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The Rutles. (2009, January 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:46, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Rutles&oldid=262935630
The Rutles was a fictional band created by Eric Idle and Neil Innes as a pastiche of The Beatles. The group is known because of the 1978 mockumentary television film, All You Need Is Cash (often referred to as just The Rutles). The film was written by Idle, who directed it with Gary Weis. It featured 20 songs written by Innes, which he performed with three musicians. A soundtrack album in 1978 was followed in 1996 by Archaeology spoofing the 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.
The Rutles members in All You Need Is Cash were:
The Rutles members in the original skit on Rutland Weekend Television, which subsequently aired on Saturday Night Live, were:
On the original skit "Stig" is the Paul McCartney character and was portrayed by Batley, with Idle portraying the George Harrison character as "Dirk". The Ringo Starr character was originally named Barry. (Mistakenly identified on the "Rutland Weekend Songbook" album as "Kevin", the ONLY appearance of this name.) None of the characters is given a last name "" or in Nasty's case a first name "" in the original sketch.
In addition to two albums, Innes and Halsey toured as The Rutles in the UK "" augmented by other musicians. The touring group performs songs from the Rutles repertoire and from Innes's own career.
The touring version:
The Rutles began in 1975 as a sketch on Idle's BBC television series Rutland Weekend Television. The sketch presented Neil Innes (ex-Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) fronting The Rutles singing "I Must Be In Love", a pastiche of a 1964 Lennon-McCartney tune. The band name was a continuation of the premise of the TV show on which the skit originated.
The show was presented as a programme by a fictional TV network in Rutland, the smallest county in England. One running joke was that it was run on a shoestring. If the show parodied a topic, it would use names derivative of "Rutland". When Idle and Innes created a parody of the Beatles, Idle suggested "Rutles".
Innes was the musician/composer for the series and created songs with ideas on how they could be presented.
Innes came up with spoofing A Hard Day's Night. He had written "I Must Be In Love" which he realised sounded very "Beatley" and thought of the Rutles skit. He passed the idea to Idle, who had a separate idea about a boring TV documentary maker. They merged the ideas into one extended film shot for the TV show.
The Rutles had connections with The Beatles, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Monty Python. The Beatles were fans of the Bonzos: they featured them in the 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour and Paul McCartney (working with Gus Dudgeon under the alias Apollo C. Vermouth) had produced their 1968 hit single "I'm The Urban Spaceman". The Bonzos and members of the Python team worked together in the late 1960s on the TV comedy show Do Not Adjust Your Set. George Harrison was a Python fan as well as being involved in The Rutles film (see below), his company Handmade Films later took over production of Python film Life Of Brian after the original backers pulled out, fearing its subject was too controversial, as well as financing the two first solo films of ex-Python Terry Gilliam, Jabberwocky and Time Bandits.
In merchandising 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 the Rutles songs "I Must Be In Love" and "The Children Of Rock And Roll" (later reworked as "Good Times Roll").
Two years later, on October 2,1976 , when Idle appeared on the American NBC show Saturday Night (later Saturday Night Live), he took videotape extracts from Rutland Weekend Television "" including the Rutles clip. That led to a suggestion by SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels to extend the skit into a one-hour mock documentary. This proposal led to the 1978 mockumentary All You Need Is Cash, directed by SNL film director Gary Weis (responsible for the programme's short films), though Idle was credited as co-director.
On April 23, 1977, Idle made another appearance on Saturday Night Live, bringing along Neil Innes as a musical guest. A running theme for this episode is the "Save Great Britain Telethon," and at one point there is an appearance by "The Rutle who lives in New York, Nasty". Innes appeared as Nasty with a lone white piano, singing a short version of Cheese & Onions. Later in the episode, as Neil Innes, he performed a pre-Rutles version of Shangri-La.
All You Need Is Cash documented the rise and fall of The Rutles, parallelling much of the history of The Beatles.
