Our Top 10 Top 10 Tenacious D Songs list presents the comedy duo’s best songs like “The Last in Line,” “Tribute,” “The Metal” and many more. When coming up with the top ten songs from Tenacious D, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the comedy behind each song or the vulgarities used in the lyrics? Portraying the image as heavy metal rockers, actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass came up with the name after listening to a quote made by a pair of NBA basketball sportscasters. When they heard “tenacious defense” it was enough to come up with Tenacious D as a name they’d run with as of 1994.
Once upon a time, Jack Black and Kyle Gass were part of a theater company known as The Actors’ Gang. At first, they didn’t start out as buddies. It wasn’t until the entire group went to a festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, did the two begin to develop a friendship. In 1994, Black and Gass were inspired to pool their comedic and musical talent together as a hard-rocking duo to deliver one humorous song after another. By 1997, HBO recruited the duo to run three episodes on its channel. The third of these episodes aired on HBO in 2000 before Tenacious D debuted their self-titled album in 2001. All of this was made possible after an encounter with another comedian, David Cross, and his series Mr. Show with Bob and David.
Performing with Jack Black and Kyle Gass was Dave Grohl. Grohl used to be the drummer for Nirvana before moving on with Foo Fighters, as well as Tenacious D. Together, Tenacious D was recorded and released as an album in 2001. It became a commercial success, selling enough copies to earn platinum certification with the Recording Industry Association of America, as well as double platinum with the British Phonographic Industry. In Australia, Austria, and Germany, it became certified gold. Debuting as a single was “Tribute” and it became a cult favorite among fans worldwide.
In 2003, Tenacious D recorded and released The Complete Master Works, which was a live concert DVD experience. Like the duo’s debut, it became certified platinum with the RIAA. In fact, it outsold anything Black and Gass did as a musical act. The DVD was certified platinum six times with the RIAA, twice by the Australian Recording Industry Association, and single platinum with the British Phonographic Industry. For Tenacious D, the trail of success continued with their second studio album, The Pick of Destiny. Although it wasn’t nearly as commercially successful in the U.S., it became certified platinum in Ireland, as well as certified gold in Austria and the U.K. This came out at the same time as the 2006 movie, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. It also did better than the movie itself.
Rize of the Fenix would be the third studio album released by Tenacious D, six years after enjoying the success of The Pick of Destiny. It faired well with the BPI, becoming certified silver, but it didn’t share nearly the same level of success as its predecessors. After waiting another six years, Black and Goss released their fourth studio album, Post-Apocalypto. This came out just after Tenacious D in Post-Apocalypto, a six-episode animated series featured on YouTube. For Jack Black and Kyle Gass, the theatrics continue as Black carries on as the lead vocalist and Gass shows off his prowess as a guitarist. In total, Tenacious D has four studio albums, a live album, two EPs, and two video albums. Aside from their own material, Jack Black and Kyle Gass have also collaborated with several recording artists such as Styx and The Vandals. They’ve also appeared in music videos, either in cameos or as a feature for artists such as Dio, Beck, and Foo Fighters.
Top 10 Tenacious D Songs
#10 – Dio
As a duo, Tenacious D not only paid tribute to Ronnie Dio with “The Last in Line” as one of the songs from the album Tribute, but it also paid homage to the hard rocker himself. “Dio” also jabbed the man about his age. In response, Dio asked Jack Black and Kyle Gass to participate in his music video, “Push.” In “Dio,” Jack Black made the suggestion Ronnie Dio should consider teaching music in a retirement community. The beauty behind this song was it served as a tribute, a comedic jab, and an awesome play of music that made this an easy favorite.
#9 – Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)
Coming from the Tenacious D album, “Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)” featured a direct encounter with Satan as Jack Black and Kyle Gass sought to save their souls after creating what they believed was the best song in the world. This was a dramatic song, loaded with dark humor, and some heavy-hitting instruments that hammered home that there was no way the devil was going to win this argument. In the music video, Foo Fighter’s lead vocalist Dave Grohl posed as the devil. Grohl worked with Black and Gass on the duo’s debut album, serving as their drummer at the time.
#8 – Simply Jazz
In 2012, “Simply Jazz” was released as an eleven-minute song and an EP that charted as high as number twenty-five on the US Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart. The idea behind the recording was to pay tribute to jazz legends such as Miles Davis. However, even as a jazzy number, it’s not a Tenacious D song without Jack Black’s comedic vocals. In this song, Kyle Gass trades in the guitar to use a recorder instead. The song made a reference to the duo’s 2006 movie, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. In it, Black imitated Disturbed’s singer, David Draiman as he began the lyrics. From there, a short skit followed before breaking into song again.
