The Rutles

From Academic Kids

The Rutles (aka The pre-fab four) are a parody of the Beatles, created by Eric Idle with songs composed by Neil Innes. They are most well known for Idle's mockumentary film about them, titled All You Need is Cash (often referred to just as The Rutles).

Contents

The band

The Rutles members in All You Need Is Cash were:

The Rutles members on Rutland Weekend Television and Saturday Night Live were

  • Ron Nasty -- played by Neil Innes
  • Dirk McQuickly -- played by Eric Idle
  • Stig O'Hara -- played by David Battley
  • Kevin -- Pete Best - played by John Halsey

There is some confusion over the names and actors; Kevin was supposedly the name of the drummer, yet the SNL version calls him Barry. Also, Eric Idle was labeled as Dirk in the SNL version, while his memoirs identify him as playing Stig.

On the Archaeology album, Neil, Barry, and Rikki used their real names. The late Ollie Halsall also appeared, as some songs were outtakes from the 1978 sessions.

Their history (actual)

The Rutles began life in 1975 as a sketch on Eric Idle's BBC television series Rutland Weekend Television. The initial sketch presented musician Neil Innes (ex-Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) fronting The Rutles singing "I Must Be In Love", a masterly pastiche of some of the early Lennon-McCartney tunes.

What made the Rutles particularly fascinating for music fans were the numerous connections between the Beatles, the Bonzos and the Monty Python team. The Beatles were great fans of the Bonzos -- they featured them in their 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour and Paul McCartney had produced their 1968 hit single I'm The Urban Spaceman. Innes and members of the Python team had worked together in the late 1960s on the cult TV comedy show Do Not Adjust Your Set. Beatles guitarist George Harrison was a dedicated Python fan -- as well as being involved in The Rutles film (see below), his company Handmade Films later took over production of the Pythons' film Life Of Brian after the original backers pulled out, fearing that its subject matter was too controversial.

In the merchandising produced for the TV series references were made to a Rutles album (Finchley Road) and a single ("Ticket To Rut"). In 1976 BBC Records produced The Rutland Weekend Songbook, an album containing 23 tracks including two Rutles songs "I Must Be In Love" and "The Children of Rock and Roll" (later reworked as "Good Times Roll").

Two years later when Eric Idle was asked to appear on the American NBC show Saturday Night (later to become Saturday Night Live), he took Neil Innes with him and incorporated some of the Rutles material into one or two sketches. The material proved to be extremely popular and a suggestion that he produce a lengthier programme led to the 1978 mockumentary All You Need Is Cash. The film purports to be a documentary on the rise and fall of the band paralleling much of the history of the Beatles. It was one of the first films of its kind and was undoubtedly a major inspiration for the hugely successful Rob Reiner mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap.

The film is notable for its many cameo appearances by famous stars, particularly George Harrison, who plays a TV journalist who conducts an interview outside the Rutle Corps HQ, oblivious of the stream of people coming out of the building carrying away items stolen from the office (a comic reference to the Beatles' ill-fated Apple Boutique and the famously disorganised Apple Corps offices). The film also features Idle's fellow Python Michael Palin, American comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd (Saturday Night Live, The Blues Brothers), Bianca Jagger as one of the Rutles girlfriends, Ron Wood as a Hell's Angel, and Mick Jagger and Paul Simon as themselves. The film is notable for bringing together British and American comic talent in a way that has seldom happened before or since. A 66-minute version (edited for TV) was released on video and DVD but it has since been superseded by the restored 72-minute version.

Their history (fictional)

Ron Nasty first met Dirk McQuickly in January 1959, at the now-historical address of 43, Egg Lane, Liverpool. Having joined up with Stig O'Hara, they started playing as a trio. After 18 months, they discovered Barry Wom hiding in their van, and the classic line-up was complete.

In 1960, at the suggestion of then-manager Arthur Scouse, the group went to Hamburg where, with fifth member Leppo, they played all the clubs on the Reeperbahn. Tragically Leppo was lost in transit on the return trip.

