Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Piece by Piece" by The Tubes

Song#:  2238
Date:  03/09/1985
Debut:  90
Peak:  87
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Two years earlier, The Tubes released the most successful album of their career with the #18 Outside Inside. It was boosted by their only #1 Rock track and only Pop Top 10 hit, "She's a Beauty" (#10). The LP was their second with producer David Foster, but for their follow-up they brought back Todd Rundgren, who had produced their 1979 album Remote Control. The new album, titled Love Bomb, was recorded and this track was selected as the first single. It received a tepid reception at Rock getting only to #25. That didn't help the song's chances at Pop and indeed is was only able to get on the chart for a minor two weeks. It would be the band's last charting single. Not long after the album tanked, they were dropped from Capitol Records. The band finished out their tour on their own dime and that added with other expenses that were not paid by Capitol left the band in debt. They had to continue to tour and work small venues for over a year in order to pay off their debts. Later in '86, lead singer Fee Waybill left the band. He would reunite with them in '96 for a tour and a new album.

ReduxReview:  David Foster really drove The Tubes into a more commercial direction and it made the band quite successful. Now without his help, the band tried to retain that commercial rock sound with Rundgren. While this song was not a bad attempt, it didn't recapture the same pop-hooky quality of the songs they did with Foster. There was no real personality here, which is a big part of what made The Tubes popular from the beginning. In essence, it became faceless. Any decent rock band could have done this song and sounded the same. The spark in the band was extinguished and it made this song unmemorable. That said, I don't think this is a bad tune. Rundgren's production is solid and it adds some meat to a song that is a bit lightweight. However, it just wasn't a song that was going to scale the charts.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Following the band's success with Outside Inside, lead singer Fee Waybill decided to step out on his own for a solo album. Retaining producer David Foster and enlisting a couple members of Toto, Waybill recorded his debut LP Read My Lips. Waybill and Foster co-wrote the majority of the songs for the album including its first single "You're Still Laughing." Yet despite The Tubes' presence on MTV and being at their commercial peak, interest in Waybill as a solo artist didn't exist. The song failed to chart and the album quickly disappeared. However, it was for this album that Waybill co-wrote a song with an up-n-coming singer/songwriter named Richard Marx. They would continue to write together on occasion which resulted in two chart hits. They wrote "Edge of a Broken Heart," a 1988 #26 charter for Vixen and "Too Late to Say Goodbye," which was a #12 hit for Richard Marx in 1990.


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