->'''The Narrator:''' ...a legend in their own lunchtime...
-->-- voiced by a thinly disguised George Harrison in ''Meet The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash''

The Rutles are a FakeBand who produce real music that parodies/satirizes Music/TheBeatles. They are the subject of ''The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash'' (or just ''The Rutles''), a 1979 {{Mockumentary}}[=/=]{{Rockumentary}} that tells their story from their founding to the present. Creator/EricIdle plays an accident-prone narrator, as well as Dirk [=McQuickly=], the band's bassist (although [=McQuickly=]'s vocals were performed by Ollie Halsall, who [[AuthorExistenceFailure died in 1992]]; Idle lip-synched to the performances).

They began as a sketch on Eric Idle's post-[[Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus Python]] sketch show ''Series/RutlandWeekendTelevision'', a program that ranged from CrowningMomentOfFunny to SoOkayItsAverage. One of its strengths were the musical numbers which were mostly written by Neil Innes, an occasional member of Music/TheBonzoDogBand and supporting act on Monty Python. The Rutles were born from a psychiatric patient who was sick with love songs (ItMakesSenseInContext-sort of). Neil Innes played the patient, singing "I Must Be in Love," which directly segued into a parody of ''Film/AHardDaysNight'' crossed with the Beatles' appearance on ''Series/TheEdSullivanShow''. This again mutated into the {{Mockumentary}}. RWT is the source of the band's name, so the u is short, "Rut-les."

When Eric Idle guest-hosted SNL, he brought over two segments from RWT to air as shorts: Pommy, a parody of ''Music/{{Tommy}}'', in which the hero tries to escape from a Ken Russell film, and the Rutles. Idle was especially proud of Pommy, but naturally Lorne Michaels chose the Rutles; SNL was in the midst of publicly "wooing" the Beatles to reunite on the show. The short was a wild success, and the show received many calls asking about the Rutles (some of them even thinking that these were the Beatles). When Idle returned to England, he began writing a feature-length {{Mockumentary}} for the BBC, but when he again met up with Michaels, who offered a larger budget with NBC, he committed to doing it with them.[[note]] Idle was fed up with shoestring budgets. RWT wasn't given money for a BBC light entertainment (comedy/sketch show), but for a chat (talk) show, which meant that they had to make props and do shoots for the money it takes to tape talking heads. Not fun.[[/note]]

''The Rutles'' was perhaps the first [[Series/SaturdayNightLive SNL spinoff]] to be made, but because of its initial failure and the nature of its rehabilitation, they aren't consistently linked. It originally aired on Creator/{{NBC}}; it was the lowest-rated program on that night. (Apparently, it aired ''just'' before the revival of Beatlemania.) It has since been VindicatedByHistory and VindicatedByCable. It is also important because it is one of the few films about the Beatles (more or less) that was made before John Lennon was killed and got the DeadArtistsAreBetter effect.

The story that ''The Rutles'' tells parallels the history of Music/TheBeatles closely, if inexactly. There are side-stories about how The Rutles affected the greater world, which is, in fact, more than anyone, including the narrator, will admit.

There was a ContestedSequel in 2002, ''Can't Buy Me Lunch.'' It was made with outtakes from the first film, with some new footage with Eric Idle's Narrator and a host of new interviewees tying them together. There were also albums; besides the soundtrack to the first film, there was the ''Archaeology'' in 1995 (made without Idle's involvement; Halsall's vocals were featured on two tracks created from 1978 rehearsals, making them the last Rutles songs released with his involvement), timed to compete with the Beatles' ''Music/TheBeatlesAnthology''. It did surprisingly well, considering the competition.

In 2010, a fan released the Rutles' equivalent of the Beatles' ''Love'', entitled ''Lunch''. It can be streamed [[http://rutleslunch.net at the official site for the project]].

For more Beatles AffectionateParody goodness, see [[Music/ToddRundgren Utopia]]'s album ''Deface the Music''.

!!'''Tropes: (work in progress!)'''

