The Rutles (album)

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The Rutles
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMarch 1978 (1978-03)[1]
GenreComedy rock, rock and roll
LabelWarner Bros. Records
The Rutles chronology
The Rutles
The Rutles Archaeology
Alternative cover
The cover to the American CD reissue of The Rutles. From left to right: Eric Idle, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes.
The cover to the American CD reissue of The Rutles. From left to right: Eric Idle, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes.
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Robert ChristgauC[3]

The Rutles is a soundtrack album to the 1978 telemovie All You Need Is Cash. The album contains 14 of the tongue-in-cheek pastiches of Beatles songs that were featured in the film.

The primary creative force of the Rutles' music was Neil Innes, the sole composer and arranger of the songs. Innes had been the "seventh" member of Monty Python, as well as one of the main artists behind the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band in the late 1960s, who had been featured in the real Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour film performing "Death Cab for Cutie".

Innes credits the three musicians he recruited to assist him on the project as having been important in helping him capture the feel of the Beatles. Guitarist/singer Ollie Halsall and drummer John Halsey had played together in the groups Timebox and Patto. Multi-instrumentalist Rikki Fataar had played with the Flames before joining the Beach Boys in the early 1970s.

Eric Idle, who devised the Rutles concept and co-wrote the film, did not play or sing on any of the recordings. He lip-synced "Dirk" vocals that were in fact sung by Halsall. Innes says that Idle, who had recently had an appendectomy, offered to help but was encouraged to recuperate. Having encouraged Idle and Innes to make a film that satirised the Beatles' history, and lent them archival footage for inclusion in the film,[4][5] George Harrison facilitated the album's release by introducing them to the chairman of Warner Bros. Records, Mo Ostin.[6]

The pastiches mimic the Beatles' sound to the degree that a 1978 Beatles bootleg, Indian Rope Trick, included the Rutles' "Cheese and Onions", attributing it to John Lennon. In the early 1980s, Innes was accused by one American Beatle fan of stealing unreleased Beatles tracks to use in the film; this was based on a recording of "Cheese and Onions" obtained by the fan which he believed to be by John Lennon. When the recording was played to Innes, he was amused to discover that it was actually his own demo of the song.

Innes was taken to court by the owners of the Beatles' catalogue, alleging copyright infringement of their songs. Innes had to testify under oath that he had not listened to the songs at all while composing the Rutles' songs, but had created them completely originally based on what he remembered various Beatles songs sounding like at different times.


The album contains parodies of Beatles numbers such as "Ouch!" ("Help!"), "Hold My Hand" ("I Want to Hold Your Hand", "All My Loving", "She Loves You" and "Eight Days a Week"), "With a Girl Like You" ("If I Fell"), "Living in Hope" ("Don't Pass Me By"), "Love Life" ("All You Need is Love"), "Good Times Roll" ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"), "Nevertheless" ("Within You Without You", "The Inner Light"), "Let’s Be Natural" (“Julia (Beatles song)”"Dear Prudence"), "Another Day" ("Martha My Dear"), "Piggy in the Middle" ("I Am the Walrus") and "Doubleback Alley" ("Penny Lane"). The CD reissue includes "Blue Suede Schubert" ("Roll Over Beethoven"), "It's Looking Good" ("I'm Looking Through You") and "Between Us" ("If I Fell" again). "Get Up and Go" was not on the original LP – allegedly after Lennon warned Innes that it resembled "Get Back" much too closely and might prompt the music publisher, ATV Music, to sue[7][8] – but was included on the CD reissue.

All songs were written by Neil Innes. Despite having received Lennon's and Harrison's blessing for the project, however, he was forced by ATV Music to credit some of the songs to Lennon–McCartney–Innes.[9] In 1996, Innes said of this stipulation: "George occasionally attempts to get the rights back for me, but it's not high up on anyone's agenda. I've stopped sulking about it."[9] The liner notes of the album give the names of the "Warner Brothers" as "Stan & Reg".

The only song from the film not on the soundtrack is "You Need Feet", which is not a Rutles song. Originally released in 1958, it was written and performed by comedian Bernard Bresslaw and was a parody of the 1958 Max Bygraves hit "You Need Hands".

Track listing[edit]

1978 vinyl album[edit]

The original 1978 vinyl release of the soundtrack omitted some of the material. The design of the record's inner sleeve reflected the Apple/EMI 1962–1966 ("Red") and 1967–1970 ("Blue") compilation Beatles albums released in 1973, with printed lyrics, red, blue and white layouts, and the track listing for the two album sides using similar periods (side one: 1962–67, side two: 1967–70).

Side 1[edit]

  1. "Hold My Hand" - 2:31
  2. "Number One" - 2:50
  3. "With a Girl Like You" - 1:50
  4. "I Must Be in Love" - 2:04
  5. "Ouch!" - 1:49
  6. "Living in Hope" - 2:37
  7. "Love Life" - 2:50
  8. "Nevertheless" - 1:29

Side 2[edit]

  1. "Good Times Roll" - 3:03
  2. "Doubleback Alley" - 2:54
  3. "Cheese and Onions" - 2:37
  4. "Another Day" - 2:09
  5. "Piggy in the Middle" - 4:07
  6. "Let's Be Natural" - 3:23

The remaining songs floated about as bootlegs until the 1990 re-release on CD.

