I went to the doctor the other day. I know that this usually means a decent amount of time in the waiting room so I brought something to read, “You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After The Breakup” by Peter Doggett. I haven’t gotten that deep into it yet but so far, it’s a pretty interesting read. Also, it didn’t take long for me to be reminded one of the best musical parodies ever, “All You Need Is Cash” by The Rutles.
The Rutles grew out of a comedy sketch show called Rutland Weekend Television that was written by Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame) with music by Neil Innes (from the Bonzo Dog Band and musical contributions to Monty Python). When Eric Idle hosted Saturday Night Live in 1977 and 1978, he showed some film clips from Rutland Weekend Television including those featuring the Rutles. SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels suggested that they extend the idea to a one hour show. The result was “All You Need Is Cash”.
From a history of comedy prospective, this show is interesting because it is a combination of Monty Python and first generation SNL. You had Idle, Innes and Michael Palin representing Monty Python and Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner from SNL. Additionally, there were cameos from Paul Simon, Mick Jagger, Ron Wood and most significantly, George Harrison. You know something interesting is happening when one of the objects of your parody is actually in the parody itself. It’s all very meta. It also should be noted that the format of show was what we now call a mockumentary and was six years before “This Is Spinal Tap”.
Besides being hysterically funny to anyone familiar with the history of the Beatles, it’s musically brilliant in the way that the songs will remind you of specific Beatles tunes while actually being different from those tunes. This is so much more interesting that what someone like Weird Al Yankovic does which is to just put new words to existing songs (something that would be familiar to anyone who read Mad Magazine in the sixties).
So for your viewing pleasure, below is “All You Need Is Cash” featuring the Prefab Four, The Rutles.