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The Tubes - She's A Beauty (1983)

  • Video Views 9,721,139
  • 80's Score 80's score: 1.25
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"She's a Beauty" is a song by American rock band The Tubes. Released in 1983 on The Tubes' album Outside Inside. Co-written ...

"She's a Beauty" is a song by American rock band The Tubes. Released in 1983 on The Tubes' album Outside Inside. Co-written by Fee Waybill, producer David Foster and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, the song was inspired by Waybill's experience at a red light district in San Francisco. The music was largely written by Foster, who was also the source for the song's title.

When released as a single, "She's a Beauty" became the band's biggest chart hit. It went to number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The release was boosted by a popular music video, featuring a boy riding a carnival ride with Waybill portraying a carnival barker.

Music video

The popularity of "She's a Beauty" was largely driven by a narrative music video that became a staple of then-fledgling MTV. This video was directed by Kenny Ortega, also the choreographer of The Tubes' stage shows. Ortega achieved greater success choreographing movies such as Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and as a director with High School Musical and its sequels.

Initially, the music video was intended to feature a version of a freak show based on the film Freaks; this was ultimately rejected by the record company as "too weird," so the band instead came up with the idea of the carnival ride. Other ideas were also blocked by the record company; Waybill recalled, "They constantly censored us...We had a topless mermaid, and of course, that was right out - we had to change that, and a bunch of stuff. It was just a little too weird for MTV. We had a great big paper breast - a big screen with an air-brushed breast on it. And the guy in the ride for 'She's a Beauty' would go crashing through it. Well, that was too weird, and they had to kind of soft-focus that whole thing, so it looked like a big fuzzy ball."

Waybill plays a carnival barker, a role he would reprise in live renditions of the song. He takes money from a young boy who then rides a carnival car through hallucinogenic scenes of a mermaid, female trapeze artist, prehistoric women dressed in furs, and others. The recurring theme is that he is attracted but is unable to reach them. At the end of the video we see the boy exiting the ride aged to an old man, the message apparently being the financial and emotional cost of falling in love with but being unable to obtain his heart's desire.

The role of the young boy was the first acting job for 13-year-old Alexis Arquette.

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