The Rutles are a rock band known for their visual and aural pastiches and parodies of the Beatles. This originally fictional band, created by Eric Idle and Neil Innes for 1970s television programming, became an actual group – whilst remaining a parody of the Beatles – which toured and recorded, releasing many songs and albums that included two UK chart hits.
Originally created as a short sketch in Idle’s British television comedy series Rutland Weekend Television, the Rutles gained notice after being the focus of the mockumentary television film All You Need Is Cash (1978, aka The Rutles). Former Beatle George Harrison appeared in the film and assisted in its creation. Encouraged by the positive public reaction to the sketch, featuring Beatles’ music pastiches by Innes, the film was written by Idle, who co-directed it with Gary Weis. It had 20 songs written by Innes, which he performed with three musicians as the Rutles. A soundtrack album in 1978 was followed in 1996 by Archaeology, which spoofed the then recent Beatles Anthology series.
A second film, The Rutles 2: Can’t Buy Me Lunch – modelled on the 2000 TV special The Beatles Revolution – was made in 2002 and released in the US on DVD in 2003.
George Harrison was involved in the project from the beginning. Producer Gary Weis said, “We were sitting around in Eric’s kitchen one day, planning a sequence that really ripped into the mythology and George looked up and said, ‘We were the Beatles, you know!’ Then he shook his head and said, ‘Aw, never mind.’ I think he was the only one of the Beatles who really could see the irony of it all.”
Harrison said, “The Rutles sort of liberated me from the Beatles in a way. It was the only thing I saw of those Beatles television shows they made. It was actually the best, funniest and most scathing. But at the same time, it was done with the most love.”
Ringo Starr liked the happier scenes in the film, but felt the scenes that mimicked sadder times hit too close.
John Lennon loved the film and refused to return the videotape and soundtrack he was given for approval. He told Innes, however, that “Get Up and Go” was too close to the Beatles’ “Get Back” and to be careful not to be sued by ATV Music, owners of the Beatles catalogue’s copyright at the time. The song was consequently omitted from the 1978 vinyl LP soundtrack.
Paul McCartney, who had just released his own album, London Town, always answered, “No comment.” According to Innes: “He had a dinner at some awards thing at the same table as Eric one night and Eric said it was a little frosty.” Idle claimed McCartney changed his mind because his wife Linda thought it was funny.
The Rutles is a soundtrack album to the 1978 telemovie All You Need Is Cash. The album contains 14 of the tongue-in-cheek pastiches of Beatles songs that were featured in the film.
The primary creative force of the Rutles’ music was Neil Innes, the sole composer and arranger of the songs. Innes had been the “seventh” member of Monty Python, as well as one of the main artists behind the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band in the late 1960s, who had been featured in the real Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film performing “Death Cab for Cutie”.
Innes credits the three musicians he recruited to assist him on the project as having been important in helping him capture the feel of the Beatles. Guitarist/singer Ollie Halsall and drummer John Halsey had played together in the groups Timebox and Patto. Multi-instrumentalist Rikki Fataar had played with the Flames before joining the Beach Boys in the early 1970s.
Eric Idle, who devised the Rutles concept and co-wrote the film, did not play or sing on any of the recordings. He lip-synced “Dirk” vocals that were in fact sung by Halsall. Innes says that Idle, who had recently had an appendectomy, offered to help but was encouraged to recuperate. Having encouraged Idle and Innes to make a film that satirised the Beatles’ history, and lent them archival footage for inclusion in the film, George Harrison facilitated the album’s release by introducing them to the chairman of Warner Bros. Records, Mo Ostin. (by wikipedia)
Pop culture, comedic satire, and rock music have always made for strange bedfellows. With all due respect to the collective genius involved in the Spinal Tap saga, it is safe to say no other artists have been able to repeat or re-create the delicate balance exhibited in the Rutles’ multimedia parody. This venture included a made-for-television mockumentary titled All You Need Is Cash. On this 1990 CD release, the contents of the original 1978 soundtrack — which incidentally bore the same name as the show — are included, as are an additional half-dozen recordings made for the film, but ultimately became victims of the time limitations inherent in the vinyl medium. The Rutles began with Monty Python’s Flying Circus member Eric Idle. His initial flash on the concept was as a short-lived BBC series, titled Rutland Weekend Television. Joining Idle on a regular basis was former Bonzo Dog Band member Neil Innes — whose seemingly innate musical abilities would also adorn latter-era Monty Python performances. According to Idle, “His [Innes] contributions [to the program] were Beatley,” thus inspiring the concept of a full-blown Beatles spoof. After previewing a demo reel to Lorne Michaels — producer of Saturday Night Live — Idle was convinced to develop the idea for NBC TV. The Rutles are: Ron Nasty, who is played by Innes (guitar/keyboards/vocals) and is the John Lennon character; Barry Wom (aka Barrington Womble) is portrayed by John Halsey (percussion/vocals), who presents a dead-on caricature of the deadpan Ringo Starr; Stig O’ Hara is depicted by Rikki Fataar (guitar/bass/vocals/sitar/tabla), who flawlessly emulates George Harrison; and Idle — the only non-musician — who spoofs Paul McCartney as Dirk McQuickly. The soundtrack takes on a whole other existence as each and every composition is deeply and sincerely ingrained in the Beatles’ music. Because of the practically sacred nature Beatles music shares in almost every life it graces, Innes penned and produced spoofs that were so eerily similar in structure they could easily be mistaken for previously unearthed tracks from the real fab four.
There are obvious put-ons such as “Ouch!” and “Help!” or “Doubleback Alley” and “Penny Lane.” However, the real beauty inherent in many of these tunes comes via the subtle innuendos. These ultimately involve multiple listenings in order to locate the origins of a particular guitar riff, vocal inflection, or possible lyrical spoof. The best of these include “Hold My Hand,” which references “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” in title, and “All My Lovin” in song structure. “Piggy in the Middle” is a sly reworking of “I Am the Walrus,” and “It’s Looking Good” could be considered a variation of the Rubber Soul cut “I’m Looking Through You” right down to the repeated lyrics at the song’s coda. The band reunited (minus Idle) in the mid-’90s for a few one-off gigs, and in 1996 Archaeology — a send-up of the Beatles’ six-disc Anthology — was released to critical acclaim. Additionally, a various-artist album titled Rutles Highway Revisited — which featured an all-star cast including: Syd Straw, Tuli Kupferberg, Bongwater, Shonen Knife, and Galaxie 500 — recorded their favorite Rutles tunes and the disc was issued on the ever-eclectic Shimmy Disc label in 1990. (by Lindsay Planer)
Rikki Fataar (guitar, bass, sitar, tabla, vocals)
John Halsey (drums, percussion, vocals)
Ollie “Barry” Halsall (guitar, vocals, keyboards)
Neil “Basty” Innes (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Andy Brown (bass)
01. Hold My Hand 2.35
02. Number One 2.54
03. With A Girl Like You 1.53
04. I Must Be In Love 2.06
05. Ouch! 1.53
06. Living In Hope 2.39
07. Love Life 2.56
08. Nevertheless 1.31
09. Good Times Roll 3.07
10. Doubleback Alley 2.59
11. Cheese And Onions 2.43
12. Another Day 2.13
13. Piggy In The Middle 4.15
14. Let’s Be Natural 3.27
All songs written by Neil Innes
I got this collector´s item from Mr. Sleeve — and I had to say thanks again !
And here are the one and only Rutles in their movie “All You Need Is Cash”