stuff as well.
LikeLiked by 1 person