Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Prefab Four

While the Beatles-Monty Python connection is still fresh in our minds, I want to briefly draw attention to the Rutles. The brainchild of Neil Innes and Python member Eric Idle, the Rutles were a Beatles parody band that started out on the British comedy show Rutland Weekend Television in the mid '70s. Some of their songs: "I Must Be In Love," "Get Up and Go," and "Cheese and Onions." In 1978, the Rutles starred in a TV mockumentary called All You Need Is Cash, which chronicled their career along lines that closely resembled the history of the Fab Four. It brought the group some recognition, even among The Beatles themselves. That's what I want to focus on at the moment. Via Wikipedia, here's how each of the Four reacted:
George Harrison was involved in the project from the beginning. Producer Gary Weis said "We were sitting around in Eric's kitchen one day, planning a sequence that really ripped into the mythology and George looked up and said, 'We were the Beatles, you know!' Then he shook his head and said 'Aw, never mind.' I think he was the only one of the Beatles who really could see the irony of it all."
- Harrison said "the Rutles sort of liberated me from the Beatles in a way. It was the only thing I saw of those Beatles television shows they made. It was actually the best, funniest and most scathing. But at the same time, it was done with the most love." Harrison showed Innes and Idle the Beatles unreleased official documentary The Long and Winding Road, made by Neil Aspinall. (Aspinall's documentary would be resurrected as The Beatles Anthology.)
- Ringo Starr liked the happier scenes in the film, but felt the scenes that mimicked sadder times hit too close.
- John Lennon loved the film and refused to return the videotape and soundtrack he was given for approval. He told Innes, however, that ‘Get Up and Go’ was too close to The Beatles' "Get Back" and to be careful not to be sued by Paul McCartney. The song was omitted from the 1978 vinyl LP soundtrack. In an interview with 'BeatlesandBeyond' Radio Show presenter Pete Dicks, Innes remembered that Lennon said "you're going to have trouble with THAT one!" - "How right he was, the dear man."
- McCartney, who had just released his own album, London Town, always answered, “No comment.” According to Innes: “He had a dinner at some awards thing at the same table as Eric one night and Eric said it was a little frosty.” Idle claimed McCartney changed his mind because his wife Linda thought it was funny.
. . .
Their personalities to a tee, huh? At the very least, the responses capture how each of them viewed The Beatles after the breakup.
John: Cheeky and sardonic, he didn't "believe in Beatles."
Paul: Protective, even possessive of the band and, on some level, eternally wounded by its demise, he's the Beatle you'd expect to not find the humor in a parody.
George: Like John, the Salty Fab didn't regard The Beatles as a sacred cow.
Ringo: Lighthearted but sensitive, he enjoyed being a Beatle and rarely spoke ill of the band.

1 comment:

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