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!