Music Quiz

Real or Spinal Tap

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Just for fun, I showed my 18-20 year-old college students this Spinal Tap clip. After some chuckles, a few (sincerely) asked: "Is that a real band?"

Well, no. Not exactly.

Rob Reiner directed 1984's quintessential rock n roll satire This Is Spinal Tap, which pokes fun at the excessive, pompous, and downright silly world of popular music. Spinal Tap represents a composite of hard rock bands: part Kiss, part Led Zeppelin, part Judas Priest, part Rolling Stones, part Who, part Who-ever. The film explores a number of rock n roll clichés, like the death of drummers (one spontaneously explodes in the film); the band getting lost at an arena trying to find the audience; pretentious faux-art stage sets; and, of course, turning their Marshall amps up to "11."

In reality, Spinal Tap - consisting of actors Michael McKean (as guitarist David St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (as guitarist Nigel Tufnel), and Harry Shearer (as bassist Derek Smalls) - actually wrote songs and toured. Spinal Tap mocks real songs by real bands with titles like: "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight," "Sex Farm," "Christmas With the Devil," and "Break Like the Wind."

So, with that in mind, I've put together a little quiz. Each question contains a set of lyrics, followed by a choice of three bands that possibly composed them - one of which is Spinal Tap. See if you can spot the "sincere" lyrics from the phony ones.
~Stephen Tow
10-13: Congratulations, rock n roll genius! Your amp does in fact go to "11."
8-10: Not bad. You may have trouble finding the stage in Cleveland, but eventually you get there.
5-7: Ahhh, sorry. You hold a release party for your new record. Unfortunately, no one shows up.
0-5: Look out. Your drummer just died in a bizarre gardening accident.
Further Reading: The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal Tap
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Comments: 14

  • Alessio from Rome8 correct! We love you Cleveland!
  • Chipp Ross from PdxUsing the death of one of the most famous session drummers ever for your grading system is pretty cheesy and insensitive. Also, Spinal Tap was looking for the STAGE, not the audience.You say you're a teacher? F- for you.
  • Qrs from Jilin, China100%, next?
  • Zabo from Pgh, Pa.Got Six but should of done way better.
  • Scotty W.a.d. from Rockledge, FlaThe Bigger The Waist Band The Deaper The QuickSand m/
  • Nelson Barlow from New BrunswickIT IS MY FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME?
  • David from Maplewood, Nj11 right, in honor of Nigel's favorite number. Had to really think on some of them thanks to Tap's songs being so close to reality. So old I saw it when it was released, not knowing what to expect. Thanks Marty for showing us the reality of rock!
  • Johnny from Amarillo 11 correct. I feel good! (I knew that I would now)
  • Paul from Pgh, Pawell, i got the pink floyd right and 3 spinal taps, not bad for a mellow geezer :D
  • Will from New York, NyI got 11. Someone, somewhere would be proud of me.
  • Davis Stratocaster from Minneapolis, MnMusic expert gets only a 5!
  • Jack from SpokaneWhat - no lyric question for Big Bottoms?
  • Adreanne Woodard from Rome, Nyi got 11 out of 13 right, and i'm only 17 years old. i know alot about music.
  • Jim from North Billerica, MaI got four wrong, 2, 3, 11, 13. I would have bet 11 and 13 were done by Spinal Tap. It I mention the "Folksmen" do I get extra credit?
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