Spinal Tap - 11 Tap Facts
This year marks the 51st anniversary of the formation of Spinal Tap, and the 33rd year since the controversial documentary This Is Spinal Tap opened, briefly, in cinemas. As a mark of financial respect for Tap there is now a stunning book telling the complete story of the greatest band in the world. We’ve curated 11 of the wildest Tap facts from author Wallace Fairfax’s masterpiece of rock storytelling - Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book.
- In the 1970s Tap released one album a year, leading one journalist to say in 1979 that you “cannot fault their prolificness, no matter how much you want to.”
- Nigel Tufnel, in a rare moment of lucidity during an acid trip, came up with the name Spynal Tap. Later he spelt it correctly by accident.
- In a radical departure from their usual sound, in 1976 the band attempted to fuse disco and heavy metal resulting in Tap Dancing. An album so derided by critics and public alike that it was unavailable the day after release. However, it did include the first song about a spectre possessed by the soul of disco – ‘Glamtasm’.
- Nigel Tufnel’s first band was called The Lovely Lads, a skiffle band he referred to as a ‘scuffle’ band due to their relationship with the audience.
- Tap’s first album to go gold, Intravenous De Milo, caused an outrage because the cover featured the Venus de Milo sculpture with an IV tube connected to her stump. Unlike the Venus de Milo herself, many art fans were up in arms about the desecration and depiction of Alexandros of Antioch’s beloved statue, saying the cover was ‘a publicity stunt to sell mediocre music’, and the type of stunt that modern artists would be ashamed to pull.
- Intravenous De Milo had sales to stores of 1.5 million, but also saw one million copies returned from stores, making it the first album to go gold in sales and platinum in returns.
- Celebrity fans who would routinely turn up at their gigs were Dennis Hopper, Benny Hill, Frankie Howerd, Nicolas Cage, Lenny Kravitz and Walter Matthau.
- The Bucket, the East London pub in Squatney where the band rehearsed, is now an upmarket patisserie for hipsters called Shoo.
- David St Hubbins’ blues idol was Blind Bubba Cheeks – despite his nickname he was not legally blind, though he was myopic.
- In 1990, whilst attending the funeral of former manager Ian Faith, Tap agreed to re-form. They were seen to be stamping on his grave. They were actually dancing.
- Number of former members: 21.
- Spinal Tap is the greatest band that ever existed.
Find so much more in Wallace Fairfax's Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book, telling the whole story of Tap in words, pictures and removable facsimilie memorabilia.