San Francisco’s The Tubes earned a rabid cult following in the mid-1970s as a satirical rock band whose outrageous, must-see live show was filled with theatrics, bawdy burlesque, and the multiple personae of frontman Fee Waybill. But The Tubes backed up the novelty with virtuosic instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills. It took a while for mainstream audiences to understand what the eclectic band was all about, though. The Tubes got some additional focus in the studio from Todd Rundgren on 1979’s brilliant concept album Remote Control. Yet a hit single eluded the band until they teamed with super-producer David Foster for 1981’s The Completion Backward Principle (whose visual concept presented The Tubes as conservative businessmen/yuppies) and 1983’s Outside Inside. Punchy rockers like “Talk to Ya Later” and the ’80s pop classic “She’s a Beauty” lit up the radio while retaining the band’s signature humor and quirkiness.
Did you know?
- Rick Wakeman helped get The Tubes signed to his label, A&M Records
- The Tubes appear in the musical Xanadu, starring Olivia Newton-John.
- Toto guitarist Steve Lukather co-wrote The Tubes hits “Talk to Ya Later” and “She’s a Beauty,” while Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball sings prominent background parts on “She’s a Beauty”