Screaming Lord Sutch

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Screaming Lord Sutch
Screaming Lord Sutch.jpg
Sutch (centre, with top hat)
David Edward Sutch

(1940-11-10)10 November 1940
Hampstead, London, England[1]
Died16 June 1999(1999-06-16) (aged 58)
South Harrow, Greater London, England[1]
Cause of deathSuicide by hanging
OccupationMusician, perennial candidate
Political partyOfficial Monster Raving Loony Party

Screaming Lord Sutch (10 November 1940[2] – 16 June 1999), who had his name legally changed from David Edward Sutch,[3] was an English musician and perennial parliamentary candidate. He was the founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and served as its leader from 1983 to 1999, during which time he stood in numerous parliamentary elections. He holds the record for contesting the most Parliamentary elections, standing in 39 elections from 1963 to 1997.[4] As a singer he variously worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts, John Bonham and Nicky Hopkins, and is known for his 1963 novelty hit "Jack the Ripper".

Musical career[edit]

Sutch was born at New End Hospital in Hampstead, North London,[1] and grew up in Harrow.[5] In the 1960s, inspired by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, he changed his stage name to "Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow", despite having no connection with the peerage.

After his career as an early 1960s rock and roll attraction, it became customary for the UK press to refer to him as "Screaming Lord Sutch", or simply "Lord Sutch". Early works included recordings produced by audio pioneer Joe Meek.[6]

During the 1960s Screaming Lord Sutch was known for his horror-themed stage show, dressing as Jack the Ripper, pre-dating the shock rock antics of Arthur Brown and Alice Cooper. Accompanied by his band, the Savages, he started by coming out of a black coffin (once being trapped inside of it, an incident parodied in the film Slade in Flame). Other props included knives and daggers, skulls and "bodies". Sutch booked themed tours, such as 'Sutch and the Roman Empire', where Sutch and the band members would be dressed up as Roman soldiers. Fellow musician Chas McDevitt has claimed that he gave the idea for a Screamin' Jay Hawkins-inspired act to Sutch's manager Paul Lincoln after seeing Hawkins perform in New York in 1957, having already considered emulating Hawkins himself by starting his act by emerging from a silk-lined coffin but deciding that he "(didn't have) the personality to carry this off", stating that "no one in this country had heard of Hawkins until the mid-60s".[7]

Despite a self-confessed lack of vocal talent, Sutch released horror-themed singles during the early to mid-1960s, the most popular being "Jack the Ripper", which was covered live and on record by garage rock bands including the White Stripes, the Gruesomes, the Black Lips and the Horrors, the latter for their debut album.

Radio Sutch on a Shivering Sands guntower

In 1963 Sutch and his manager, Reginald Calvert, took over Shivering Sands Army Fort, a Maunsell Fort off Southend, and in 1964 started Radio Sutch, intending to compete with other pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline. Broadcasts consisted of music and Mandy Rice-Davies reading Lady Chatterley's Lover. Sutch tired of the station, and sold it to Calvert, after which it was renamed Radio City, and lasted until 1967. In 1966 Calvert was shot dead by Oliver Smedley over a financial dispute. Smedley was acquitted on grounds of self-defence.[8] About this time Ritchie Blackmore left the band. Roger Warwick left to set up an R&B big band for Freddie Mack.

Sutch's album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends was named in a 1998 BBC poll as the worst album of all time, a status it also held in Colin Larkin's book The Top 1000 Albums of All Time,[9] despite the fact that Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Jeff Beck, Noel Redding and Nicky Hopkins performed on it and helped write it.

For his follow-up, Hands of Jack the Ripper, Sutch assembled British rock celebrities for a concert at the Carshalton Park Rock 'n' Roll Festival. The show was recorded (though only Sutch knew), and it was released to the surprise of the musicians. Musicians on the record included Ritchie Blackmore (guitar); Matthew Fisher (keyboard); Carlo Little (drums); Keith Moon (drums); Noel Redding (bass) and Nick Simper (bass).

In 2017 his song "Flashing Lights" was featured in Logan Lucky, directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Political activities[edit]

In the 1960s Sutch stood in parliamentary elections, often as representative of the National Teenage Party. His first was in 1963, when he contested the by-election in Stratford-upon-Avon caused by the resignation of John Profumo.[6] He gained 208 votes. His next was at the 1966 general election when he stood in Harold Wilson's Huyton constituency. Here he received 585 votes.[6]

He founded the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in 1983 and fought the Bermondsey by-election. In his career he contested over 40 elections. He was recognisable at election counts by his flamboyant clothes and top hat. In 1968 he officially added "lord" to his name by deed poll.[10] In the mid 1980s, the deposit paid by candidates was raised from £150 to £500.[6] This did little to deter Sutch, who increased the number of concerts he performed to pay for campaigns. He achieved his highest poll and vote share at Rotherham in 1994 with 1,114 votes and a 4.2 per cent vote share.