In October 1961, fate intervened in the shape and other attributes of one-legged retail chemist Leggy Mountbatten, who, falling into "Der Rat Keller" one night, decided he liked the cut of the boys' jib (and other attributes). He became their manager, cleaned up their image, and touted them around the major record companies. Eventually they signed to Parlourphone, and their debut album, recorded in 20 minutes, became an enormous success. By December 1963, they were the biggest thing ever to hit the music business, with nineteen out of the top twenty singles in the UK.

1964 saw Rutlemania go worldwide and then some. The group swiftly conquered the U.S., while Nasty's book of comic prose, Out of me Head, dominated the best-seller lists. In July of that year, the group's first film, A Hard Day's Rut, was released. This was followed in 1965 by Ouch!. By this time, Rutlemania had reached such a fever pitch that crowd control was a serious problem. In August 1965, the prefab four played a sell-out concert at New York's Ch Stadium ("named after Cuban guerrilla leader Ch Stadium" rather than Ch Guevara, as well as playing on the Beatles' famous concert at New York City's Shea Stadium), arriving a day early in order to get away before the audience arrived.

In 1966, controversy hit the Rutles when Ron Nasty was quoted as saying that the group were "bigger than God". Nasty, however, insisted that he had been misquoted, and had actually said they were bigger than Rod, referring to Rod Stewart, then a relative unknown. The band bounced back with their 1967 masterpiece Sergeant Rutter's Only Darts Club Band, though this too was misted over in controversy when the group claim they wrote it under the influence of tea, which they had been introduced to by Bob Dylan. When Nasty was arrested for possession of tea, there was a national outcry and a leader in The Times called for tea to be legalised. More bad news followed for the group - while staying with the mystic Arthur Sultan at his retreat in Bognor Regis, the band heard that Mountbatten had left them, emigrating to Australia. Some critics argue that the band lost their direction at this point. Their self-indulgent TV movie about four Oxford professors on a tour of English tea-shops, The Tragical History Tour, was regarded as a failure, despite the success of the soundtrack, which included the classic songs "W.C. Fields Forever" and "I Am The Waitress".

In April 1968, the group launched their new record company, Rutle Corps. Despite signing up some promising talent (notably Arthur Hodgeson and the Kneecaps), poor financial management finally led to the label's ultimate failure. It was in this atmosphere that the group's last album, Let it Rut, was recorded. Soon afterwards, the band fell apart amid much legal wrangling, with McQuickly suing Nasty and O'Hara, Wom suing McQuickly, Nasty suing O'Hara and Wom, and in all the confusion, O'Hara accidentally suing himself. Wom had some success with his solo LP, When You Find the Girl of Your Dreams in the Arms of some Scotsman from Hull, but like the other members, soon drifted into obscurity, punctuated only by the making of a 1978 retrospective documentary, All You Need Is Cash.

Rutles albums (real)

A soundtrack album entitled The Rutles containing a number of tongue-in-cheek pastiches of Beatles' songs was also released. The cover art of the album suggested the existence of a number of other Rutles albums including Tragical History Tour and Let it Rot. The album contains some obvious send-ups of Beatles numbers such as "Ouch!" ("Help!"), "Doubleback Alley" ("Penny Lane") and "Get Up and Go" ("Get Back"). However, its real tribute is in its subtly layered blending of elements from many classic Lennon-McCartney tunes. Multiple listenings are required to discern all the sources referenced in titles, lyrics, melodies, and song structures; the former two mainly the province of Innes, the latter two mainly of Halsall. The uncanny replication of the Beatles "sound" was also due in large part to Halsall. Were it not for the inherently ironic lyrics, it might be difficult to distinguish the songs from true Beatles numbers (indeed, the 1978 Beatles bootleg Indian Rope Trick included the Rutles' Cheese and Onions, incorrectly attributing it to John Lennon). The original LP album omitted several songs which were restored on the 1990 CD reissue.

