On Rutlemania

Oh, if only I lived in New York City. I could, tonight, catch the final night of Rutlemania, a tribute concert to the Rutles.

The Rutles! The only band that Mick Jagger truly feared!

The Rutles! The band who played Che Stadium!

The Rutles! The band that expanded their minds… with tea!

The Rutles! Ron Nasty! Dirk McQuickly! Stig O’Hara! Barry Wom!

The brainchild of Neil Innes (of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) and Eric Idle (of Monty Python), the Rutles were that other band of lovable moptops from Liverpool. Their rise to the toppermost of the poppermost was covered in All You Need Is Cash.

And now, in honor of their 30th anniversary of invading America, a series of concerts recreating the mystique and magic of Rutlemania were staged. A Beatles tribute band, The Fab Four, stand in for the Rutles.

Today’s Washington Post had an article on Thursday night’s show in New York. The best line of the article? “How much leaping and shouting do you think Salman Rushdie does?” 🙂

The article gets one thing slightly wrong — or it may be more accurate to say that it leaves the wrong impression. The article implies that Paul McCartney had no idea who Neil Innes was when All You Need Is Cash was made and shown, but McCartney was the producer (credited as Apollo C. Vermouth) on the Bonzo Dog song, “I’m the Urban Spaceman,” which was written and sung by Innes. I note this, for the sake of historical accuracy.

I have the first Rutles album, but not the second. It’s fun to listen to. Neil Innes did a fantastic job writing Beatles pastiches. His Lennon songs are perfect. So perfect that “Cheese and Onions” has shown up on Lennon bootlegs. (“Cheese and Onions,” by the way, is the Rutles’ “A Day In The Life.”) His McCartney songs are perfect. And that he gets George Harrison is nothing short of amazing.

Harrison, of course, appears in All You Need Is Cash, as a reporter covering the Rutles.

The Rutles aren’t for everyone. If you think you can take a Monty Python-esque take on the Beatles, then check out All You Need Is Cash. It’s one of the rare instances where British and American comedic talent comes together and works.

And the music may send you out looking for the soundtrack CD. 🙂

It’s fab music, from the Prefab Four!

That tribute concert would be so fantastic to see. The Fab Four’s website offers five of the Rutles songs as they perform them, and it’s a bit strange to hear, actually. The Fab Four sound remarkably like the Beatles (seriously, pick up either of their Christmas CDs sometime), and to hear the Rutles’ songs sounding more Beatle-y than even Neil Innes could make them is amazing. I hope there’s a full CD of this released; it would be awesome, and I’d buy it instantly. 🙂

Rutlemania! It’s like 1978! All over again!

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

2 thoughts on “On Rutlemania

  1. If you enjoyed the Rutles first album, you should check out Archaeology (their second). As good as the first album was in its Beatles’ pastiches, this second album brings with it a more consistent, tighter focus, since it focuses more on the later Beatles career. Major Happy’s Up and Coming Once Upon a Good Time Band into Rendezvous (with ‘Barry’ singing, with a humorous callback vocal from the others, leading back into the middle 8) is cool… We’ve Arrived (And To Prove It We’re Here), is a cool ‘Back in the USSR’ pastiche (fading out with ‘number two, number two, number two’)… Back in ’64 (obviously based on ‘When I’m 64) has one of my favorite Rutles lines, ‘Back in ’64 before you were born / people had no time for pouring scorn (or scoring porn)’.

    Anyway… enough babbling… cool site… I’m a huge Beatles fan… and I always liked the Rutles, Neil Innes did a good job… with both albums…

  2. I keep meaning to pick up Archeology, and I’ve just never gotten around to it.

    The Fab Four ultimately released six tracks from Rutlemania, and I’ve enjoyed those a great deal. 🙂

    I’ve heard they’re going to do another set of Rutlemania performances. Maybe they’ll come down near the DC metro area. I can hope, anyway. 🙂

    (And I had to spring this comment from comment purgatory. I don’t know why it landed there. If it happens again, just shoot me an e-mail through the Contact button up top, and I’ll know to look for it.)

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