I don’t know what it says about me that I woke up, on my birthday, with this song in my head:
The Rutles are, of course, the parody band that managed to somehow be so good that you can listen to their songs as songs and not jokes. Sure, there are some funny lyrics in here – “You’re so pusillanimous, oh yeah” isn’t something that many pop songs would try to work in, let’s be honest (Here’s what pusillanimous means, by the way) – but it all works as a song; the melody is wonderful, and it’s amazingly catchy. Neil Innes, who wrote all of the songs for both Rutles albums, really was a heavily underrated musical genius.
The song is, according to the Rutles’ fake chronology, something that belongs in the White Album era, and yet it’s arguably more durable than a lot of Paul McCartney’s contributions of that time, whom it most closely resembles; somewhere, there’s a universe where the Rutles were real, revolutionized pop music and had a very different, and somewhat happier, ending than the Beatles. Or, at least, they had the good sense to do a farewell album with this song on it:
(The Rutles’ parody of the Beatles’ “Free As A Bird” was also better than the real thing, for what it’s worth:
Still over-produced – Maybe that was the point? – but at the heart of it, this is a better song than “Free As A Bird,” let’s be honest…)