* AmbiguouslyGay: Leggy Mountbratten was interested in The Rutles because he loved their... tight trousers... which left nothing... to the imagination. Everything was perfectly outlined.
* AnimatedMusicVideo: One for "Cheese And Onions," done [[InTheStyleOf in the style of]] ''WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine'' and even [[ParodyAssistance animated by some of the same artists]].
* AffectionateParody: Eric Idle was a huge fan of the Beatles and a close friend of Music/GeorgeHarrison, [[spoiler: who appears in a cameo as a reporter.]].
** In fact, George Harrison was known to ''reference'' the Rutles when explaining incidents in Beatle history. Harrison went so far as to say that ''All You Need Is Cash'' is one of the most accurate biographies on the Beatles ever made.
** Music/JohnLennon loved "All You Need Is Cash" after watching copy in videotape. He refused to return it.
* BiggerThanJesus: Ron Nasty caused controversy when he claimed The Rutles were "bigger than God." Ron, speaking to a slightly deaf journalist, ''actually'' said that they were "bigger than Rod," as in Rod Stewart. Rod Stewart would not make it big for another eight years.
** The protests and [[BookBurning album burnings]] that were sparked by Ron's comment are said to have seen the sales of Rutles albums and merchandise skyrocket as people were buying their products just to have them destroyed. While the movie [[PlayedForLaughs plays this for laughs]], it's actually very reflective of the RealLife protests against Music/TheBeatles.
* BlindBlackGuy: Blind Lemon Pye, the New Orleans bluesman who supposedly came up with their music.
* TheCameo / AsHimself: [[Music/TheRollingStones Mick Jagger]] and Music/PaulSimon appear as themselves in cameos.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: "The Rutles story is a legend. A living legend, a legend that will live long after lots of other living legends have died."
* DontExplainTheJoke: The entire "Rat Seller/Cellar" bit.
* FatComicRelief: In the MusicVideo for "Ouch", a chubby native goes after the band.
* GRatedDrug: Tea.
** Also a case of GettingCrapPastTheRadar, as "tea" is slang for marijuana.
* HilarityEnsues
** HilaritySues: They all sue each other. Stig sued ''himself'', accidentally.
* TheKlutz: Dirk reaches an impressive level of klutzery in the "Let's Be Natural" sequence.
* LongTitle: "Major Happy's Up And Coming Once Upon A Good Time Band".
* LivingLegend: The band are supposedly a living legend that will live long after other living legends have died.
* MusicalPastiche: I mean, what else were you expecting? An unsuspecting listener could be forgiven for thinking that some of these are lost Beatles songs - they nailed the style completely. Even the vocals are almost impossible to differentiate.
* TheNarrator: Eric Idle.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: The Rutles and those associated with them were thinly-veiled CaptainErsatz parodies of Music/TheBeatles and company.
** Dirk [=McQuickly=]: Wrestling/{{Paul McCartney}}
** Ron Nasty: Music/JohnLennon
** Stig O'Hara: Music/GeorgeHarrison
** Barry Wom (Barrington Womble): Music/RingoStarr (Richard Starkey)
** Leppo: Stuart Sutcliffe
** Dick Jaws: Dick James
** Leggy Mountbatten: Brian Epstein
** Ron Decline: Allen Klein
** Bill Murray the K: Murray the K (played by Creator/BillMurray himself)
** Arthur Sultan: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
** Corinthia: Cynthia Lennon
** Chastity: Music/YokoOno
*** Whose Father invented UsefulNotes/WorldWarII
* PaintedOnPants: The Rutles (apparently) all wore tight trousers. Very tight trousers. Nothing left to the imagination.
* ThePeteBest: In-universe: Leppo, the Fifth Rutle. (Technically, Leppo was a spoof on deceased Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe. Extended canon in the Rutles universe claims that their pre-Barry drummer was named Kevin.)
** Leppo is also a reference to Zeppo Marx, ThePeteBest of the Creator/MarxBrothers.
** It was David Battley and not [[Music/TheBeachBoys Ricky Fataar]] who first played Stig on ''Series/RutlandWeekendTelevision'' and ''Series/SaturdayNightLive''. In these performances Dirk (still portrayed by Eric Idle) mocked George and Stig lampooned Paul.
* ParodyAssistance: George Harrison not only referenced The Rutles on occasion; he even played the reporter who interviewed the Derek Taylor {{Expy}}, in an interview that took place in front of the Rutles' HQ while people were walking off with stolen items in the background. (Derek Taylor was in turn a friend of Harrison; he and his wife were the friends who had lost their way in ''Blue Jay Way''.)
** That's also George saying "This little piggy went to market" ([[SubliminalSeduction backwards]]) on "Piggy in the Middle".
** Neil Innes, who played Ron Nasty and wrote the music has said "George was in it up to his neck", including being present at the initial play-through of the songs (his reaction to "A Girl Like You" was "That's a bit close, isn't it?")
** John Lennon allegedly helped sequence the soundtrack album, and suggested the band should avoid including "Get Up and Go" because its note-for-note similarity to "Get Back" might cause legal issues. (He was right.) His version of the album, however, supposedly bumped so many songs for being 'too close' that the LP would've come out ridiculously short - which may explain the liner notes only including lyrics for nine songs!
** The AnimatedMusicVideo for "Cheese and Onions" was created by several of the animators who worked on ''WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine''.
* RooftopConcert: The band's final performance on the roof of their Rutle Corps building where the band notably played "Get Up And Go". [[spoiler: The parodic parallel to The Beatles' "Get Back"]] Naturally in the Rutles' version somebody gets accidentally pushed ''off'' the roof.
** The band (minus Dirk [=McQuickly=], who was portrayed by Eric Idle in the film and whose vocals were performed by the late Ollie Halsall) also held a rooftop concert in the mid-1990's to celebrate the release of their "lost album" ''Archaeology'', which coincided with the release of ''The Beatles Anthology''.
* SdrawkcabName: It was said that if you play the title track from Sergeant Rutter's Only Darts Club Band backwards, it is supposed to sound like "Stig has been dead for ages, honestly." It in fact says "Dnab Bulc Strad Ylno Srettur Tnaegres."
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Their material runs the gamut from the heavily cynical ("Easy Listening", "Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik") to the heavily idealistic ("Back in '64").
* TheQuietOne: Taken to an extreme, in that Stig does not get a single line in the entire special.
* ThoseWackyNazis: Chastity, the kooky artist, though it is never outright said vocally, is ''heavily'' implied to be a Nazi, what with the armbands, being German, and her father having invented World War II.
* TrueArtIsIncomprehensible: In-Universe. All of Chastity's art is seen as this trope, especially by Ron. At one point, Ron and Chastity sit in a bathtub with their clothes on and the water running as a meaningful act of symbolism. The press is there, of course.
* UncommonTime: "Love Life" switches meter signatures frequently and contains several measures of 5/4. (As a point of comparison, the song it's most prominently parodying, "All You Need Is Love", switches meter signatures frequently and contains several measures of 7/4).
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: In ''All You Need Is Cash.''
* YokoOhNo: In universe, parodied with Chastity, the NoCelebritiesWereHarmed Yoko Ono.
* YouLookFamiliar: Eric Idle plays TheNarrator, Stanley J. Krammerhead III, and Dirk [=McQuickly=]. Likewise, Eric's wife plays both Stanley's girlfriend and a German prostitute.
Since Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} removed the list of tracks parodied by each individual Rutles track, here it is:

