Tenacious D are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their platinum-certified self-titled debut album this year. And two decades later, the question had still remained as to whether their song “Tribute” is itself the “best song in the world” or a just song about the greatest song in the world — until now. Thanks to an exclusive from Jack Black and Kyle Gass, Heavy Consequence was able to put the all-important debate to bed.
Recently, Elton John brought James Hetfield to tears when he declared that Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” was “one of the best songs ever written.” Interestingly, as the story goes, the song “Tribute” was inspired by Black telling Gass that Metallica’s “One” was the best song in the world. And musically, “Tribute” is also inspired by Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
So, which song is the greatest? Is it “Tribute”? “One”? “Stairway”? The lyrics to “Tribute” offer a contradiction: The very first line declares, “This is the greatest and best song in the world… ‘Tribute’.” But later on in the lyrics, Black and Gass exclaim, “This is not the greatest song in the world, no. This is just a tribute!”
In our new video Zoom conversation with Tenacious D (watch above), Gass recalled the initial conversation, “As I remember it, Jack, [it was] a late night, rainy, inside the car, and Jack said, ‘You gotta check out this song by Metallica. It’s ‘One’ and it’s the greatest song in the world.’ But he also said that every one of their songs is the greatest song in the world. … It was a mindblower, for sure. ‘One’ I think really influenced ‘Tribute’ as much as, say, ‘Stairway.'”
Black then treated us to the most entertaining vocalization of Metallica’s ‘One’ we’ve ever heard (seriously, you gotta watch it in the clip above).
Then it was time to ask the 20-year-old question: Is “Tribute” the greatest song in the world, or is it just a song about the greatest song in the world?
“Should we tell him, Kage?,” Black asked, “Should we finally come clean?” To which Gass replied, “I think it’s time. I think Spence has earned it.” That’s when Black let the cat out of the bag: “It actually is the greatest song in the world.”
Black went on to address the contradiction in the song’s lyrics, but ultimately both he and Gass admitted they were just being “humble” when they included the line about “Tribute” not being the greatest song in the world. Indeed, it is the best song in the world.
Watch above for the full revelation from Tenacious D’s Jack Black and Kyle Gass, and stay tuned for our entire interview with the duo, who discuss the 20th anniversary of the self-titled album; their friendships and working relationships with Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and Dave Grohl; a possible sequel to Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny; and more.
In the meantime, pre-order the band’s “20th Anniversary Super Power Party Pack” — including a CD reissue of the Tribute EP, a cassette of the band’s 1995 demo, and a replica 1995 show flyer signed by Black and Gass — at the band’s official webstore for the incredibly reasonable price of $20.
Trouble viewing the video above? Watch on YouTube.