1990 CD re-release[edit]

The 1990 CD re-release not only restored the full Rutles canon, but also changed some of the order of the tracks (this time intending to obviously align the songs chronologically as they would have been released individually in the "Rutles universe"). This broke some resemblance to track orders on original Beatles albums where the ending of a Rutles song closely resembled the ending of a Beatles song, and the same for the beginning of the next song.

Additionally, "Hold My Hand" had originally featured a fake "airplane" intro sound (a nod to "Back in the U.S.S.R.") which actually was a hairdryer, along with a count-in to the song. Due to the fact it wasn't the first song on the CD re-release as it had been on the original LP, this intro was removed.

  1. "Goose-Step Mama" - 2:18 (not on LP)
  2. "Number One" - 2:52
  3. "Baby Let Me Be" - 1:57 (not on LP)
  4. "Hold My Hand" - 2:11 (shorter than LP version)
  5. "Blue Suede Schubert" - 2:13 (not on LP)
  6. "I Must Be in Love" - 2:06
  7. "With a Girl Like You" - 1:53
  8. "Between Us" - 2:03 (not on LP)
  9. "Living in Hope" - 2:39
  10. "Ouch!" - 1:52
  11. "It's Looking Good" - 2:02 (not on LP)
  12. "Doubleback Alley" - 2:57
  13. "Good Times Roll" - 3:05
  14. "Nevertheless" - 1:29
  15. "Love Life" - 2:52
  16. "Piggy in the Middle" - 4:11
  17. "Another Day" - 2:13
  18. "Cheese and Onions" - 2:42
  19. "Get Up and Go" - 3:19 (not on LP)
  20. "Let's Be Natural" - 3:22

All lead vocals by Neil Innes except: Ollie Halsall on tracks 3 (co-lead with Neil), 7, 12, 17 and 19; Rikki Fataar on tracks 5, 8, and 14; and John Halsey on track 9.

The Rutles (Soundtrack) - Alternate Versions, Reissues[edit]

Warner Bros. Records/WB-W53151(1978/Cassette Version)

  • Side 1: "Good Times Roll", "Doubleback Alley", "Cheese and Onions", "Another Day", "Piggy in the Middle", "Let's Be Natural"
  • Side 2: "Hold My Hand", "Number One", "With a Girl Like You", "I Must Be in Love", "Ouch!", "Living in Hope", "Love Life", "Nevertheless"

The Canadian version, on cassette, is the only version of this release to actually be titled "Meet The Rutles", and features the album sides in the proper order, unlike the American version listed above

Warner Bros. Records/S142137/M83151/1978/8-Track Tape Version

  • Track 1: "Hold My Hand", "With a Girl Like You", "I Must Be in Love", "Love Life"
  • Track 2: "Number One", "Ouch!", "Nevertheless", "Doubleback Alley"
  • Track 3: "Living in Hope", "Good Times Roll", "Let's Be Natural"
  • Track 4: "Cheese and Onions", "Another Day", "Piggy in the Middle"

Rhino Records/1990/R275760/U.S. only release/1st CD issue

  • Contains the original 14 tracks + "Goose Step Mama", "Baby Let Me Be", "Blue Suede Schubert", "Between Us", "It's Looking Good" and "Get Up and Go"
  • Airplane sound effects and count in missing from "Hold My Hand"
  • Insert folds out into "Rutlemania" memorabilia mini-poster.
  • First appearance of catalogue numbers for each track.
  • First mention of "The Silver Rutles Demos" and "Rutle Soul" albums.
  • CD label designed to look like Capitol Records Yellow & Orange Swirl 45 RPM Label

Rhino Records/2007/8122-79968-9/U.K. only release/1st U.K. CD issue

  • Same material as U.S. CD (including edited "Hold My Hand" as noted above.)
  • Digi-pack designed to open as a gatefold album with alternate front cover.
  • Booklet contains most of the original Rutles booklet (Paul Simon interview is missing.)
  • CD in Mini-Sleeve that duplicates the "other artistes on the Rutle label" album sleeve.
  • CD label designed to look like Parlophone yellow and black label.
  • Does not include song lyrics.

Rhino-Parlophone/2018/PCS 7018/Rocktober Vinyl series/7'' Bonus disc

  • Side 1: "Goose Step Mama", "Baby Let Me Be", "Blue Suede Schubert"
  • Side 2: "Between Us", "It's Looking Good" and "Get Up and Go"

This reissue features the original LP cover and Warner Bros. Records copyright bylines, with Parlophone logos and labels.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ("...released on album by Warner Bros (#HS 3151) in March 1978".). "The Rutles Tragical History Tour". Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  2. ^ AllMusic review
  3. ^ Christgau review
  4. ^ Doggett, Peter (2011). You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup. New York, NY: It Books. pp. 243–44. ISBN 978-0-06-177418-8.
  5. ^ Huntley, Elliot J. (2006). Mystical One: George Harrison – After the Break-up of the Beatles. Toronto, ON: Guernica Editions. pp. 155–56. ISBN 978-1-55071-197-4.
  6. ^ Badman, Keith (2001). The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001. London: Omnibus Press. pp. 212, 220. ISBN 978-0-7119-8307-6.
  7. ^ Harris, Will (2008-03-24). "Hooks 'N' You: The Rutles, "The Rutles"/"Archaeology"".
  8. ^ "Fake Beatles that never were are back". Washington Post. 1996-04-01.
  9. ^ a b Doggett, Peter (2011). You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup. New York, NY: It Books. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-06-177418-8.