Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spinal Tap - This Is Spinal Tap (soundtrack)

March of 1984 saw the release of This Is Spinal Tap, an American rock music mocumentary from director Rob Reiner. It chronicled the career of the fictional heavy metal rock band Spinal Tap. The band roster was David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) on lead vocals and guitar, Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) on lead guitar, mandolin and vocals, Viv Savage (David Kaff) on keyboards and vocals, Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) on bass and vocals, and Mick Shrimpton (Ric Parnell) on drums. Harlan Collins played synthesizer and Jon Sinclair played keyboards on the album as well.

For today's Soundtrack Sunday, we mark the thirtieth anniversary of the film's accompanying album which spent ten weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 121.

Side one opens with "Hell Hole", a rousing rocker about a filthy hovel of a dwelling.

"Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" got a good bit of airplay back in 1984.

"Heavy Duty", with an appropriately weighty stomp, pays homage to the metal genre.

"Rock and Roll Creation" has a dark, sinister mood to it. It reminds me a little bit of the early days of Alice Cooper.

With a bit of a blue-inspired element, "America" is a song about coming to a new country, full of fast-lives and fast women.

The short "Cups and Cakes" is a jaunty little piano piece with a very British theme.

Side two begins with the thundering rocker "Big Bottom", a sexually laced tune clearly inspired by Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls". Again, here is another track that was played a lot on the album-oriented rock stations back in the day.

"Sex Farm" is up next. As with the previous track, this one has innuendo through out the lyrics.

"Stonehenge" properly plays with the progressive rock sound with this song about an ancient structure surrounded in mystery.

"Gimme Some Money" bounces along with a lighter 60's Brit pop sound.

The original vinyl release ends with "(Listen to the) Flower People", another 60's pop piece that summons up images of the hippy, peace-and-love culture of the later part of that decade.

One of the reasons, I think, that Spinal Tap has endured over the past three decades is that these actors really could play some solid rock and roll. Even with a tongue often firmly in the cheek lyrically, these songs easily could have appeared on known rock bands' album back in the 60's and 70's.

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