The Rutles
Rutles 4


Rutland, England


Rock, Pop

Years Active:


Associated Acts:

The Rutland Art Band, The Polyvinyl Wicker Trio

The Rutles (also known as the Prefab Four) were the most influential band in the whole history of music. They consisted of four main members; Ron Nasty, Dirk McQuickly, Stig O'Hara, and Barry Wom. Their legend helped defined the 1960s, and will live on after other living legends have died. Indeed, a legend that will last a lunchtime.

The bandEdit

There were two short-time members of the band: Leppo, the guitarist, who was last seen crawling into a trunk with a small German fräulein; and Kevin Issac Stuart Best (who preferred to italicise his middle names), the original drummer.


1955-1961 Formation and Early YearsEdit


The Five Rutles in Hamburg, 1961.

In 1955, Ron Nasty formed The Rutland Art Band with his friends Leppo, Kevin I.S. Best and Steve Allen. The band did not last long, which left Nasty wandering the streets looking for a job. In 1958 While wandering Egg Lane, Nasty bumped into Dirk McQuickly. Nasty invited Dirk to stand up and Dirk accepted. They were soon joined by Stig O' Hara. Nasty invited McQuickly and O' Hara to join The Rutland Art Band with Leppo and Best, they both agreed. In 1959, Kevin Best was kidnapped by Gene Vincent and forced to play drums for him. The origin of the group's name came from the label of Ruddles County English Ale, brewed in Rutland. Nasty was drinking this beer when Dirk bumped into him on the first day they met. 
  • the Silver Rutles
  • The Ruts
  • The Tuls
  • The Sluts
  • and even Alma Cogan
  • The Rutles.

In 1960, they found Barrington Womble hiding in their van. When they did, they persuaded him to change his name to save time and his haircut to save brylcreem, Barry renamed himself Barry Wom. They gained their first manager, Arthur Scouse, as part of a bet (which they lost). Scouse was so impressed with their music that he sent them immediately to Hamburg. Thinking that Hamburg was just outside Liverpool they accepted. The Rutles were forced to play at The Rat Killer in The Ancient Hooker District. For fifteen months, The Rutles were forced to live and relax in a small, dark celler when they wern't entertaining for the Rat patrons. One weekend, The Rutles escaped The Rat Killer and tried to return to London, in the rush, Leppo crawled into a trunk with a small german fraulein and was never seen again. When The Rutles returned to Liverpool. They persuaded the manager of the Cavern to let them play there by holding his head under water until he agreed. Very soon their music began to create no interest at all. In October 1961, Leggy Mountbatten went to see The Rutles in The Cavern, Leggy hated thier music, but he loved their trousers.  Leggy approached Ron Nasty and asking him what it would cost to sign the Rutles. Nasty offered Mountbatten "A couple of jam butties and a beer". Next day Leggy sent them a crate of beer, two jam butties and a fifteen page contract. The Rutles, instinctively trusting this softly spoken, quietly limping man, signed immediately. Mountbatten hopped around London in order to sell the Rutles pictures and tapes. Dick Jaws, a music publisher of no fixed stability, signed them up to Capatol Records for the rest of their lives. 

1962-1964 First studio album and Rutlemania Edit

On the 22 November 1962,  Dick Jaws produced, recorded, published and distributed their first album, Meet the Rutles, in only 20 minutes. Meet The Rutles was a massive success, The Rutles were not in anyway a success in England but in America there was unprecedented scenes of mass adulation. By December they had nineteen hits in the Billboards Top 20.  American DJ, Bill Murray the "K" nicknamed their popularity "Rutlemania".    On 11 November 1963, The Rutles played at The Royal Vairety Show, the Queen was so impressed by the performance that she invited The Rutles back to her place to award them all M.B.Es. On Febuary 7th, 1964, The Rutles landed in America for the first time, 5000 screaming people and 5000 Rutles fans were at Kennedy Airport to greet them. Unfortunately the Rutles arrived at La Guardia. On Febuary 9th, 1964 the Rutles played their first U.S. performance at The Ed Sullivan Show before an audience of 73 Million. In March, Nasty had written and published a best selling book, Out of Me Head. In 1964, The Rutles released their first fearture film, A Hard Days Rut, with the help of Liverpool filmaker, Dick Leichestershire.  

