One of my current favorite TV shows is Fringe and the main arc in that series concerns an alternate universe that exists parallel to ours. That other universe is sort of like ours, but has some slight variations. The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash is like watching a documentary from an alternate universe. The characters seem familiar, the songs sound almost like what I'm used to hearing and the history of the group sounds mighty familiar. The only thing that keeps me from being completely convinced that this isn't from another universe is a few spots of broad humor that play out through the movie. These spots sort of give off a Monty Pythonesque: wink, wink, nudge, nudge, which is understandable considering Eric Idle conceived, wrote, co-directed, and stars as Dirk McQuickly (Paul McCartney) The Rutles.
The other three Rutles are Stig O'Hara (George Harrison) played by Rikki Fataar (The Beach Boys drummer), Barry Wom, shortened from Barrington Womble (Ringo Star nee Richard Starkey) played by John Halsey, and best of all Ron Nasty (John Lennon) played by Neil Innes of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Neil not only made a great John Lennon, but also composed the songs for the movie, which are as enjoyable as the original Beatles' songs.
In The Rutles, we have songs such as: "Get Up And Go," "OUCH!", "Hold My Hand", "Piggy in the Middle", "Doubleback Alley" and more. The amazing thing that Neil Innes did is that he didn't just copy the original songs and exchange the lyrics for something silly, but instead he wrote new songs with lyrics that simply remind you of the original songs when you hear them. The songs in The Rutles are so good that listening to the soundtrack is like listening to a "lost" Beatles album.
Anyone that is a fan of The Beatles should enjoy The Rutles. John Lennon and Yoko Ono let it be known that they got a kick out of The Rutles even though the movie really skewers them with Nasty and Chasity's meeting at The Pretentious Gallery, plus their Shower-In For Peace. George Harrison even makes an appearance in The Rutles as an interviewer. With his short gray hair and mustache, I'm sure he could walk the streets without being noticed. An interesting fact from the commentary track is that during the filming of The Rutles, George "the interviewer" was pushed aside, so some fans could ask The Rutles if they were Beatles! I have read that Sir Paul didn't find the movie all that amusing, but that could just be hearsay.
Mick Jagger and Paul Simon are featured in The Rutles, lending even more credence to the fact that you're watching a real documentary. Mick talks about The Rolling Stones rivalry with The Rutles among other things and Paul Simon talks about being on the record charts with The Rutles.
The Rutles have their own web site: The Rutles Tragical History Tour and it includes lots of photos, history of the band, lyrics to all of their songs, album covers, and even a trivia game. So if you want to visit some more into that alternate universe that includes The Rutles, click on the link provided above.
There are lots of Rutles clips to enjoy on youtube, below is a video from The Rutles animated movie "Yellow Submarine Sandwich". It should be noted that The Rutles employed the same artists who did The Beatles "Yellow Submarine"
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