Tenacious D: Is "Tribute" a tribute to a real song or not?

I’ve been waiting for awhile to ask this question. Hopefully some Tenacious D fans will be along shortly to refute or support my theory.

The song “Tribute” is supposed to be a tribute to “the greatest song in the world.” But at no point is the greatest song ever eluded to, or mentioned.

I’ve read that the song is supposed to be “Stairway to Heaven.” This is theorized because some of the hooks in “Tribute” sound vaguely the same.

But, in the song, Jack Black clearly states that “Tribute” doesn’t sound anything like the song that “Tribute” is a tribute to.

I’m stumped. Anybody got any guesses?

It’s a gag. It deliberately leads you to think ‘the greatest song in the world’ is Stairway, then it yanks the rug out. IMO, it wouldn’t be funny otherwise.

If you take the lyrics literally, it can’t be as it says “…couldn’t remember The Greatest Song in the World, no, no…”.

That would rule out any possibility of it being some song they’re fans of since they’d obviously remember it.

I thought it was that Tenacious-D were out on the road when they met the Devil who challeneged them to a rock off. The Devil went first and then they responded by just jamming and making up a song as they went. The song was so awesome that it thwarted the Devil and they won. But after they won they completely forgot how it went and so they wrote Tribute to memorialize it.

Actually this sounds like a literary reference. To piggyback this thread, anyone know the reference?

The greatest song is a song that Tenacious D had to make up on the spot to placate the Devil.

The devil was going to take them down to hell unless they played the greatest rock and roll song ever. They started pulling stuff out of their asses but the devil was stunned to realize that they had just invented the greatest song ever.

Unfortunately they forgot the song, so all they could do was write a tribute to it.

The point is that the greatest song is not a song that has ever been recorded by anyone. It was played once, for an audience of one (Satan,) and was promptly forgotten.

At least that’s what I think.

The only reference I can think of is some composer who had a dream he sold his soul to the devil for some divine inspiration, and the devil played him a sonatina. When he woke up, he couldn’t remember what the devil played that well because it was in a dream (as many of us have trouble fully remembering some dreams) but he made a piece out of it anyway called the “Devil’s Sonatina”

I don’t think it’s a tribute to or parody of another song. I guess you could say it’s got a kind of a Devil Went Down to Georgia thing going on, but that’s just the plot.

Beat you by one minute Larry. Although yours is more accurate. I haven’t seen the video in over a year.

I think I also recall a cartoon who did this. Maybe Duckman, The Simpsons or Dilbert. The main character has a near death experience meets God, writes something like the meaning of life on an etch-a-sketch. But when he awakes he shakes it and then can’t remember what it was.

The Giuseppe Tartini story is very interesting. Shame I first heard this concept from some cartoon. Or there might be some intermediate text which I’ve read and forgot.

I think that was Duckman. Someone comes back from the dead (probably Duckman) with the meaning of life on an Etch-a-Sketch, and he ends up shaking it by accident before he shows anyone.

Reminds me of Coleridge’s Kublai Khan. Hen was interrupted from his writing and unable to finish the poem. Silly opium fiend. What he’s got is still gravy.

The bold stuff is from an old folk song, possibly performed by the Levellers. I’ve heard this story before (walking down a road, challenged by the devil to out-play him), but it was a long time ago and I can’t remember the name of the song.

I’ll ask my brother when I get home tonight, he’ll know.

Nope… Tribute is the tribute to the song they played that night.

"and the peculiar thing is this my friends:
the song we sang on that fateful night it didn’t actually sound
anything like this song. "

It was actually a “shiny demon”, not the big D himself, and I believe his exact words were “Plaeeeeeey the best saaaaawng in the world, or I’ll eat your souls.” :eek:

The lyrics make it clear that Tribute is a tribute to an actual song, so the answer to the OP is “yes”. The song may be lost to history, but in the video I think you can see them playing a song for the demon. Perhaps someone with a lot of free time could analyze the finger movements in the video and figure out what they’re playing.

On GOD, THE DEVIL AND BOB, while parked at a train crossing, Bob demanded God explain why bad stuff happened, and so as God does so, with lots of elaborate hand gestures, a train goes by drowning out the sound of God’s voice.
After it passes, Bob exclaims “It’s all so simple now! That makes perfect sense! Thank You, I’m sorry I yelled at You.”

Larry and Fern describe it very well, but the Stairway connection is very important to the humor.

It is worth noting that the album version of the song cuts out a big portion of the Stairway references. Listen to the version that aired on HBO so many years ago, and the Stairway connection is even more apparent.