At the Bootle by-election in May 1990, he secured more votes than the candidate of the Continuing Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by former Foreign Secretary David Owen. Within days the SDP dissolved itself. In 1993, when the British National Party gained its first local councillor, Derek Beackon, Sutch pointed out that the Official Monster Raving Loony Party already had six. He contested 39 parliamentary elections – a record number – losing his deposit in all of them.[4]

He appeared as himself in the first episode of ITV comedy The New Statesman, coming second ahead of the Labour and SDP, in the 1987 election which saw Alan B'Stard elected to Parliament.

Adverts in the 1990s for Heineken Pilsener boasted that "Only Heineken can do this". One had Sutch at 10 Downing Street after becoming Prime Minister.

Sutch pulled out of the 1997 elections to take care of his sick mother in South Harrow.[11]

In 1999 Sutch starred in a Coco Pops advert as a returning officer announcing the results of its renaming competition.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Sutch was friends with, and at one time lived at the house of, Cynthia Payne.[13]

He had a history of depression, and killed himself by hanging on 16 June 1999 at his late mother's house.[14] At the inquest, his fiancée Yvonne Elwood said he had manic depression.[13]

Sutch is buried beside his mother, who died on 30 April 1997, in Pinner, Middlesex.[citation needed] He was survived by a son, Tristan Lord Gwynne Sutch, born in 1975 to American model Thann Rendessy.[15]

In 1991 his autobiography, Life as Sutch: The Official Autobiography of a Raving Loony (written with Peter Chippindale), was published. In 2005 Graham Sharpe, who had known him since the late 1960s, wrote the first biography, The Man Who Was Screaming Lord Sutch.



  • "'Til the Following Night" b/w "Good Golly Miss Molly" (1961)
  • "Jack the Ripper" (1963)
  • "The Train Kept A-Rollin'" b/w "Honey Hush" (1965)
  • "Purple People Eater" b/w "You Don't Care" (1966)
  • "'Cause I Love You" b/w "Thumping Beat" (1970), as Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends
  • "Election Fever" b/w "Rock the Election" (1970), as Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends
  • "Gotta Keep A-Rocking" b/w "Country Club" (1972), as Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends

Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]


  • Jack the Ripper (Compilation, 1985) Autograph Records ASK 780
  • Story/Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages (Compilation, 1991)
  • Raving Loony Party Favourites (Compilation, 1996)

Posthumously released:

  • Monster Rock (Compilation, 2000)
  • Munster Rock (Compilation, 2001)

Extended plays[edit]

Posthumously released:

  • Midnight Man (EP, 2000)
  • The London Rock & Roll Show DVD

Elections fought[edit]