The Rutles (1978)

  1. Goose-Step Mama (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:18 (not on LP)
  2. Number One (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:52
  3. Baby Let Me Be (Nasty/McQuickly) - 1:57 (not on LP)
  4. Hold My Hand (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:11 (shorter than on LP)
  5. Blue Suede Schubert (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:13 (not on LP)
  6. I Must Be in Love (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:06
  7. With a Girl Like You (Nasty/McQuickly) - 1:53
  8. Between Us (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:03 (not on LP)
  9. Living in Hope (Womble) - 2:39
  10. Ouch! (Nasty/McQuickly) - 1:52
  11. It's Looking Good (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:02 (not on LP)
  12. Doubleback Alley (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:57
  13. Good Times Roll (Nasty/McQuickly) - 3:05
  14. Nevertheless (O'Hara) - 1:29
  15. Love Life (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:52
  16. Piggy in the Middle (Nasty/McQuickly) - 4:11
  17. Another Day (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:13
  18. Cheese and Onions (Nasty/McQuickly) - 2:42
  19. Get Up and Go (Nasty/McQuickly) - 3:19 (not on LP)
  20. Let's Be Natural (Nasty/McQuickly) - 3:22

The band reunited (without Eric Idle) in the mid-1990s for a few one-off gigs and in 1996, a second album, The Rutles Archaeology, a send-up of the Beatles' six-disc Anthology was released. Most of the tracks on this album spoof the Sgt. Pepper period of the Beatles. (In fact many were not specifically written as Rutles songs, but were adapted to fit.)

The Rutles Archaeology (1996)

  1. Major Happy's Up and Coming Once Upon a... (Innes)
  2. Rendezvous (Innes)
  3. Questionnaire (Innes)
  4. We've Arrived! (And to Prove It We're Here) (Innes)
  5. Lonely-Phobia (Innes)
  6. Unfinished Words (Innes)
  7. Hey Mister! (Innes)
  8. Easy Listening (Innes)
  9. Now She's Left You (Innes)
  10. The Knicker Elastic King (Innes)
  11. I Love You (Innes)
  12. Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik (Innes)
  13. Joe Public (Innes)
  14. Shangri-La (Innes)
  15. Don't Know Why (Innes)
  16. Back in '64 (Innes/McCartney/Lennon)

The Japanese release of Archaeology includes 4 bonus tracks: "Lullaby", "Baby S'il Vous Plait", "It's Looking Good" (rehearsal), and "My Little Ukelele".

Bootlegs

Bootlegs include "Hard Days Rut", "Rehearsal", "Sweet Rutle Tracks", "Rutles To Let", "Sgt Rutters Only Darts Club Band", and "Rutland's Rare Rutles Revisited." More information on these can be found at bootlegzone.com.

Other Rutles albums (fictitious)

Meet The Rutles

 (Parlourphone, 1963 - released in the UK as Please Rut Me)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Please Rut Me
 Rut Me Do
 Hold My Hand
 Blue Suede Schubert
 Twist And Rut

With The Rutles

 (Parlourphone, 1963)

A Hard Day's Rut

 (movie soundtrack - Parlourphone, 1964)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 A Hard Day's Rut
 I Must Be In Love
 With A Girl Like You
 Between Us
 Can't Buy Me Lunch

Rutles For Sale

 (Parlourphone, 1964)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Living In Hope

This Is...The Savage Young Rutles

 (Savage, 1964)

Ouch!