Innes wrote and produced the music. He relied on his memory of Beatles music, without listening, to create soundalike songs. Innes assembled a band (himself, Halsey, Ollie Halsall, Andy Brown, and Rikki Fataar) and the group played in a London pub to gel. During Rutles performances and studio recordings, Innes took lead on the songs that resembled Lennon's; Halsall sang on most McCartney-esque tunes; Fataar sang the Harrison songs; and Halsey sang a Ringo Starr-type song. Idle mimed to Halsall's singing and Brown's bass playing in the completed film. Halsall appeared in the film as "Leppo", the fifth Rutle who in the earliest years "mainly stood in the back". Brown did not appear in the film.
All You Need Is Cash was one of the first of its kind, inspiration for the Rob Reiner comedy film This Is Spinal Tap in 1984.
All You Need Is Cash is a series of skits and gags that illustrate the Rutles story, following the chronology of The Beatles. The glue of the film is the soundtrack by Innes, who created 19 more songs for the film, each a pastiche of a Beatles song or genre. Fourteen songs were on a soundtrack album. The CD version added the six songs omitted from the original vinyl album. The album was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Comedy Recording of the year. The orchestrations and arrangements were by film composer John Altman.
All You Need Is Cash was not a success on American television and finished bottom of all programmes that week. The programme fared better on BBC television. .
A 66-minute version edited for TV was released on video and DVD but it been superseded by the restored 72-minute version.
George Harrison was in the project from the beginning. Producer Gary Weis remembers:
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.
George Harrison: "...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."
Harrison showed Innes and Idle the Beatles unreleased official documentary: The Long and Winding Road, made by Neil Aspinall (Aspinall's documentary would be resurrected as The Beatles Anthology).
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 so much that he 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 Paul McCartney.
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.
All the group and Apple consented to use of the Beatles' Shea Stadium concert footage, along with other "real" footage cut in with Rutle footage.
Idle and Fataar issued one single as 'Dirk and Stig' in 1979 (Idle's only appearance on a Rutles-related disc), but throughout the 1980s The Rutles did not exist.
Innes, with session musicians, performed as "Ron Nasty and The New Rutles" at a convention honouring the 25th anniversary of Monty Python in 1994. This led to a Rutles reunion album in 1996, featuring Innes, Fataar and Halsey. Halsall died in 1992, but the reunion album, entitled Archaeology (a play on the Beatles' Anthology series), featured several tracks recorded in 1978 that included his contributions.
In 2002, Idle made The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch, but it remained unreleased for a year. The film features an even bigger number of celebrity interviewees discussing the band's influence. This was met with mixed reactions from fans, especially since it used material culled from the original. The DVD has yet to be released in the UK.
McQuickly and Nasty had cameos in the 2004 graphic novel, Superman: True Brit, co-written by John Cleese. In the graphic novel, the Rutles are saved by Superman after their car nearly plummets from the top of a car park.
In 2007, a reissue of Archaeology included a new Rutles track, the Spamalot parody "Rut-a-lot".
On March 17, 2008, all four Rutles reunited for the first time at a 30th anniversary screening of All You Need Is Cash at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The event included a Q&A session and performance by members of the tribute show "Rutlemania."
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 (a guitarist of no fixed hairstyle), they started playing as a trio. After 18 months, they discovered drummer Barrington Womble (whom they persuaded to change his name to Barry Wom to save time, and his hairstyle to save Brylcreem) 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. It was there that Leppo crawled inside a trunk with a small German frÃ¤ulein and was never heard from again. Luckily, he couldn't play anyway.
In October 1961, fate intervened in the shape and other attributes of one-legged retail chemist from Bolton, Leggy Mountbatten (a parody of Brian Epstein), who, after falling into "The Cavern" one night, decided he hated the boys' music but liked the cut of their jib (and especially, the cut of their tight trousers). 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 (their second took even longer), became an enormous success. By December 1963, they were the biggest thing ever to hit the music business, with 19 out of the top 20 singles in the UK.
