The Rutles

Reality Check! Everything on The Rutles Tragical History Tour website (except this page and the interview pages below) is ficticious!
However, information about the recent Rutles album Archaeology is real, although it is presented here keeping within the "Rutles mythology".

For a lot of great information about the Rutles, here's another wonderful web page which chronicles The History of the Rutles.

The TV Show

The Rutles was a made-for TV movie called All You Need Is Cash, which aired originally in the US on the NBC televison network on March 22, 1978. This spoof documentary about a legendary band of the 60's was created by two veterans of comedy and music - Eric Idle and Neil Innes.

Eric Idle was one of the founding members of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Neil Innes was one of the founding members of cult comedy-rock group The Bonzo Dog Band, which was picked by The Beatles to appear in their 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour. Neil Innes went on to become the "seventh Python", providing and performing comedic music for the troupe, and appearing with them live on stage.

Together they created the mythical Rutles as device to parody the Beatles story. Neil Innes wrote, recorded and produced all the music, and Eric Idle wrote and co-directed the spoof documentary film which lampooned the Beatles legend.

Eric Idle and Neil Innes also acted in the show. Neil played Ron Nasty (the John Lennon character) and Eric played Dirk McQuickly (the Paul McCartney role).

George Harrison in All You Need Is Cash
Two musician friends were recruited to play the other two Rutles. Rikki Fataar (a top session musician who played with the Beach Boys in the 70's) played Stig O'Hara (the George Harrison character) and British drummer John Halsey became Barry Wom, the Rutles version of Ringo Starr.

Among cameo appearances by stars such as Mick and Bianca Jagger, and Ron Wood, real-ex-beatle George Harrison did a guest shot in the movie as an interviewer.

Here's more information about All You Need Is Cash:

All You Need Is Cash, which was produced by Lorne Michaels, known for producing Saturday Night Live on NBC, was originally released on video cassette by Broadway Video. It was re-released on VHS by Rhino Home Video.

On March 13, 2001, All You Need Is Cash was released by Rhino on DVD. Several small but noticeable differences can be seen in this new version of the movie. Here's a list of all of the differences, compared to the first VHS release and the original NBC TV show:

The film also has appeared occasionally in a slightly edited form on the Comedy Central cable TV network in the US.

The Music

All of The Rutles music seen in the film and heard on the soundtrack album was sung and played by the three musicians - Neil Innes, Rikki Fataar and John Halsey, with the addition of Ollie Halsall, who also played guitar and did most of the "Paul" type vocals. Ollie can be seen in the film briefly as "Leppo". Eric Idle did not sing or play on the album, and just lip-synced Ollie Halsall's tracks in the film.

Cover of the original Rutles LP

14 of the 20 songs from the show were originally released on album by Warner Bros (#HS 3151) in March 1978. This album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Recording.

All of the original Rutles music is now available on CD from Rhino Records, RHINO R2 75760, which was released on July 7th, 1990. The CD has six bonus tracks that the Warner Brothers LP didn't have.

The CD of the original music, The Rutles, the new Archaeolgy CD, and the VHS video and DVD of All You Need Is Cash should all be locally available.

The Rutles 1996

In October 1996, all of the original Rutles minus Eric Idle, who didn't play at all on the original Rutles tracks, got together for a new album called Archaeology, the title a play on the then upcoming Anthology Beatles albums. Unfortunately, the other Rutle, Ollie Halsall, passed away before this album could be made, but does appear on three of the Archaeology tracks by way of demos or instrumental tracks made for the orignal project.

Rikki Fataar, Neil Innes, Me and John Halsey

I got to meet and spend some time with the boys (that's me in the picture between Nasty and Barry) the day they made the video in Beverly Hills for the single from Archaeology called Shangri-La, when I interviewed Neil about the Archaeology album for Good Day Sunshine Magazine.

You can read the Neil Innes: 1996 interview here.

Neil personally hand corrected a print-out of the All You Need Is Cash lyrics for me on that day. I've also met and spent some time the previous year with Eric Idle while he was promoting the start-up of Pythonline. They've all seen these pages.

Some of the material on these pages is Copyright (c) 1990, Warner Bros. Records. Portions of this information page courtesy of Martin Lewis. Some information on the News pages courtesy of Virgin Records.

This page last updated August 28, 2001.

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