Not Letting It Be. Matt Lucas. Copyright: BBC.

Not Letting It Be

BBC Radio 2 documentary. 1 episode in 2009. Features Matt Lucas, Neil Innes, John Sessions, Harry Shearer, Alfred Yankovic, Phil Cornwell, Philip Pope and others.

Not Letting It Be

Matt Lucas looks at the tradition of music business satire

Genre
Documentary
Broadcast
2009
Channel
BBC Radio 2
Episodes
1
Features
Matt Lucas, Neil Innes, John Sessions, Harry Shearer, Alfred Yankovic, Phil Cornwell, Philip Pope, Maureen Cleave and others
Producer
Owen McFadden

Little Britain's Matt Lucas looks at the tradition of music business satire, from Spike Jones to Spinal Tap and, more recently, The Flight Of The Conchords.

As people become increasingly swamped by the parallel forces of celebrity culture and rock star earnestness, this programme explores what makes for successful music business satire.

The programme tells 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.

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 Forties, it had been bandleader Spike Jones who 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 - which was such a convincing portrayal of a heavy metal band on the road that, legend has it, some viewers mistook the "rockumentary" 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 tradition.

Production Details

Production company
Laugh track
None

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Tuesday 12th May 2009 on BBC Radio 2 at 10:30pm
Episode length
1 hour