Not Letting It Be
Matt Lucas looks at the tradition of music business satire
- BBC Radio 2
- Matt Lucas, Neil Innes, John Sessions, Harry Shearer, Alfred Yankovic, Phil Cornwell, Philip Pope, Maureen Cleave and others
- Owen McFadden
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.
- Production company
- Laugh track
- First broadcast
- Tuesday 12th May 2009 on BBC Radio 2 at 10:30pm
- Episode length
- 1 hour