Even the greatest performers have influences. No one comes out of thin air. For example, this blog is clearly influenced by the writing of Milton Friedman and his free market economics. Sometimes I read back the paragraphs and think to myself, "Milton would've written that." But he didn't! Between Friedman, Wilhelm Reich and Dr. Phil, I'm virtually a complete ripoff. But I take solace in knowing that the Rolling Stones were once a Beatles cover band and Green Day didn't invent punk, they just sold more of it than everyone else combined.
Now Spinal Tap had wide ranging influences, but I chose the ones you can really see and hear in their music.
5) David Bowie: Most of the acts Spinal Tap mimic were acts they kind of made fun of, but Bowie would be one of those quiet influences. After all, Bowie knew how to change with the times and Spinal Tap went from sounding like a Merseybeat rip-off to sounding like a psychedelic rip-off to eventually sounding like a crappy heavy metal band. Bowie worked his way through singer-songwriterdom to glam rocker to "Let's Dance" superstar. Ziggy Stardust? The Thin White Duke? The Dude in Tin Machine! To Bowie Bond Salesman!
4) Jethro Tull: Spinal Tap never reached JT's grand scope, but they acquired Tull's goofiness and if they could've figured a way to add flute, I'm sure they would've. They could've settled for playing accordion on one leg. I'm sure they had their reasons.
3) Kiss: No band who participate in the Theatre of the Absurd can do so without feeling the impact of Kiss. You can't use dry ice, smoke bombs, rising drum platforms and other elements of spectacle without invoking the clever marketing execs at Kiss, Inc.
2) Dio: You can't give the devil sign without admitting you've heard of Ronnie James Dio. I watched an entire special on "Heavy Metal" once where I think they spent a half hour on crediting this guy with the move. Does Buddy Holly get credit for creating "Eyeglasses Rock"?
1) Uriah Heep: With albums like Look At Yourself (which included a mirror), Demons And Wizards, The Magician's Birthday, High And Mighty and Abominog, Uriah Heep made albums nearly as good as Intravenus DeMilo or Shark Sandwich. But since Uriah Heep made them for real, they get all the credit. Why can't some of us get paid just for thinking about doing great things?