The Tubes – in concert at Hammersmith Odeon, London – July 16, 1981 – BBC Radio – In Concert – BBC Radio –
The Tubes this weekend – the 1981 incarnation, which was a decidedly different direction than the one we all were introduced to in the earlier 70s. Times changed and in The Tubes case the elaborate stage presentation was just too expensive to sustain on the road. Also, we were entering the era of the skinny tie and the vaguely disconnected associations with Kraftwerk and White Punks On Dope, though still relevant and still played often on FM was probably not the legacy Fee Waybill wanted to be solely known for. 1981 was the year of The Completion Backward Principle, which concert ends the European leg of their 1981 tour.
After the release of their fourth studio album, Remote Control, and after their time filming and recording for Xanadu and its soundtrack, The Tubes found themselves dropped by record label A&M. The group spent much of 1980 searching for a new label, eventually finding Capitol Records through Bobby Colomby of Blood, Sweat, & Tears. Reportedly, their three-album contract with Capitol allowed the label to drop The Tubes if any of the three records were not commercially successful. Colomby claimed the band needed a new producer in order to achieve the commercial success they had been looking for, and eventually introduced the group to David Foster. Foster, who had just come off of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “I Am”, agreed to produce the group. Some time after this, lead vocalist Fee Waybill alleges that he discovered a spoken-word motivational record from the 1950s in a record store, and used the sales pitch as the central concept to the band’s next album. “The sales technique was that ‘imagination creates reality,’ which it turns out, was a metaphor for someone like me, who grew up singing Beatles songs around the house dying to be in a band,” Waybill said in later interviews.
Forty-one years later, it’s time to dust off the reel of tape and have a listen to try and figure out if it’s stood the test of time or not.
Have a listen and decide.
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