Posted Mar 29 2014

Song Of The Week - The Rutles - I Must Be In Love

Eric Idle turns 71 today. He is well known for films involving running nuns, split heirs, holy grails, a man named Brian and TV shows that advocated not adjusting your set and bread and flying circuses.

However in our books the man’s crowning achievement is and will always be The Rutles, the story of Liverpool’s finest export, the Pre-Fab Four – Dirk, Stig, Nasty and Barrington Womble, whose music changed the world. The first album was recorded in twenty minutes, Their second took even longer.

Made in 1978 as a hybrid between Saturday Night Live and Idle’s BBC show Rutland Weekend Television, and inspired in part by Lorne Michaels going live on SNL to offer the Beatles a cheque for $3,000 to reunite, Idle conceived of the Pre-Fab Four and single-handedly invented the, if you will, rockumentary. Or, if you will, mockumentary. Its influence is legion – and if you think it all started with This Is Spinal Tap – This Is Simply Not The Case.

Paramount to the success of the film was Neil Innes, a Python collaborator whose brilliant pastiches of the Beatles’ sound led to years of litigation from the Beatles management (foretelling portrayed by John Belushi in the film) despite the presence on screen and support off from George Harrison.

The former Beatle was not the only star to grace the film with their presence – the Queen showed up, as did most of Lorne Michaels’ friends – Paul Simon and a brilliantly funny Mick Jagger, Michael Palin, Ronnie Wood, and the then current/classic cast of SNL all pop in – Belushi, Aykroyd, Jane Curtin and Bill Murray The K. (All of which throws up the question - if you've never seen it - why the fuck not?)

Eric Idle once bought lastword lunch in a hotel restaurant in Dublin. We told him that while all that Python stuff was all well and good it was The Rutles that was getting him a place in heaven. Being somewhat Buddhist in his outlook, Mr Idle took this with a pinch of salt and took us upstairs to listen to him play The Penis Song on a rented acoustic guitar.

Apparently, post-Rutles he’s found some success on the stage and is spending this summer getting the band back together (no, not this one) before any more of them die. We wish him well in that.

When it came time to choosing one Rutles song, we had a hard time deciding. Should it be Ouch!, Get Up And Go, Please Take My Hand, Piggy in The Middle, something from the seminal Sgt. Rutter, we have always thought in the back of our mind Cheese and Onions (do I have to spell it out?) We couldn’t find Barry Wom’s lost classic When You Find The Girl Of Your Dreams In the Arms of Some Scotsmen From Hull. But we got this – from their first film, A Hard Day’s Rut. And it rocks.

Happy Birthday Mr Idle. Boy do we owe you!



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