1965-1967 Che Stadium, Bigger than God and Tea Edit

In January 1965, Barry Wom returned to Liverpool to marry his childhood sweetheart, Brenda Liola. Inside the dimley lit, crowded church, Barry Wom was seperated from his fiance and ended up with a different bride. In the confusion, Liola got accidentally married off to a party of Scotsmen from Hull. Barry was heartbroken, but saw who hed married and soon cheered up. In April , Carynthia Nasty gave birth to Ron Nastys first son, Rude Nasty.  In August, The Rutles released their second film, Ouch!, filmed entirely in Switzerland, entirely in colour and entirely not in London. In October, The Rutles played the world's first outdoor rock and roll concert at Che Stadium. As a security precaution the Rutles arrived by helicopter a day early. This enabled them to be safely out of the place before the audience came in. It was a brilliant public relations coup. The kids were screaming so hard that thousands never noticed the difference. Promoter Syd Bottle described it as the most exciting twenty minutes of his life.   In  1966, The Rutles went through a feeling of innovation. On January 1st, The group released The Rutles (The Triangular Album), along with its many strange tracks, to a large audience. In April, Nasty in a widley quoted interview had apparantley claimed the Rutles were bigger than God and had reportedley gone on to say that God had never made a hit record. Nasty's claim became the most controversial moment in American History. Sales of Rutles albums skyrocketed, people were buying albums just so they could burn them, many burnt their fingers attempting to burn they're albums. But it was in fact a gastly misunderstanding, Nasty, talking to a slightly deaf journalist, had only claimed that the Rutles were bigger than Rod (Rod Stewart would not be big for another eight years). Nasty made a public apology to God, Rod and the Press and the tour went ahead as planned. In November 1966, The Rutles played the last concert of their tour in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, where they met Bob Dylan at the concert after party, The Rutles invited Bob Dylan to Breakfast with them. Dylan secretley slipped The Rutles cups of Tea into their breakfast. The Rutles enjoyed the pleasent effects of Tea.  

In June 1967, the effects of tea became the inspiration for there most popular album, Sgt. Rutters Only Darts Club Band. The release of this album inspired The Summer of Lunch, an idyllic summer of Bells, Flowers, Tea Drinking and free food. The influence of Sgt. Rutters lead thousands to experiment with tea. The press found out about the rutles usage of tea and offered Dirk the chance to deny it, which he refused. Dirks admittion created a scandal, many pop stars were arrested for buying and selling tea. Nasty was busted by detective inspector Brian Plant, who bought his own to be on the safe side. The Times carried a full page ad calling for the legalisation of tea, and the general feeling was that police should stick to their proper job of collecting bribes from photographers and protecting the Royal Family from their subjects. On June  25, The Rutles appeared live on Worldwide T.V, before an audience of 200 million, with a performance of thier song "Love Life".  

1968-1970: Loss of Leggy and Rutles break-upEdit

In August 1968, Stig had fallen under the influence of Arthur Sultan after a particularly hot cup of tea. Sultan then introduced Stig to his ouija board work. Sultan invited the other members of the Rutles to a table tapping weekend near Bognor. When they boarded the train for Bognor, Carynthia Nasty was left behind with Rude Nasty. During the Rutles weekend at Bognor, The Rutles learned that Leggy Mountbatten, tired and dispondant over the weekend and unable to raise any friends, went home and accepted a teaching post in Australia. The rutles first major flop, Tragical History Tour, immediatley followed the loss of Mountbatten and was slammed by the press. After the release of Tragical History Tour, The Rutles flew to New York to announce the formation of Rutle Corp. An organisation where people go to them for money and they would give it to them, instead of going to a bank. For six months, three chapters of the Redditch Hells Angels lived in the basement of Rutle Corp, Stig politley asked them to leave before he was punched in the face by Big Vallery. The Rutles next opened a clothes boutique in London which lost nearly a million dollars in three weeks, before nasty blew it up. For two years, people helped themselves to Rutle Corp supplies, money and even office's. In November, Barry Woms erotic ballad, Yellow Submarine Sandwhich became the inspiration for The Rutles first animated feature film, Yellow Submarine Sandwhich.

In March 1969, McQuickly became aparrent of Martini, a french actress who spoke no english and very little french. Stig by now had stayed in the background so much that a rumour spread that be had died in a flash fire in a waterbead shop and had been replaced by a plastic and wax replica from Madame Tussauds. Stig, in reality, had fallen in bed with Gertrude Strange. Barry meanwhile had also spent the year in bed as a tax dodge, either from appaling financial advise for from trying to start a "Barry is Also Dead" rumour. In November 1969 Ron Nasty met Chastity Hitler during her Destructo Art Exhibition at The Pretentious Gallery, Soho. Nasty and Hitler announced their engagement next day at a press conference held in their shower. 

In January 1970, when Barry finally got out of bed, Rutle Corp was in financial plight. Nasty had flown back from his Honeymoon Rally in Nuremberg to meet the most feared promoter in the world, Ron Decline. Decline promised the Rutles that if hed let him take care of there royalties, they would never have to worry about money again. Stig meanwhile was accepting the financial advise of Billy Kodak, Dirk invited Arnold Shvartsenveisengrenenblauenbluenburger to handle his royalties, while Wom was consulting the I. Ching every three and a half minutes. At the final meeting of Rutle Corp. 134 lawyers and accountants were crammed into a single room, only 87 came out alive. On May 8, in the midst of public bickering, Let it Rot was released as an album, a film and a lawsuit. In November, McQuickly sued O'Hara, Nasty and Wom, Wom sued McQuickly, Nasty and O' Hara, Nasty sued Wom, McQuickly and O' Hara, and O' Hara sued himself accidentally. The Rutles played their final concert on top of the rooftop of Rutle corp, it was so bad that the Rutles were arrested. After their arrest, the release of the Let It Rot album was shelved.
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After The Rutles break-up, Dirk had formed a punk-rock group with his wife, Martini, along with Denny "Gilmour" Lane and Joey Mason, called Punk Floyd. Dirk McQuickly sings and Martini doesn't. Nasty quickly became a recluse and sat with his thoughts and memories. Barry became a hairdresser in the Redding area, he currently owns four fully equipped salons. Stig accepted a job offer from Air India as an Air Hostess.

