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This Is Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap

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Album Review

1984's perfect, side-splitting rock documentary spoof This Is Spinal Tap wouldn't have succeeded if Spinal Tap's "original" music didn't properly mimic what it poked fun at. But not only does the music have the exact traits of hard rock and heavy metal, the lyrics are a scream. The soundtrack features the howlingly funny songs used in director Rob Reiner's film. The music was all co-written by Reiner, Michael McKean (aka vocalist/guitarist David St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (aka lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel), and Harry Shearer (aka bassist Derek Smalls). McKean, Guest, and Shearer — all extremely talented comic actors and writers — are credited with performing the music along with a keyboardist, drummer, and synthesizer player. "Hell Hole" and "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" are mindlessly catchy. The appropriately melodramatic "Heavy Duty" has a cliched, hysterical chorus. "Rock and Roll Creation" and "Stonehenge" mock the music and image of mystical, allegedly demonic bands like Black Sabbath; "Stonehenge" in particular is a riot thanks to Tufnel's narration about the Druids. "Big Bottom" and "Sex Farm" are two more highlights that needle the rampant misogyny, sexism, and machismo in the heavy metal subculture. "America," "Cups and Cakes," "Gimme Some Money," and "(Listen to The) Flower People" show a keen sense of rock history because they are meant to illustrate the '60s pop and psychedelia that influenced heavy metal's originators. The fictional liner notes are very funny too; included are the album covers of "Rock ‘N' Roll Creation," "Brainhammer," "Shark Sandwich," "Heavy Metal Memories," "The Sun Never Sweats," and "Intravenus de Milo," as well as the band's bio in The Rocklopedia Brittanicus. The 2000 remastered CD — re-released in conjunction with the DVD and VHS re-releases — includes lyrics and two versions of "Christmas With the Devil" as bonus tracks.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Although originally conceived as the fictional subject of a music documentary, Spinal Tap became a real band — a parody heavy metal band, to be exact — following the film's release. The joke began with the release of 1984's This Is Spinal Tap, a satirical Rob Reiner film starring actors Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer. The film, which poked fun at groups like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, cast the comics as members of a wacky, ill-minded '70s band facing a popularity...
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