''The Rutles''
#"Goose-Step Mama" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:18 ("Some Other Guy", "I Saw Her Standing There" "One After 909")
#"Number One" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:52 ("Twist And Shout", "It Won't Be Long")
#"Baby Let Me Be" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 1:57 ("Slow Down")
#"Hold My Hand" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:11 ("Eight Days a Week", "She Loves You", "All My Loving", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "Please Please Me")
#"Blue Suede Schubert" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:13 ("Roll Over Beethoven", "Boys")
#"I Must Be In Love" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:06 (The film, "A Hard Day's Night". "If I Needed Someone", "From Me To You", "Ticket To Ride")
#"With A Girl Like You" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 1:53 ("If I Fell")
#"Between Us" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:03 ("Baby It's You", "And I Love Her", "Till There Was You")
#"Living In Hope" (Womble) - 2:39 ("Don't Pass Me By", "Octopus's Garden", "Act Naturally", "With A Little Help from My Friends")
#"Ouch!" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 1:52 ("Help!")
#"It's Looking Good" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:02 ("I'm Down", "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party", "I'm Looking Through You", "I'm a Loser")
#"Doubleback Alley" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:57 ("Penny Lane")
#"Good Times Roll" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 3:05 ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "You Never Give Me Your Money")
#"Nevertheless" (O'Hara) - 1:29 ("Love You To", "Within You Without You")
#"Love Life" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:52 ("All You Need Is Love", "Magical Mystery Tour")
#"Piggy In The Middle" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 4:11 ("I Am The Walrus")
#"Another Day" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:13 ("Martha My Dear", "Don't Bother Me")
#"Cheese And Onions" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 2:42 ("A Day In The Life")
#"Get Up And Go" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 3:19 ("Get Back")
#"Let's Be Natural" (Nasty/[=McQuickly=]) - 3:22 ("Julia", "Dear Prudence", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)")