In 1964, Rutlemania went worldwide, and then some. The group swiftly conquered the U.S. thanks to the promotion of Bill Murray the K, 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 ChÃ© Stadium (a pun on Cuban guerrilla leader ChÃ© Guevara and the New York Mets' Shea Stadium), arriving a day early in order to get away before the audience arrived.
In 1966, controversy hit the Rutles when Nasty was quoted as saying that the group were 'bigger than God'. Nasty, however, insisted that he had been misquoted by a slightly deaf journalist, 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 Sgt. Rutter's Only Darts Club Band, though this too was misted over in controversy when the group claimed they wrote it under the influence of tea, which they had been introduced to by Bob Dylan. When Nasty was arrested for possession of it, there was a national outcry and a full-page advertisement in The Times calling for it to be legalised. (All five members of The Rolling Stones had been arrested already, and an MP had been caught nude with a teapot).
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 tragically emigrated to Australia, where he had accepted a teaching post. Some critics argue that the band lost their direction at this point. Tragical History Tour, their self-indulgent TV movie about four Oxford history professors on a tour around Rutland tea-shops, 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 Hodgson and the Kneecaps. and the 'French Beach Boys', Les GarÃ§ons de la Plage), poor financial management (mainly on the part of Stig O'Hara's financial planner, Ron Decline) finally led to the label's ultimate failure. Around this time, a 'Stig is Dead' rumour, prompted by both many obscure clues within the band's songs and album covers (including a track which, when played backwards, reportedly said 'Stig has been dead for ages, honestly') and the fact that Stig hadn't spoken publicly in five years began to circulate, prompting Barry to stay in bed for a year (either as a tax dodge or as an attempt to start his own 'Barry is Also Dead' rumour).
It was in this atmosphere that the group's final release, Let It Rot, 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 Scotsmen 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. McQuickly formed the punk rock group Punk Floyd with his French wife, Martini (he sings; she doesn't); Nasty turned his back on the world; Wom became two hairdressers, as per a joke once made to the press; and O'Hara is working for Air India as an air hostess.
It is rumored that The Rutles acquired all their music from others. Many people said that they stole it from New Orleans blues legend Blind Lemon Pye, but he said that the Rutles music came from his next-door neighbour Ruttling Orange Peel. Ruttling claimed that he did write the music, but his wife claims that he is always lying. She said that he also claimed to have started the Everly Brothers, Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Welk. There is a smalltime group named The Beatles who patterned their career after the legendary Rutles.
"The Rutland Weekend Songbook" / Eric Idle & Neil Innes
B.B.C. Records (U.K.) / Passport Records (U.S.)
Saturday: (Side 1 )
1. "L'Amour Perdu"
3. Wash With Mother ( "Front Loader" )
4. "Say Sorry Again"
5. The Rutles in "Rutles For Sale". ("I Must Be In Love")
6. 24 Hours In Tunbridge Wells ( "Tunbridge Wells Medley" )
7. The Fabulous Bingo Brothers ( "Once We Had A Donkey" )
8. In Concrete ( "Concrete Jungle Boy")
9. "The Children of Rock-N-Roll"
10. Startime ("Stoop Solo" )
11. "Song O'The Insurance Salesmen" )
Sunday: (Side 2)
2. "I Give Myself To You"
3. "Communist Cooking"
4. Johnny Cash Live At Mrs.Fletchers ( "Stuck In Mrs.Fletchers" )
5. The Old Gay Whistle Test ("Protest Song")
6. "Accountancy Shanty"
9. Goodafternoon ("L'Amour Perdu Cha-Cha-Cha")
10. Disco ("Hard To Get")
11. Closedown ("The Song O'The Continuity Announcers"))
(This version has slightly different lyrics to the 1978 version.)
(Only appearance of "Kevin" in the Rutles canon!)
on guitars, Brian Hodgson on bass ,Neil Innes on piano , and John Halsey on drums.
