The top 20 best Tenacious D songs ever

Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass and Jack Black onstage
(Image credit: Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo)

The latest issue of Metal Hammer

(Image credit: Future)

The brand new issue of Metal Hammer is no ordinary magazine. We’ve stepped aside to let Jack Black and Kyle Gass guest edit the issue - a full-on Tenacious D takeover!

And they’ve gone to town, rocking up to Ozzy Osbourne’s LA home to interview the great man himself, persuading Rob Halford and Amy Lee to sit down for interviews and running through their own personal rock’n’roll Hall Of Fame. Believe us, it’s epic stuff!

But then Jack and Kyle were always rock stars trapped in comedians’ bodies. Even before they came to worldwide prominence via their 2002 video for Tribute and an ongoing bromance with Dave Grohl (who also played the demon in said vid), Jack Black and Kyle Gass were busy writing songs and recording the Tenacious D TV show alongside their work in experimental theatre group The Actors’ Gang.

More than two decades on, they’ve played Download Festival, headlined Wembley Arena and Madison Square Garden and released their a self-mythologising movie featuring appearances by Ronnie James Dio, Meat Loaf and (naturally) Dave Grohl. Comedy has remained the cornerstone of their appeal but if you don’t think the duo possess some genuine musical talent, or that their entire routine is based on a genuine love and understanding of rock and heavy metal, you haven’t been paying attention.

Here, then, are the finest moments from the self-professed Greatest Band on Earth…

Metal Hammer line break

20. History (The Pick of Destiny, 2006)

If there’s one thing Jack Black (aka Jables) and Kyle Gass (aka Kage) like to sing about, it’s themselves. Like Sabaton’s obsession with war or Ice Nine Kills’ horror preoccupation, Tenacious D’s probing tongue always comes back to… the story of Tenacious D. And here it is dislodging a preposterous list of achievements over the hardest of acoustic riffs.

19. Classico (The Pick of Destiny, 2006)

Rocking up Messrs Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, this features a bunch of motifs you’ll be familiar with if you ever listened to a Now That’s What I Call Classical album – or indeed attended any European football game. It’s also the song that cements Jack and Kyle’s meeting in The Pick Of Destiny movie.

18. Rock Is Dead (Rize of the Fenix, 2012)

Wanting something to feel sad about for their defining blues song on Rize of the Phenix, the duo could only think of the apparent demise of rock music. “And I think you will agree that [Rock Is Dead] will go down in history as perhaps the greatest blues song since Robert Johnson plucked his fucking six-string down at Devil’s Lane, The Crossroads,” Jack told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. All good then.

17. Rock Your Socks (Tenacious D, 2001)

Before Classico brought Bach back, Rock Your Socks had already borrowed the composer’s loot-hero favourite Bourrée in E minor and embedded it somewhere between the 6-6-6 count-in and the scatological reference to a Cleveland Steamer. Look it up - if you must.

16. Hope (Post-Apocalypto, 2018)

The songs accompanying the animated YouTube series Tenacious D in Post-Apocalypto might have been patchier than all the battle jackets at Bloodstock, but there were still some partially hidden gems. Cue this upbeat and resilient little charmer about dogs, love and hope in the wake of a nuclear holocaust.

15. Rize of the Fenix (Rize of the Fenix, 2012)

‘When the pick of destiny was released it was a bomb/ And all the critics said that the D was done’. Get your own hatchet job in first and you’ll win every argument. Especially when you back it up with some of your best metallic riffing and anthemry.

14. The Last In Line (Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life, 2014)

Okay so this isn’t a Tenacious D song per se but given their genuine love for Ronnie James Dio and the influence he had on the band, we have to include this charity cover. They play it relatively straight (albeit with a sick recorder solo) and won a Grammy for their efforts – beating Anthrax who were nominated for their own cover of Black Sabbath’s Neon Knights from the same tribute album.

13. Making Love (Post-Apocalypto, 2018)

An entry (oo-er!) in the subcategory of Tenacious D songs that masquerade as tender ballads while actually being sordid piles of filth. It comes on like Fuck Her Gently’s more sophisticated older cousin but you might need to scrub your mind’s eye after hearing the exhortations involving Kyle.

12. Dude (I Totally Miss You) (The Pick of Destiny, 2006)

Another favoured Tenacious D theme is that of ‘Kyle left the band’. This works as a set-piece for the film but is also a surprisingly tender and seemingly heartfelt piece that goes straight for the feels. Fans have talked of playing it at memorials for loved ones and, well, it’s at least more appropriate than Daddy Ding Dong.

11. Don’t Blow It, Kage (Single, 2019)

Jack Black and The White Stripes’ Jack White finally came together for this standalone single and the result was far from grey. To be fair, the White Stripes frontman was only involved in the production side (with the single coming out on his Third Man Records label) and a cameo voiceover but Black and Gass do a reasonable job of showing him what a power duo should sound like.

Paul Travers has spent the best part of three decades writing about punk rock, heavy metal, and every associated sub-genre for the UK's biggest rock magazines, including Kerrang! and Metal Hammer