Surprising Facts About This Is Spinal Tap— The OG Mockumentary

Although the concept of a mockumentary has been around since Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds, It was This Is Spinal Tap director, Rob Reiner, who popularized the term. Both Welles’ radio drama and Reiner’s rock parody appeared so true to life that some audience members missed the “mock” and thought that these fictional works depicted actual events (and in Welle’s case, actual aliens).

Many of the classic lines from This Is Spinal Tap have made their way into our everyday language. It’s become a landmark in film history and in popular culture. Even though Spinal Tap achieved mainstream success, there are still tons of facts about the film that aren’t widely known. Read ahead to find out how actual rock stars reacted to the film and why Rob Reiner decided not to play one of the band members.

Play That Funky Music

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Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean, the actors who play the Spinal Tap band members, are all talented musicians in their own right. They and Rob Reiner wrote the music for the movie and they actually perform the songs in the film and on the soundtrack.

Michael McKean and Christopher Guest met while in college in New York City in the late 1960s, and played music together long before they worked on the film. Christopher Guest was very concerned about the performances in the film looking real. He insisted on reshooting scenes so that the actor’s finger position matched perfectly with the soundtrack.