It is rumored that The Rutles acquired all their music from others. Many people said that they stole it from New Orleans blues legend Blind Lemon Pye, but he said that the Rutles music came from his next-door neighbor Ruttling Orange Peel. Ruttling claimed that he DID write the music, but his wife clams that he is always lying. She said that he also claimed to have started The Everly Brothers , Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Welk.

1970-Present: After The RutlesEdit

Nasty, Dirk, Stig and Barry all released solo albums in the 1970s. Barry Wom's Barry (1973), is the only album to include compositions from all ex-Rutles, albiet in seperate songs.

On 1 August 1971, Stig O' Hara created The Concert for Balderdash, a beneft concert set to raise money for the Balderdash Rabbit Ivestation of 1971. The concert features performances by ex-rutle Barry Wom, Arthur Sultan, Stevie Blunder, Elvis Prunk, Bob Dylan and the band Arthur Hodgeson and the Kneecaps. In 1974, Nasty accidentally released a jam session he had with Dirk called A Beetroot and Coleslaw in '74. 

On March 22, 1978, Melvin Hall released All You Need Is Cash, a documentary accounting the first 10 years of The Rutles. Coindicentally, The Rutles album was released the same day. 

In 1979, McQuickly and O' Hara issued a single —"Ging Gang Goolie" backed with Mr. Sheene.  

In 1988, The Rutles are inducted by Mick Jagger into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. None of them showed up.

In 1994, Nasty, with a group called The Moptops backed by the Rutland Symphony Orchestra, performed as "Ron Nasty and The New Rutles" at a convention honouring the 25th anniversary of Monty Python. This led to a Rutles reunion on top of The Hard Rock Cafe in New York and a reunion album, Archaeology, in 1995, featuring Nasty, Stig and Barry. The reunion album, featured several tracks recorded in 1978 with three unreleased songs. The Japanese version included 4 bonus tracks.  

On the 18th March 1996, The Rutles released Archaeology 2, the album included mostly original tunes, but with some new singles. 

On 28th October 1997, The Rutles released Archaeology 3 with 100% unreleased original songs. 

In 2000, Stig befriended the founder of renowned square dancing troupe Circle of Hay. Over beers in the Concourse bar, they discussed the idea of doing a Circle of Hay show using Rutles music but lost touch after Stig's retirement. With the blessings of Dirk, Nasty and Barry, who were easily reached, work began on recombining classic Rutle tracks in ways that could support the Circle of Hay show LUNCH.  

After being asked by aging A&R man Archie Macaw to make experimental mixes from The Rutles' master tapes for a collaboration with Circle of Hay, Stumpy Mountbatten, the son of Rutles manager Leggy Mountbatten was shocked to discover The Rutles' original tapes had vanished. Fortunately, 2 Rutles CDs were still in print and provided the material to create LUNCH. Working with these CDs and a computer his father bought surplus from the East Adelaide Primary School, Stumpy has created a unique soundscape.

In 2002, Melvin Hall made The Rutles 2: Cant Buy Me Lunch, which remained unreleased for a year. The film features an even bigger number of celebrity interviewees discussing the band's influence. 

On 25th February 2002, Ron Nasty, Barry Wom and Dirk McQuickly reunited for Concert for Stig, a celebration of Sitg O' Hara's 59th Birthday held at Che Stadium. 

On 17 March 2004, all four Rutles reunited for the first time at a 30th anniversary screening of A Hard Days Rut at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The event included a performance by The Rutles.

In March 2008 "Rutlemania", a Rutles tribute show, ran for a week at the Ricardo Montalban Theater in Hollywood before doing a week in NYC at The Blender Gramercy Theater. The "Rutlemania" live show was conceived and written by Dirk McQuickly which starred the Rutles tribute group "The Pre-Fab Four" as The Rutles. 

On 9 February 2014, Melvin Hall, Narrator of All You Need is Cash, came out of hiding and appeared on The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles, noting how the Rutles had made their American debut 50 years earlier, and it was an amazing coincidence the Beatles were there the same day. He then lent straight narration to biographical sketches of the Beatles's early lives. On that same day, Dirk McQuickly and Barry Wom (The only Rutles that bothered to show up), reunited for The Lunchtime That Changed America Even More: A Grammy Salute To The Rutles.

In 2016, worldwide renowned Ron Nasty impersonator Ron Howard released a documentary about The Rutles' touring years called The Rutles: 48 Hours a Day. He was later sued by Melvin Hall for creating a documentary on The Rutles without his participation.

Discography Edit

See here