#7 – Rize of the Fenix
“Rize of the Fenix” was the title track from Tenacious D’s third studio album, which was released in 2012. On the US Billboard Comedy Digital Sales Chart, it peaked as high as number nine. As a song designed to overcome tragedy in triumph, Jack Black and Kyle Gass used the comedic approach to drive the message home. At first, this was meant to be a promotional single and nothing more. However, “Rize of the Fenix” became a cult classic, as well as one of Tenacious D’s signature songs. This was a song that served as a rescue mission to save rock and roll as a genre that was threatened to go into extinction.
#6 – POD
“POD” is an acronym for Pick of Destiny. This was a song featured on The Pick of Destiny, which was released by Tenacious D in 2006. On the US Billboard, it peaked as high as number seventy-eight. It was a number twenty hit in Ireland and a number twenty-four hit in the U.K. Adding to the song’s popularity was a music video that showed Jack Black and Kyle Gass enter a theatre to watch their movie, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. Instead of behaving properly in the audience, their antics end up getting them thrown out. The video was meant to promote the song and the movie at the same time. It worked for the song but the movie was a flop. “POD” was actually a biographical tale behind Tenacious D and how Black and Gass first met.
#5 – Kickapoo (featuring Meat Loaf and Ronnie James Dio)
“Kickapoo” was a song belonging to the 1996 movie and soundtrack, Bio-Dome. On the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart, it became a number-one hit. It also won Best Video at the 1996 MTV Music Awards. For Jack Black and Kyle Gass, this was their first taste at global recognition as they visually performed this song as Tenacious D for the first time. As a single, Meat Loaf and Ronnie James Dio teamed up with Tenacious D to record this as the lead track for the album, The Pick of Destiny. The influence of “Kickapoo” turned it into an unofficial fight song for Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri.
#4 – Wonderboy
Released in 2001 as a single, “Wonderboy” was the follow-up single behind “Tribute.” On the UK Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number thirty-six and at number forty-four in Australia. This later became the theme song for UFC fighter, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. As a professional fighter, Thompson’s nickname suggests he’s a hero. In the song, “Wonderboy” teams up with a rival to form Tenacious D as a duo designed to fight off various threats with their superpowers. As a music video, “Wonderboy” won the Music Video Production Association award for Best Direction of a New Artist during a 2002 presentation that recognized Spike Jonze for his work.
#3 – The Metal
From the album, Rize of the Fenix, “The Metal” was a single that was released in 2013. On the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, it peaked as high as number one. It was nominated for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance at the 2014 Grammy Awards, as well as Best Rock Video at the MTV Music Awards. Although it didn’t earn any wins it did become a cult favorite among the fans who also made this a number-one hit on iTunes. According to the song’s lyrics, “The Metal,” faced threats as a musical genre as it competed with the others for survival. This became a favorite song of choice that was included in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
#2 – The Last in Line
From the gentle start to the heavier grind of “The Last in Line,” Jack Black beautifully handled the lyrics while Kyle Gass showed off why he’s so good with an acoustic guitar. As a song, Tenacious D performed a cover version of “The Last in Line” that earned a Grammy Award for Best Heavy Metal Performance in 2015. The original came from Dio, a heavy metal group whose single became a big hit for them when it was released in 1984. For Tenacious D, “The Last in Line” was a tribute, just like the album with the same name. Their release came thirty years after Dio’s original performance. As far as Jack Black and Kyle Gass are concerned, Ronnie James Dio is a true legend when it comes to classic rock. Their performance of “The Last in Line” was incredibly powerful and deservedly earned its place as a Grammy Award winner.
#1 – Tribute
“Tribute” was the debut single from Tenacious D that was released in 2001 from the duo’s first studio album. It became an instant favorite among the fans who were delighted and surprised to see comedians Jack Black and Kyle Gass belt out a tune with every bit as much tenacity as the classic rockers it pays homage to. According to Black and Gass, it’s a tribute to “The Best Song in the World.” Although “Tribute” failed to make an impression on the US Billboard charts, it became a number four hit in Australia, a number nine hit in New Zealand, and a number twenty-five hit in the Netherlands. On the UK Singles Chart, it made an appearance at number eighty-four. In sales, it became certified platinum in Australia, as well as gold in New Zealand and the U.K.
In “Tribute,” Tenacious D made a deal with a demon who insisted the two play the best song in the world. Failure wasn’t an option as the souls of Black and Gass were on the line. As a source of inspiration, Metallica’s “One” was the tune that stood out. It, along with “Stairway to Heaven” both made their mark in what fans seem to agree is the best song in the world coming from Tenacious D. “Tribute” was more than just some song. This came across exactly as it was designed to do, glorifying the creativity that goes into rock and roll.
Top 10 Tenacious D Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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