10 Essential Songs From The Tubes

Tubes songs

Photo: Bag-O-Bucks (management)/A & M Records [Public domain]

Our Top 10 Tubes songs list takes a look at one of the most underrated yet dynamic, entertaining, and incredibly gifted bands in classic rock history. Even during the band’s peak years, they did not get enough credit. Their shining moment was when MTV put the band’s songs “Talk To You Later,” and “She’s A Beauty,” in heavy rotation in the early 1980s. Nonetheless, the band did develop a loyal following and was always loved by critics. How could you not love the band? The band defined the concepts of brilliant musicianship, incredibly creative songs, and stage shows that blew audiences away.

The band The Tubes was first formed in San Francisco in the early 1970s. Multiple musicians from various bands in the San Francisco area formed the group. After a few years the band released their first album in 1975 entitled The Tubes. The legendary Al Kooper who had founded the band Blood Sweat & Tears and produced many of the early Lynyrd Skynyrd albums also produced The Tubes debut. The album would feature the song “White Punks On Dope,” which would become one of the band’s signature songs.

In 1976, The Tubes would release their sophomore album entitled Young and Rich. The band’s third album entitled Now was released one year later in 1977. Both albums utilized two different producers. In 1979, The Tubes would hook up with legendary producer and artist Todd Rundgren on their fourth album entitled Remote Control. The Todd Rundgren sound was all over the record. Just a year before Todd Rundgren had produced Meat Loaf’s debut album. It was a brilliant move by the band artistically working with the genius of Todd Rundgren.

David Foster was brought in to produce the band’s next album entitled The Completion Backward Principle. David Foster was one of the music industry’s most successful producers and songwriters having worked with some of the biggest names in the business and having extreme success with many of them. David Foster co-wrote one of The Tubes’ most popular songs on the album entitled “Talk To You Later.” 

The hit-making success of David Foster would come to full realization for The Tubes on the next record also produced by David Foster. The album Outside Inside released in 1983 would yield the band’s biggest hit single of their career entitled “She’s a Beauty.”  Th song reached the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 in 1983. “She’s a Beauty” would become a staple on the Music Television Network known as MTV in the early 1980s’. Interestingly, the only two albums by The Tubes to be certified gold were produced by David Foster. They were also the only two albums produced by David Foster.

The band reunited with Todd Rundgren once again in 1985 for the release of the album Love Bomb. Fee Waybill left the band after the album’s release. The band would not release another record until 1996 entitled Genius of AmericaThe album was produced by Richard Marx. The final Tubes studio album as of this writing was released in 2009 entitled Mondo Birthmark. 

Any article on The Tubes should not fail to mention the brilliant musicians responsible for the band’s music. They are Fee Waybill, Bill Spooner, Roger Steen, Rick Anderson, Vince Welnick,  Preposterous” Prairie Prince, Re Styles (Shirley MacLeod), Michael Cotten and Mingo Lewis

We hope you enjoy our presentation of 10 Essential Songs From The Tubes. The band’s body of work is brilliant and we highly recommend that you check out their amazing albums.

# 10 – T.V. Is King

We open up our 10 Essential Tubes songs list with the great Tubes Song “T.V. Is King.” This one had Todd Rundgren written all over it. The song was released on the band’s fourth album entitled Remote Control. The album was released in 1979. The song T.V. Is King was written by Fee Waybill and Todd Rundgren who also produced the album. The pairing of Todd with the Tubes was perfect!

# 9 – Tubes World Tour

The classic Tubes song “Tubes World Tour,” was released on the band’s second album. entitled Young And Rich. The album was released in 1976. The record was produced by Ken Scott. “Tubes World Tour,” was the album’s opening track.

# 8 – Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman

Is there no better song title than the Tubes song “Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman?” The great track was released on the band’s album The Completion Backward Principle. The album was released in 1991. It was also the band’s first recording for their new label Capitol Records. The legendary record label of The Beatles and The Beach Boys.

# 7 – Cathy’s Clone

Perhaps the band’s most underrated record in their catalog was the album Now. The great track “Cathy’s Clone,” stands as one of the band’s unheralded gems. This is not to be confused with The Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown.”

# 6 – What Do You Want From Life

Continuing with our 10 essential songs from The Tubes list we turn to their classic track “What Do You Want From Life.” The song was released on the band’s debut album The Tubes in 1975. While the song “What Do You Want From Life.” may not have been a hit in the United States, it did reach the top 30 in the United Kingdom.

# 5 – Feel It

Another underrated song from the band was released on their last album together in the 1980s entitled Love Bomb. The great song “Feel It,” would also be recorded by Todd Rundgren and released on his album Nearly Human four years later later in 1989.

# 4 – Prime Time

The work Todd Rundgren did with the band The Tubes was really exceptional. Some may argue that Todd Rundgren was almost too dominant on the record. The 1979 Remote Control album actually sounds like a Todd Rundgren record. Just depends on how much of a fan one is of Todd Rundgren. Nonetheless, the track “Prime Time,” really stood out on the album and is one of the band’s most exceptional songs.

# 3 – She’s A Beauty

The next three Tube songs are the band’s most commercially successful songs. If you have only heard one Tubes song in your entire life it probably is this one. “She’s a Beauty,” stands as the band’s most successful commercial song. It is their only top 10 hit in the United States. The song “She’s a Beauty,” was written by Fee Waybill, David Foster, and Steve Lukather. The album featured an incredible lineup of musicians including most of the band Toto.

# 2 – Talk To You Later

One of the all time classic guitar riffs in classic rock history dominated this legendary Tubes song. “Talk To You Later,” was released on the album The Completion Backward Principle.  Songwriting credit for the song was given to The Tubes, David Foster, and Steve Lukather. While the song just missed the Billboard Top 100, it did reach the Billboard Top 10 Mainstream Rock Tracks charts in 1981. It also received considerable airplay on MTV.

# 1 – White Punks On Dope

Landing in the number one spot on our 10 Essential Songs From The Tubes list is the band’s legendary song “White Punks On Dope.” The song appeared on the band’s first album entitled The Tubes. The song “White Punks On Dope,” was written by Bill Spooner, Roger Steen, and Michael Evans. “White Punks On Dope,” was never a big commercial hit, but it got significant airplay on FM album-oriented rock stations in the 1970s.

Updated June 7, 2023

10 Essential Songs From The Tubes article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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