For years since this movie has been released, many hard rockers have claimed that the movie hit too hard. Jeff Beck, Ozzy Osbourne, and many of the glam scene rockers of the LA Strip have said that this movie must have been a jab at them in some way.

These references seem to be clear:

  • The Stonehenge sequence was a theme that Black Sabbath touched upon in their song...Stonehenge. There is a debate about whether it's a coincidence because of the close timing of the release of the movie and Born Again. Commissioner Gordon taught us there are no coincidences.

  • The first song that Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins wrote was 'All The Way Home', about a train. This harkens to the Yardbirds 'Train Kept A-Rollin'. Quite a coincidence.

  • And most obvious, when Derek Smalls and St. Hubbins are talking about the possibility of new material, specifically, "you're a mean one, saucy Jack...haughty Jack", this has to be an obvious reference to the Who's Happy Jack.

Are there any others? Any obvious, or, too coincidental references to real world artists?

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    I recall reading something in Rolling Stone years ago that the album cover for "Smell the Glove" was based on an actual cover from a Whitesnake album from the late 70's (not sure which one) and an actual drummer being trapped in some sort of seashell prop during a concert that inspired Derek Smalls being trapped in his pod. And, of course there have been numerous real-world drummers that have died of numerous things...I don't think any have died from gardening accidents, but you never know ;) Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 9:35
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    "the Yardbirds 'Train Kept A-Rollin'" Oh please, that's a cover. Also, there's thousands of songs about trains. Stonehenge is a famous landmark and is likely featured in numerous songs. Moreover, while the movie was released in early 1984, it was recorded much earlier, and the Sabbath/Stonehenge shenanigans didn't happen until late 1983, thus it is up to you to prove that it is even possible one influenced the other timewise. Hence two of your three "clear" references are feeble at best.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 10:00
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    @steelersquirrel WRT drummers dying from gardening accidents: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Porcaro#Death
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 10:01
  • Notes taken. +1 for the Porcaro reference. Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 10:02
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    I always connected ST drummers' misadventure with the Allman Brothers members dying in the same place a year after each other - extended to absurdity.
    – mcalex
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


You could write a book about Spinal tap references. I bet there is some academic MA paper about that. But in the meantime

There are nine things there (because the list go to 11)

Real stories that inspired ST

But to not spoil fun and connect things. Spinal Tap album review "Shit Sandwich" is a nod to Yes Tales From Topographic Oceans was just "No". During tour for that album Yes bassist became trapped in plastic. Sounds familiar?

Ballad That Tufel wanted to title Lick My Love Pump is Zappa Promise Not To Come In Your Mouth

Also Gibson Les Paul guitars with low-impedance pickups had a switch that enabled them to go up to 11.

and many other just write "spinal tap reference to" in google.

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    You might want to summarize the essential parts of the linked article in order to make this more than just a link-only answer.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:20

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