The Rutles is a pop group from London, England. A spoof of the massively popular and influential rock group The Beatles, The Rutles was the brainchild of Neil Innes, former member of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, and ex-Monty Python member Eric Idle. The four official members of The Rutles were Dirk McQuickly (Eric Idle), Ron Nasty (Neil Innes), Stig O’Hara (Ricky Fataar) and Barry Wom (John Halsey), parodies of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, respectively. However, Eric Idle did not contribute to the actual musical recordings. The “Paul” vocals were performed by Ollie Halsall, who was glimpsed shortly in the mockumentary The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash as “Leppo,” the “fifth Rutle.” Idle lipsynced to the music skits featured in the film.
The Rutles originated as a sketch filmed for Idle’s Rutland Weekend Television in the mid-1970’s, albeit with a different cast of characters: Idle, for instance, portrayed the character “Dirk,” which was at that time the parody equivalent of George Harrison, not Paul McCartney. The sketch was originally aired on Saturday Night Live; producer Lorne Michaels enjoyed the sketch so much that he produced a TV movie that became known as The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash, a mockumentary which is regarded as a precursor to such films as This Is Spinal Tap. The film parodied all aspects of The Beatles’ career, such as the Yellow Submarine animated film and the “Paul is Dead” rumors. Ex-Beatle George Harrison, a fan of Monty Python (and later executive producer for Monty Python’s Life of Brian) appeared as a reporter interviewing the press manager for The Rutles, played by Idle’s Monty Python colleague Michael Palin.
The “Legendary” Rutles have somehow magically and mysteriously transformed into even more of a Tribute Band’s Tribute - who do their own songs – Rutles a-noodlin along’ with “Rutlin” Ken Thornton, new boys Phil Jackson [Keyboards] and Jay Goodrich [Bass] - bringing the average age down to a little over 30 - along with original “Heritage Acts” John Halsey [aka Barry Wom] on Drums and Neil Innes [aka Ron Nasty] on Piano and Vocals - pushing it all the way back up to well over 60 - it can only add up to just one thing:
“It’s Party Time!”
Or maybe just one or two things:
“You’ll never see so many happy people in one room.”