Smell the Glove
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|Smell the Glove|
|Studio album (fictional) by Spinal Tap|
|Spinal Tap chronology|
Smell the Glove is the name of a fictional album by the mock heavy-metal band Spın̈al Tap in the movie This Is Spın̈al Tap. It was released by Polymer Records (a parody of Polydor, who released the movie's real-life soundtrack album).
Cover sleeve art
In the mockumentary, the original cover, according to recording company representative Bobbi Flekman (played by Fran Drescher), featured "a greased, naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck and a leash, and a man's arm extended out... holding on to the leash and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it." Flekman suggests that the cover is sexist, leading Nigel Tufnel to wonder, "what's wrong with being sexy?" The production company, Polymer Records, ultimately refused to release the cover because of pressure from retailers such as Sears and Kmart and gave the album a solid black cover instead.
Upon learning of the concerns of Polymer, David St. Hubbins said, "You know, if we were serious and we said, ‘Yes, she should be forced to smell the glove,’ then you’d have a point, but it’s all a joke." Bandmate Nigel Tufnel replied, "It is and it isn’t. She should be made to smell it, but..." which David clarified with the statement, "But not, you know, over and over." Fleckman responded that it was now the 1980s, and the band needed to stop trying to shock audiences like it was the 1960s.
Spinal Tap manager Ian Faith claimed to have censored the album himself, saying "You should have seen the cover they wanted to do. It wasn't a glove, believe me!" Flekman dismissed the band's complaints, stating that a cover had nothing to do with whether an album was successful or not, and pointed at The Beatles' infamous "White Album" as proof. The eventual album art would be a contrast to that cover.
The black sleeve prompted guitarist Nigel Tufnel to utter the now-famous quote, "It's like, 'how much more black could this be?' and the answer is 'None. None more black.'" In an early piece of publicity for the film, a 1984 ad in Billboard magazine plugged the album and displayed the original "naked woman" cover. Tap returned to this idea in 1992 with the picture sleeve from the promo CD of Bitch School, which pictured a woman dressed in black vinyl with a mortarboard. 4
Concept and impact
Other black sleeves
Real-life albums which feature a completely black (or partially black) cover include Genesis' From Genesis to Revelation, Utopia's Oblivion, Status Quo's Hello!, The Beatles' Past Masters, Prince's The Black Album, Kino's Chyorny albom, Lupe Fiasco's "Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1", The Root's Organix, the Eagles' The Long Run, Peter Hammill's A Black Box, AC/DC's Back In Black, Murray Roman's, A Blind Man's Movie and The Damned's The Black Album. The three latter examples were released in 1980 and were successful around the time the film was being developed. However, The Velvet Underground's 1968 release White Light/White Heat was probably the first album to spark this trend. Another example is Metallica's self-titled fifth album (often referred to as "the Black Album"). The members of Spinal Tap made pointed references to this when they appeared in Metallica's long form video A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica. In the scene, they humorously confront the members of Metallica; "We need to talk about the black album"; Guest, in character as Nigel Tufnel confronts James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett with "Where did the idea come from to do an all-black album, Metallica representatives?", causing Hetfield and Hammett to immediately begin coughing as a way to delay responding. In another scene in the Metallica video, the band members are shown working in the studio when the test graphics for their album art arrive for their approval. James Hetfield can be heard muttering the words, "None more black. The answer is 'none more black'."
In what may or may not be a reference to the black cover of Smell the Glove, the box of the 1992 computer game Ultima VII: The Black Gate featured a front cover with nothing but the game's title and producer on an otherwise blank black background. This was markedly unusual for the time.
- The Ultimate Spinal Tap Discography - an illustrated guide to Tap's albums (both real and imagined)
- The actual first Smell the Glove cover, low resolution