David Edward Sutch (10 November 1940 – 16 June 1999), also known as 3rd Earl of Harrow, or Screaming Lord Sutch, was an English musician and serial parliamentary candidate. He was the founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and served as its leader from 1983 to 1999, during which time he stood in numerous parliamentary elections. He holds the record for losing more than 40 elections in which he stood from 1963 to 1997. As a singer he variously worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts and Nicky Hopkins.
Sutch was born at New End Hospital, Hampstead, London. In the 1960s, inspired by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, he changed his stage name to “Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow”, despite having no connection with the peerage. His legal name remained David Edward Sutch.
After his career as an early 1960s rock and roll attraction, it became customary for the UK press to refer to him as “Screaming Lord Sutch”, or simply “Lord Sutch”. Early works included recordings produced by audio pioneer Joe Meek.
During the 1960s Screaming Lord Sutch was known for his horror-themed stage show, dressing as Jack the Ripper, pre-dating the shock rock antics of Alice Cooper. Accompanied by his band, the Savages, he started by coming out of a black coffin (once being trapped inside of it, an incident parodied in the film Slade in Flame). Other props included knives and daggers, skulls and “bodies”. Sutch booked themed tours, such as ‘Sutch and the Roman Empire’, where Sutch and the band members would be dressed up as Roman soldiers.
Despite a self-confessed lack of vocal talent, he released horror-themed singles during the early to mid 1960s, the most popular “Jack the Ripper”, covered live and on record by garage rock bands including the White Stripes, the Gruesomes, the Black Lips and the Horrors, the latter for their debut album.
In 1963 Sutch and his manager, Reginald Calvert, took over Shivering Sands Army Fort, a Maunsell Fort off Southend, and in 1964 started Radio Sutch, intending to compete with other pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline. Broadcasts consisted of music and Mandy Rice-Davies reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Sutch tired of the station, and sold it to Calvert, after which it was renamed Radio City, and lasted until 1967. In 1966 Calvert was shot dead by Oliver Smedley over a financial dispute. Smedley was acquitted on grounds of self-defence. About this time Ritchie Blackmore left the band. Roger Warwick left to set up an R&B big band for Freddie Mack.
Sutch’s album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends was named in a 1998 BBC poll as the worst album of all time, a status it also held in Colin Larkin’s book The Top 1000 Albums of All Time, despite the fact that Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Jeff Beck, Noel Redding and Nicky Hopkins performed on it and helped write it. On the other hand, for fans of the musicians involved, their work is considered well-worth listening to the album, and especially for the recently formed New Yardbirds/Led Zeppelin, offers a first take of the rolling funk-blues riffs and grooves that would define the classic Led Zeppelin sound.
For his follow-up, Hands of Jack the Ripper, Sutch assembled British rock celebrities for a concert at the Carshalton Park Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival. The show was recorded (though only Sutch knew), and it was released to the surprise of the musicians. Musicians on the record included Ritchie Blackmore (guitar); Matthew Fisher (keyboard); Carlo Little (drums); Keith Moon (drums); Noel Redding (bass) and Nick Simper (bass).
In 2017 his song “Flashing Lights” was featured in Logan Lucky, directed by Steven Soderbergh.
In the 1960s Sutch stood in parliamentary elections, often as representative of the National Teenage Party. His first was in 1963, when he contested the by-election in Stratford-upon-Avon caused by the resignation of John Profumo. He gained 208 votes. His next was at the 1966 general election when he stood in Harold Wilson’s Huyton constituency. Here he received 585 votes.
He founded the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in 1983 and fought the Bermondsey by-election. In his career he contested over 40 elections. He was recognisable at election counts by his flamboyant clothes and top hat. In 1968 he officially added “lord” to his name by deed poll. In the mid 1980s, the deposit paid by candidates was raised from £150 to £500. This did little to deter Sutch, who increased the number of concerts he performed to pay for campaigns. He achieved his highest poll and vote share at Rotherham in 1994 with 1,114 votes and a 4.2 per cent vote share.
At the Bootle by-election in May 1990, he secured more votes than the candidate of the Continuing Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by former Foreign Secretary David Owen. Within days the SDP dissolved itself. In 1993, when the British National Party gained its first local councillor, Derek Beackon, Sutch pointed out that the Official Monster Raving Loony Party already had six. He holds the record for losing more than 40 elections in which he stood.
He appeared as himself in the first episode of ITV comedy The New Statesman, coming second ahead of the Labour and SDP, in the 1987 election which saw Alan B’Stard elected to Parliament.
Adverts in the 1990s for Heineken Pilsener boasted that “Only Heineken can do this”. One had Sutch at 10 Downing Street after becoming Prime Minister.