 (movie soundtrack - Aristophone/IOU, 1965)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Ouch!
 Ticket To Rut

Rutle Soul

 (Parlourphone, 1965)
 (released in the US as Rubbery Mole: Capatol, 1966)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 It's Looking Good 

Revolter

 (Parlourphone, 1966)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Yellow Submarine Sandwich
 Got To Get You Into My Rut 

Yesterday, Tomorrow, And Lunchtimes

 (US only - Capatol, 1966)

Travolta

 (unreleased concept album, 1966)

The Triangular Album

 (Parlourphone, mid-sixties)

Sgt. Rutter's Only Darts Club Band

 (Parlourphone, 1967)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Sgt. Rutter's Only Darts Club Band
 With A Rutle Help From My Friends
 Good Times Roll
 Nevertheless
 If I Sixty-Nine
 Sgt. Rutter's Only Darts Club Band (reprise)

Tragical History Tour

 (movie soundtrack - Parlourphone, 1967)
 SIDE ONE
 Tragical History Tour
 The Fool On The Pill
 Lying
 Blue Gay Way
 Your Mother Should Go
 I Am The Waitress
 SIDE TWO
 Hello Get Lost
 W.C. Fields Forever
 Denny Lane
 Abie You're A Rich Man
 All You Need Is Lunch

Old Bag

 Ron Nasty's controversial 1968 album, released on Rutle.  
 Its shocking nude album cover was wrapped in an old bag (hence the name).
 David Bowie took the album's title as an insult to his wife.

The Rutles (aka The Shite Album)

 (double album - Rutle, 1968)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 While My Guitarist Gently Sleeps
 Happiness Is A Warm Gun
 Another Day

Yellow Submarine Sandwich

 (movie soundtrack - Rutle, 1969)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Yellow Submarine Sandwich
 Cheese And Onions
 All You Need Is Lunch

Get Up And Go

 A lost album, which became Let It Rot.  Prototypes of songs that were 
 later to appear on "Let It Rot" and "Shabby Road" were recorded, as well
 as "Lullaby" and a cover of an obscure Japanese folk song called "Don't 
 Worry Kyoko", among others.

Shabby Road

 (Rutle, 1969)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Let's Be Natural
 Here Comes My Son
 The Lunch You Make

Let It Rot

 (Rutle, 1970)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Let It Rot
 Get Up And Go

Ron Nasty / Polyvinyl Wicker Trio

 (by Ron Nasty - Rutle, 1970)

All Things Fall Down

 (by Stig O'Hara - Rutle, 1971)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 My Sweet Rut
 All Things Fall Down

Dark Side Of The Sun

 (by Dirk McQuickly & the Punk Floyd - Rutle, 1973)

Band On The Loo

 (by Dirk McQuickly - Rutle, 1973)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Band On The Loo

Goodnight Vietnam

 (by Barry Wom - Rutle, 1974)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Goodnight Vietnam
 Goodnight Vietnam (reprise)

Venus And Marbles

 (by Dirk McQuickly - Rutle, 1975)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 Venus And Marbles

White Dopes On Punk

 (by Dirk McQuickly & the Punk Floyd - Rutle, 1970s)

When You Find The Girl Of Your Dreams In The Arms Of Some Scotsmen From Hull

 (by Barry Wom - Rutle, 1970s)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 When You Find The Girl Of Your Dreams In The Arms Of Some 
  Scotsmen From Hull

Finchley Road

 (posthumous - NSU, 1976)
 SONGS INCLUDE:
 A Ticket To Rut

Additional information

The Rutles corps logo is a banana.

It should be noted that the Rutles came before the age of tribute bands.

Despite the bonus tracks, "The Rutles" CD has one song edited: "Hold My Hand", which opened the LP, originally had a sound-effects intro.

Nasty went on to form a post-Rutles band as well: the Plastic Ono Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (this is a parody of Innes' real band the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band). They have only been mentioned once: in a 1996 article about the "Archaeology" in Goldmine.

The 1978 rehearsals have been bootlegged, and feature several interesting oddities, including "Piggy In The Middle" with the lyrics that appear in the LP's liners, "Love Life" with a Python intro, and a never-released track called "Plenty Of Time" (a cover of a song by Grimms). "Now She's Left You," which appeared on 'Archaeology', appears here untrimmed.

In settlement of a lawsuit, Rutles' songs are now listed as being authored by Lennon and McCartney.

External links

nl:The Rutles ja:ラトルズ

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