#"Major Happy's Up-And-Coming Once Upon A Good Time Band" - 2:19 ("Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band")
#"Rendezvous" - 2:06 ("With a Little Help from My Friends", with backing vocals reminiscent of "Good Day Sunshine")
#"Questionnaire" - 2:41 (Musically a composite of "The Fool On The Hill", "Imagine" and "I Am The Walrus" with pointed lyrics referring to Lennon's assassination and gun-ownership laws)
#"We've Arrived! (And To Prove It We're Here)" - 2:09 (Rutles versions of "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Flying" with a "Revolution 9" reference in the ending) (taped 1978 rehearsal featuring Halsall)
#"Lonely-Phobia" - 2:35 (Acoustic ballads from A Hard Day's Night-era, especially "Things We Said Today" and "I'll Be Back", but also takes liberally from [=McCartney=]'s solo song Mrs Vandebilt)
#"Unfinished Words" - 2:08 (A play on the anecdote about "Yesterday" and its 'scrambled eggs' dummy lyrics, setting numerous lyrical references to Martin Lewis's 'fake Beatles outtakes' hoax set to a tune resembling "Nowhere Man". The recording style - and title - are {{Shout Out}}s to "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love", which were completed by the surviving Beatles from John's ''unfinished'' demos.)
#"Hey Mister!" - 3:18 (Broadly similar to "I Me Mine", "Yer Blues", and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"; references "Helter Skelter" at the ending; melody and chord-structure echo "Norwegian Wood", with nods to "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill".)
#"Easy Listening" - 2:09 (A pastiche of "Octopus's Garden" with some suggestions of "Don't Pass Me By" and "Act Naturally", with a lyrical reference to [=McCartney=]'s "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?")
#"Now She's Left You" - 2:03 (A pastiche of "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" and "You're Going to Lose That Girl" written for the original film but unused; in 1981 a doo-wop arrangement of this song was featured on Innes's TV series ''The Innes Book of Records'') (taped 1978 rehearsal featuring Halsall)
#"The Knicker Elastic King" - 2:39 (A 1981 composition of Innes's, rearranged in the style of "Getting Better" with a quotation from "Polythene Pam". The horn solo ostensibly comprises Eric Spear's theme from ''Coronation Street'', referencing Wings's cover of the theme from ''Crossroads''. The spoken middle-eight homages the ''Yellow Submarine'' film and Ringo Starr's children's TV narration.)
#"I Love You" - 2:18 (Elements of "It's Only Love" and "And I Love Her")
#"Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik" - 4:24 (A 1992 Innes composition rearranged in the style of "Come Together", with a Rhodes riff borrowed from "Maybe I'm Amazed"; vocal and piano sound recall "I Am The Walrus"; The play-out section is a call back to Lennon's own "Cleanup Time")
#"Joe Public" - 4:03 (A 1992 Innes song rearranged in the style of "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Rain", with Fataar singing lead)
#"Shangri-La" - 7:43 (A 1977 Innes song newly infused with a great many ''Pepper''/''Magical Mystery Tour''-era Beatles references and a new "Hey Jude"-style coda. "A Day in the Life" forms the backbone of the song, which variously transforms into "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" amongst others, features a chorus suggested by "All You Need Is Love", "Magical Mystery Tour", and Hey Jude and contains a horn riff taken directly from "For No One"; the intro quotes Music/{{Oasis}}'s "Whatever", in reference to EMI's successful plagiarism lawsuit against that song's melodic similarity to Innes's 1973 single "How Sweet to Be an Idiot")
#"Don't Know Why" - 3:44 (Written a year in advance of the album for the TV show ''Rory Bremner: Who Else'', directly pastiching "Free as a Bird", and referencing Innes's then-current hardships relating to the original Rutles project, including his losing of the ATV lawsuit and his fractious relationship with Eric Idle)
#"Back In '64" - 3:14 (An answer song to "When I'm Sixty-Four", written from a 1996 perspective, with a solo reminiscent of the Moog lines in "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". The "zum zum zum zum" backing vocals reference those of Innes's 1977 song "Crystal Balls".)