When The Rutles 'documentary' All You Need Is Cash was released in 1978, it revived the long tradition of music business satire.
The film paralleled the story of the real Fab Four with incredible attention to detail - from early beginnings in Liverpool, through the mind-bending excesses of Rutlemania, to the band's infatuation with the mystic Arthur Sultan in Bognor Regis and the shambles of their last LP, Let It Rot.
Back in the 1940s it had been bandleader Spike Jones who'd had a pop at the popular music of the day. He in turn inspired the man who would become synonymous with the send up - Stan Freberg. Freberg resented the rise of rock 'n' roll and recorded celebrated satires of Elvis Presley, Johnny Ray, The Platters and The Chords.
The rise of the Beatles and the onset of psychedelia took pop music into new areas of self-importance, fertile ground not only for The Rutles but more especially This Is Spinal Tap, such a convincing portrayal of a heavy metal band on the road that legend has it some viewers mistook this 'mockumentary' for a true story.
The Hee Bee Gee Bees, Flight Of The Conchords, Weird Al Yankovic, U2 parodists The Joshua Trio and television shows like Rock Profile, Stella Street and Star Stories have carried on this noble tradition.
Today, as we become increasingly swamped by the parallel forces of celebrity culture and rock star earnestness, this programme explores what makes for successful music business satire.
Presented by Matt Lucas and with contributions from Neil Innes, John Sessions, Harry Shearer, Weird Al Yankovic, Phil Cornwell, Philip Pope and journalists Maureen Cleave, Ray Connolly, David Hepworth and Bill Flanagan, this programme will tell an alternative history of popular music, of how things might have been, where Spinal Tap's Smell The Glove rivals Sgt. Pepper as a cultural icon and old rockers take over the corner shop.
From The Radio Times
You may think that rock and rock musicians in particular are in no need of being satirised, as they do the job pretty well themselves. Well, that doesn't mean they aren't ripe for a bit of a ribbing. Matt Lucas, himself no stranger to taking the michael out of rock gods with David Walliams in Rock Profile on BBC2, hosts this chronological countdown of the best of the mickey-takers. Step forward Neil Innes with his tales of Rutle-mania; Harry Shearer, who turns the amp all the way up to 11 with Spinal Tap (surely the definitive send-up/homage);and the Hee Bee Gee Bees...remember Meaningless Songs (in Very High Voices)? They had Angus Deayton among their number but got Richard Curtis to write the lyrics. Not bad. Quite why Stella Street is here is a bit of a mystery to me - just because Phil Cornwell and John Sessions get to practise their Mick and Keef voices doesn't make it satire. Plenty of great music, a few lightly tossed anecdotes and - voila! - an hour of high-quality entertainment.
-- Frances Lass
Type : mpeg 1 layer III
Bitrate : 128
Mode : joint stereo
Frequency : 44000 Hz
Length : 00:57:06
Encoder : Lame 3.97
Source : iPlayer
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