Smell the Glove

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Smell the Glove
Solid black.svg
Studio album (fictional) by Spinal Tap
Released 1982
Genre Heavy metal
Label Polymer
Spinal Tap chronology
Shark Sandwich
(1980)
Smell the Glove
(1982)
Break Like the Wind
(1992)

Smell the Glove is the name of a fictional album by the mock heavy-metal band Spın̈al Tap featured in the 1984 film This Is Spın̈al Tap. It was released by Polymer Records (a parody of Polydor, who released the movie's real-life soundtrack album).[citation needed]

Cover sleeve art[edit]

In the mockumentary, recording company representative Bobbi Flekman (played by Fran Drescher) describes the original album cover as featuring "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 ask, "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 says, "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 replies, "It is and it isn’t. She should be made to smell it, but..." which David clarifies with the statement, "But not, you know, over and over."

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.[1]

Other black sleeves[edit]

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, Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, 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, 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'."

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