Election Type Constituency Party Vote % vote Place Candidates
15 August 1963 BE Stratford-upon-Avon National Teenage 209 0.6 5 5
31 March 1966 GE Huyton 1 National Teenage 585 0.9 3 22
18 June 1970 GE Cities of London and Westminster Young Ideas 142 0.4 5 5
10 October 1974 GE Stafford and Stone Go to Blazes 351 0.6 4 4
24 February 1983 BE Bermondsey Official Monster Raving Loony 97 0.3 6 16
23 March 1983 BE Darlington Official Monster Raving Loony 374 0.7 4 8
9 June 1983 GE Finchley 1 Official Monster Raving Loony 235 0.6 5 11
28 July 1983 BE Penrith and The Border Official Monster Raving Loony 412 1.1 4 8
1 March 1984 BE Chesterfield Official Monster Raving Loony 178 0.3 5 17
4 July 1985 BE Brecon and Radnor Official Monster Raving Loony 202 0.5 5 7
10 April 1986 BE Fulham Official Monster Raving Loony 134 0.4 5 11
17 July 1986 BE Newcastle-under-Lyme Official Monster Raving Loony 277 0.7 4 7
14 July 1988 BE Kensington Official Monster Raving Loony 61 0.3 7 15
10 November 1988 BE Glasgow Govan Official Monster Raving Loony 174 0.6 7 8
15 December 1988 BE Epping Forest Official Monster Raving Loony 208 0.6 7 9
23 February 1989 BE Richmond (Yorks) Official Monster Raving Loony 167 0.3 6 9
4 May 1989 BE Vale of Glamorgan Official Monster Raving Loony 266 0.6 8 11
15 June 1989 BE Vauxhall Official Monster Raving Loony 106 0.4 10 14
15 June 1989 EE London Central Official Monster Raving Loony 841 0.5 6 8
22 March 1990 BE Mid Staffordshire Official Monster Raving Loony 336 0.6 7 14
24 May 1990 BE Bootle 2 Official Monster Raving Loony 418 1.2 6 8
27 September 1990 BE Knowsley South Official Monster Raving Loony 197 0.9 6 7
8 November 1990 BE Bootle 3 Official Monster Raving Loony 310 1.1 5 7
7 March 1991 BE Ribble Valley 3 Official Monster Raving Loony 278 0.6 6 9
4 April 1991 BE Neath Official Monster Raving Loony 263 0.8 7 8
16 May 1991 BE Monmouth 4 Official Monster Raving Loony 314 0.7 4 7
4 July 1991 BE Liverpool Walton Official Monster Raving Loony 546 1.4 5 6
9 April 1992 GE Huntingdon 1 Official Monster Raving Loony 728 1.0 6 10
9 April 1992 GE Islwyn 5 Official Monster Raving Loony 547 1.3 5 5
9 April 1992 GE Yeovil 6 Official Monster Raving Loony 338 0.6 5 6
6 May 1993 BE Newbury Official Monster Raving Loony 432 0.7 7 19
29 July 1993 BE Christchurch Official Monster Raving Loony 404 0.8 5 6
5 May 1994 BE Rotherham Official Monster Raving Loony 1,114 4.2 4 5
9 June 1994 BE Bradford South Official Monster Raving Loony 727 2.4 4 5
9 June 1994 BE Eastleigh Official Monster Raving Loony 783 1.4 5 14
16 February 1995 BE Islwyn Official Monster Raving Loony 506 2.2 5 7
25 May 1995 BE Perth and Kinross Official Monster Raving Loony 586 1.4 5 9
27 July 1995 BE Littleborough and Saddleworth Official Monster Raving Loony 782 1.9 4 10
1 February 1996 BE Hemsworth Official Monster Raving Loony 652 3.0 5 10
11 April 1996 BE South East Staffordshire Official Monster Raving Loony 506 1.2 5 13
31 July 1997 BE Uxbridge Official Monster Raving Loony 396 1.3 4 11
20 November 1997 BE Winchester Official Monster Raving Loony 316 0.6 5 8



  1. ^ a b c Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1998–1999". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  2. ^ Talevski, Nick (2010). Rock Obituaries: Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 628. ISBN 978-0-85712-117-2. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  3. ^ "David 'Screaming Lord' Sutch, Pop Star, Politician 1940 -1999". NME. 17 May 1999. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Most UK elections contested and lost". Guinness World Records. Guinness World Records. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  5. ^ "IN BRITAIN'S CRAZY POLITICS, LORD SUTCH HAS NO PEER". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d Solly, Bob (28 March 2009). "Sutch's life". Record Collector. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  7. ^ "The 2i's and the birth of British rock". Record Collector. 5 October 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  8. ^ Stafford, David; Stafford, Caroline (2013). Cupid Stunts:The Life & Radio Times Of Kenny Everett. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-867-6. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  9. ^ "1994 Colin Larkin – All Time Top 1000 Albums". 24 October 1962. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Obituaries – Screaming Lord Sutch". The Daily Telegraph. 18 June 1999. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  11. ^ "That was 1997, that was". News Shopper. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  12. ^ Crawford, Anne-Marie (13 May 1999). "Coco Pops back after vote". Campaign. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Lord Sutch fought long battle with depression. – Free Online Library". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  14. ^ Millar, Stuart (31 August 1999). "Madcap maverick of politics hid his life of despair". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Minor British Pop Star And Leader of the Monster Raving... News Photo | Getty Images | 3140812". Getty Images. 1 January 1975. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  • Chippindale, Peter. "Sutch, David Edward (1940–1999)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/72456
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1950–1973, compiled and edited by F. W. S. Craig (Parliamentary Research Services 1983)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1974–1983, compiled and edited by F. W. S. Craig (Parliamentary Research Services 1984)

External links[edit]

Party political offices
New creation Official Monster Raving Loony Party Leader
Succeeded by