In 1999 Sutch starred in a Coco Pops advert as a returning officer announcing the results of its renaming competition.
Sutch was friends with, and at one time lived at the house of, Cynthia Payne.
Screaming Lord Sutch,Cynthia Payne & Jayne County.The Plough Kenton UK. 20/10/89:
He had a history of depression, and killed himself by hanging on 16 June 1999, at his mother’s house. At the inquest, his fiancée Yvonne Elwood said he had “manic depression”.
Sutch is buried beside his mother, who died on 30 April 1997, in the cemetery in Pinner, Middlesex. He was survived by a son, Tristan Lord Gwynne Sutch, born in 1975 to American model Thann Rendessy.
In 1991 his autobiography, Life as Sutch: The Official Autobiography of a Raving Loony (written with Peter Chippindale), was published. In 2005 Graham Sharpe, who had known him since the late 1960s, wrote the first biography, The Man Who Was Screaming Lord Sutch. (by wikipedia)
Taking a break from electioneering, his Screaming Lordship, or Dave to his friends, let loose on these early 80s recordings in his own genteel style. A who’s who of the UK rockin’ scene from the 60s back up Sutch on this ghoulish goulash of hair raising monster rockers, like ‘Screem, Screem’, ‘Murder In The Graveyard’, ‘Loonabilly’ and the inevitable ‘Jack The Ripper’. The leopardskin-clad Sutch recorded with the legendary cult producer of the 60s, Joe Meek and is the UK’s most eccentric rocker, king of bad taste and horror. He regrettably never realised his ambition to be prime minister with his Monster Raving Loony Party as he took his own life in 1999 – a great eccentric that will be gravely missed. (Promo text)
I’m not sure if this is the definitive Sutch CD, but it will certainly tell you what he was all about ! I gave it four stars because it really is a lot of fun to listen to–although I’m not sure if all the laughs are intentional !
First, the problem–sorry, but as a vocalist, Sutch was pretty bad–studio tricks and good musicians can’t hide the fact that this guy was no singer.
On the other hand, his energy and enthusiasm won me over. I bet if you had a party–and waited until everyone was “feeling no pain”–playing this disc at full volume would be a blast !
There are twelve tracks–the first six have a horror theme with “Jack the Ripper” and “Murder in the Graveyard” delivering the goods–the remaining songs are more conventional rockers, taken at a frantic pace. Warning–if you like deep, meaningful lyrics, forget about it ! This is not Bob Dylan !
Lord Sutch is no longer with us. Apparently, he was a great showman, and many big UK musicians got their start as one of his “Savages”. People who saw him in concert say that the world became a duller place when he left.
Dear Reader–I don’t know if you will like this CD, or hate it, but one thing for sure–like Sutch himself, it is not dull ! ! (by peterfromkanata)
Anji Antanori (guitar on 07., 10.)
Rod de’Ath (drums on 02., 03.
Bob Burgos (drums on 01., 04. – 06., 08., 09.,11., 12.)
Terry Clempson (guitar on 02., 03.
Tony Dangerfield (bass on 07., 10.)
Keith Evans (bass on 02., 03.)
Matthew Fisher (piano on 12.)
Tony Hall (saxophone on 02., 03., 07., 10.
Richard Hogan (piano on 08., 09., 11.
Brian Juniper (saxophone on 02., 03.
Darnell Kellerman (saxophone on 08., 09., 11.
Freddie “Fingers” Lee (piano on 01., 04.. 06.
Lou Martin (piano on 02., 03.
Rob Murly (bass on 01., 04., 05., 08., 09., 11., 12.)
Ray Neale (guitar on 01., 04. – 06., 08., 09., 11., 12.)
Sid Phillips (saxophone on 02., 03., 07.
Mac Poole (drums on 07., 10.)
Screaming Lord Sutch (vocals)
Ian Terry (leadguitar on 01., 04. – 06., 12.
Pete Thomas (saxophone on 01., 04. – 06.
01. Screem & Screem (Sutch) 1.54
02. All Black & Hairy (Sutch) 2.32
03. Jack The Ripper (Stacey/Simmonds/Haggin) 3.11
04. Monster Rock (Sutch) 2.24
05. Rock & Shock (Sutch) 2.01
06. Murder In The Graveyard (Surtch) 3.01
07. London Rocker (Sutch) 2.16
08. Penny Penny (Sutch) 3.04
09. Rockabilly Madman (Sutch) 3.32
10. Oh Well (Sutch) 1.55
11. Loonabilly (Burgos/Neal/Sutch) 1.51
12. Go-Berry-Go (Sutch) 2.32
David Edward Sutch (10 November 1940 – 16 June 1999)