Great Rock Albums of 1983: The Tubes- Outside Inside


Thoughts have always lingered in the back of my mind that The Tubes were one of those bands I should have checked out ages earlier but never got around to doing so. They had been around since the early 1970s and I had heard of them but never listened to them let alone bought any of their records. It took until 1983, during my final weeks before before leaving the marines that I finally got to hear them. That was only because their only top ten hit, “She’s a Beauty” got plenty of airplay on the radio. I have to admit, it was a very good song and I did delight in listening to it again after so many years. Some additional useless info: “She’s a Beauty” is about conversing with ladies in a private conversation booth. While I got up to many vices while in the marines and some since leaving, I never had that experience.

Don’t ask me why but before I finally heard the above song, I always thought The Tubes to be punk. Maybe that was because of the fact they never had any real air play until 1983 and most music that didn’t make it to radio was considered to be that. However, listening to the album, “Outside Inside,” it is a far cry from anything punk. I wouldn’t even call it new wave. If anything, their sound is progressive rock at best but I have to say, there isn’t really anything that comes to mind I can compare them to. That’s always a good thing in my book because that makes them unique. Most of the songs on the album are keyboard dominated. The best ones are “No Not Again” and “Glass House” although “Theme Park” deserves an honourable mention. There are some rather way out sounds on it along with some good harmonizing. Then there are some more harder rock tunes like “Out of the Business” and the funkier “Monkey Business” with the top ten single bridging the gap between the two camps and resulting in an album I regret not paying more attention to back in the day.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s a Beauty
  2. No Not Again
  3. Out of the Business
  4. The Monkey Time
  5. Glass House
  6. Wild Women of Wongo
  7. Tip of My Tongue
  8. Fantastic Delusion
  9. Drums
  10. Theme Park
  11. Outside Lookin’ Inside
The Tubes

The Tubes

Fee Waybill- vocals

Bill Spooner- guitar, vocals

Roger Steen- guitar, vocals

Rick Anderson- bass

Michael Cotten- synthesizer

Mingo Lewis- percussion

Prairie Prince- drums

Vince Welnick- keyboards

Martha Davis- guest vocalist on “Monkey Time”

In the eyes of many less educated, The Tubes will be considered one hit wonders with “She’s a Beauty” being their only contribution. This is not true in the least. After listening to “Outside Inside” and reminiscing about their top hit, I am sorely tempted to go back into their archives and listen to what I’ve missed all those years. I think I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Next post: Missing Persons- Spring Session M

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6 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1983: The Tubes- Outside Inside”

  1. I also waited to listen to The Tubes until “She’s A Beauty” became a hit, even though I was also familiar with “Talk To Ya Later” from the previous album. Once I got into Outside Inside I went back and checked out its predecessor and love it just as much as this one. It wouldn’t be until years later when I would finally hear the rest of their catalog, and most of it is fantastic.

    Their cover of Major Lance’s “The Monkey Time,” with The Motels’ Martha Davis duetting, has long been one of my favorite Tubes performances. I believe when it was released as a single they had to use another singer since Davis’ record label wouldn’t allow her voice to appear on someone else’s single. That version pales in comparison to the album version. Also love the original.


    • I read something about them using another singer for “The Monkey Time” and I think it was Todd Rundgren’s wife who substituted for Martha. I vaguely remember “Talk To Ya Later” but am going to have to give it a spin on Youtube. I think I’ll follow your example and listen to the back catalog of The Tubes.


  2. Nice one. I need this album. I love ‘She’s A Beauty’ and was a big fan of the previous album. Here’s my humble take on it if you fancy a read:


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