(This group was also known as "Fatso".)
nucleus of what will later become The Rutles song "Good Times Roll".
"Protest Song" (Uncensored) & "I Must Be In Love" (Minus screaming fans.)
A soundtrack album entitled The Rutles containing 14 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!"), "Love Life" ("All You Need is Love"), "Piggy in the Middle" ("I Am the Walrus"), "Doubleback Alley" ("Penny Lane") and "Get Up And Go" (CD reissue only "" "Get Back"). However, its real tribute is in its subtly layered blending of elements from many classic Lennon-McCartney tunes.
"I Must Be In Love" + "Cheese And Onions " / "A Girl Like You"
WEA Records / U.K. only release / 1978 / K17125
Side 1: "I Must Be In Love"
Side 2: "Cheese And Onions" / "A Girl Like You"
"Let's Be Natural" c/w "Piggy In the Middle"
WEA Records / U.K. only release / 1978 / K17180
Side 1: "Let's Be Natural"
Side 2: "Piggy In the Middle"
"I Must Be In Love" c/w "Doubleback Alley"
WEA Records / Japan only release / 1978 / P-200-W
Side 1: "I Must Be In Love"
Side 2: "Doubleback Alley"
Promotional Warner Bros. faux-Beatles Rutles five-song 33 1/3 RPM 12-inch (PRO-E-723) complete with recreated Lads-in-Nehru-suits portrait in the same fashion and pose as the real Beatles' portrait released on the sleeve of the Capitol 45 rpm release "I Want to Hold Your Hand" b/w "I Saw Her Standing There" (Capitol 5112). The unnamed Rutle Corps Records label (peeled banana in the center) boasted five tracks and was pressed in translucent yellow vinyl:
Three of the four musicians who had created the soundtrack for the 1978 film "" Innes, Halsey and Fataar "" reunited in 1996 and recorded a second album, Archaeology, a send-up of The Beatles Anthology albums. The fourth 'real' Rutle, Ollie Halsall, died in Spain in 1992. Eric Idle was invited to participate, but declined.
Like the Anthology project that it lampooned, it featured tracks ostensibly from all periods of the Rutles career, sequenced to reflect the fictional band's chronology. (Several of the songs were actually old Innes standards that were dusted off and given the 'Rutles' treatment.) The reunion was blessed by George Harrison who encouraged The Pre-Fab Four to proceed. (When approached, he told Innes, 'Sure. It's all part of the "soup"...', an encounter that Innes related in interviews in 1996.)
"Eric Idle Sings Monty Python" (Live) / Eric Idle
Restless Records / C.D. only release / 01877-73730-2
A 20-track album of Rutles covers released by Shimmy Disc Europe (SDE 9028/CD), liner notes include interview with Ron Nasty. (Written by Neil Innes.)
Bootlegs include Hard Days Rut, Rehearsal, Sweet Rutle Tracks, Rutles To Let, Sgt. Rutters Only Darts Club Band, and Rutland's Rare Rutles Revisited. Much of the material on these releases comes from 1978 rehearsal tapes, or from the Rutland Weekend Television soundtrack LP.
It has been reported that, in settlement of a lawsuit, some Rutles songs were now being listed as being co-authored by Lennon and McCartney. As of early 2006, these six songs from the first Rutles CD (which were not on the original LP release) are credited solely to Neil Innes: "Baby Let Me Be", "Between Us", "Blue Suede Schubert", "Get Up And Go", "Goose Step Mama", "It's Looking Good". The other 14 songs from the CD (that is, all of the songs from the original LP release) have all had John Lennon and Paul McCartney added to the songwriting credits along with Neil Innes. However, the booklet accompanying a 2007 reissue of the album on Rhino/Warner Brothers credits all 20 songs solely to Innes.
The Rutles. (2009, January 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:46, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Rutles&oldid=262935630
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