Spinal Tap's History

  • 1978 - The Creation of Spinal Tap

    Christopher Guest & Michael McKean create Nigel Tufnel and David St Hubbins, English musicians. Harry Shearer joins the band as Derek Smalls. The band is named Spinal Tap.

  • July 1979

    Rob Reiner executive produces and Harry Shearer produces a pilot, “The TV Show”, which lampoons many TV formats. Spinal Tap performs an original song “Rock ’n Roll Nightmare” on the show. It’s broadcast on ABC.

  • June 1980

    Spinal Tap – including Rob Reiner – write 7 songs. The musicians record them at an LA studio. In anticipation of the film, the band performs its songs live at LA’s Whiskey & The Central (both on Sunset Strip) and at a club in Orange County.

  • 7 May 1982

    Spinal Tap Productions signs an agreement with Embassy Pictures to produce the motion picture “This Is Spinal Tap” incorporating the pre-existing characters, situations and the songs.

  • 2 March 1984

    This Is Spinal Tap is released on 3 screens in US cinemas.

  • 3 May 1984

    This Is Spinal Tap is released in a London cinema, opening in other UK cinemas the following day.

  • May 1984

    Christmas with the Devil b/w Christmas with the Devil (scratch mix) is released on Enigma Records.

    The band performed Christmas with the Devil on Saturday Night Live.

    Spinal Tap: The Original Soundtrack Recording from the Motion Picture This Is Spinal Tap is released by Polydor.

  • 2 June 1984

    This Is Spinal Tap released in cinemas in Brazil.

  • 1985

    Theatrical (cinema) releases in Germany, Norway, Finland, Australia, Norway, Hong Kong, Italy. The title and the film itself has by now been translated into at least 19 languages.

    Film released on videocassette for the first time.

  • 30 Mar 1992

    Band interviewed on Good Morning America:

  • 30 Apr 1992

    Spinal Tap performs at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London.

  • Apr 1992

    MTV Headbangers Ball Interview:

  • June 1992

    The first single, The Majesty of Rock is released from the follow up album Break Like the Wind. The single, Bitch School, follows then the album.

  • 1992

    Spinal Tap guest stars on The Simpsons.

    Shearer and Guest are sent on a promotional tour that includes Australia, UK, Sweden, Norway and Germany. In all of these locations (except Australia, where Guest and Shearer present an award at the ARIA ceremony and appear on a TV show), “drummer auditions” are staged. One is also staged at the Coliseum in LA.

  • 7 July 1992

    Spinal Tap plays London’s Royal Albert Hall and the concert is filmed:

    Spinal Tap – Christmas With The Devil – Live On Arsenio Hall:

  • 1992

    Release of Home Video – Return of Spinal Tap. Break Like the Wind released on LTW video laser disc.

  • 1993

    This is Spinal Tap premieres on Swedish TV.

    “The Return of Spinal Tap” aired on New Years Eve 1993 on NBC.

    Spinal Tap is engaged to do a series of mockumentary-style adverts for an Australian snack food, called “Rockin Rolls”:

  • 1996

    In the run up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, IBM uses a Spinal Tap song and the band in their TV commercials. The song is a new one created for the occasion called “Goat Boy”.

  • 1998

    Big Bottom features of the Rhino Records Heavy Metal Compilation – Hard Rock Café.

  • 2000

    The motion picture is re-released in cinemas in USA plus theatrical (cinema) releases in Portugal, Australia and France.

    A re-mastered CD is released, as is the album as a download. Break Like the Wind re-mastered and re-released on CD.

    Special Edition DVD; BMG 2 DVD set re-released. Remastered soundtrack re-released and on Amazon downloads. Back from the Dead is released as a single also as an MP3 download.

    Uni-Hip-O Records Compilation Sleighed the other Side of Christmas includes Christmas with the Devil.

    The Official Companion is published by Bloomsbury.

  • 2001

    The Back From the Dead Live Tour by the band.

  • 2002

    This Is Spinal Tap is re-released theatrically (in cinemas) in Netherlands.

    The US Library of Congress designates This Is Spinal Tap culturally, historically and aesthetically significant.

  • 2003

    Release of Return of Spinal Tap. This Is Spinal Tap Ultimate Edition released.

  • 2004

    DVD re-release in Germany. Italian TV premiere. Break Like the Wind onto Amazon downloads.

    The NY Times includes This Is Spinal Tap in their list: The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made.

  • 2005

    The motion picture is theatrically re-released in Spain
    Canal/Hallmark produce a musical Spinal Tap card.

  • 2006

    Release on MGM of the motion picture as a video and DVD.

  • 2007

    August MGM releases 3 DVD set.

    Music Appreciation 101 with Bill & Ted.

    Cultographies – This is Spinal Tap Wallflower Press.

    In July the band plays UK’s Wembley Stadium for the Live Earth global warming charity event.

    Interviewed on BBC Network television with film clip

    Appearance on BBC Radio 1 network radio

  • 2008

    This Is Spinal Tap gets a Uruguayan theatrical (in cinemas) re-release.

  • 2009

    Spinal Tap plays Glastonbury Festival in the UK.

    Back from the Dead – CD and DVD re-released & becomes available as an MP3 from Amazon.

    The band appeared and performed on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

    Release of the so-called Marshall Amp Edition on BluRay.

    “Up to 11” 25th Anniversary Edition on DVD & BluRay.

    This Is Spinal Tap shown at the Greek Film Festival.

    Saucy Jack released as a single.

    The band appears live at Wembley Stadium in the UK.

  • 2010

    Audio visual licences issued for the songs Big Bottom, Gimme Some Money and Cups and Cakes, Heavy Duty, Hellhole, Sex Farm, Stonehenge and Tonight I am Gonna Rock You, Tonight.

  • 2011

    The motion picture features at the Canada Film Festival.

    Audio visual licences issued for the songs Tonight I am Gonna Rock You, Tonight, Big Bottom.

    Time Out London names This Is Spinal Tap No1 of The 100 Best Comedy Movies.

  • 2012

    This Is Spinal Tap features at the Poland Film Festival in July.

    This Is Spinal Tap is featured in the 2012 season of Turner Classic Movies.

  • 2013

    Entertainment Weekly names This Is Spinal Tap “Just Too Beloved To Ignore” in its list of 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.