Perhaps no band in the history of rock ‘n roll has experienced more highs and lows than Spinal Tap.
They released a world-spanning hit record that helped define the ’60s. They recorded a series of albums that indelibly changed the course of hard rock – for the worse, perhaps, but does that really matter when we’re talking about sheer influence? – in the ’70s. They embarked on a tour in 1982 that spawned one of the genre’s defining documentaries.
In the wake of that, when even their own fans took them for dead, Spinal Tap experienced a late-career resurgence that included the kind of international charity concert performances and ultra-timely new album releases that most of the other greatest bands in the history the world can only dream of.
Through all of this triumph and tragedy, Spinal Tap have also gone through a series of lineup changes that would break the will of lesser musicians. Two men have stayed steady throughout: Nigel Tufnel, whose face appears in the dictionary next to the definition of “guitar god,” and David St. Hubbins, whom Leonard Cohen once may or may not have called “the kind of lyricist I aspire to be.” For the majority of the band’s existence, these two stalwarts have been joined by Derek Smalls, a man reputed to have invented the double-neck bass.
Beyond these three, however, the band has featured a rotating gallery of other members, including keyboardists, guitarists, tambourine players, session musicians and many, many drummers. Here, to celebrate the anniversary of the first songwriting collaboration of Tufnel and St. Hubbins, we present the authoritative guide to these lineup changes.