The Rutles
Archaeology - Front cover Archaeology - Rear Cover
Archaeology - Front Cover Archaeology - Rear Cover
Archaeology - Inner Sleeve Front Archaeology - Inner Sleeve Rear
Archaeology - Inner Sleeve Front Archaeology - Inner Sleeve Rear

The Beatles Contribution:  Inspiration
Label Virgin
Catalogue No. VUSLP 119
Release date 29th October 1996
U.K. Album Chart Detail : Did NOT Chart
Detail :

The Rutles story is a legend. A living legend.
A legend that will live a lifetime, long after lots of other living legends have died.
The Warner Brothers (Stan and Reg) are proud to present their tribute to the semi-legendary group who made the sixties what they are today - the Prefab Four: Dirk, Nasty, Stig and Barry.

The Rutles were ....
Dirk McQuickly - Eric Idle
Ron Nasty - Neil Innes
Stig O'Hara - Rikki Fataar
Barry Wom - John Halsey

.... but for this release, we just have a personnel list, no alter-egos ...
Neil Innes - Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Ricky Fataar - Vocals, guitar, drums
John Halsey - Vocals, drums
Ollie Halsall (1949-1992) - Vocals, guitar
Mickey Simmonds - Keyboards
Malcolm Foster - Bass
Dougie Boyle - Guitar
Bernie Holland - Guitar.

Archaeology was scheduled for release on 21st October 1996. This date was set when the release of The Beatles "Anthology 3" was slated for 7th October. The idea was to closely follow Anthology 3, but not to compete with it. Although Anthology 3's release was pushed back to 28th October, Virgin decided to stay with the originally scheduled release date of The Rutles Archaeology, which meant that The Rutles, in an entirely unintended circumstance, ended up competing directly with The Beatles. The Beatles won, with The Rutles album not entering the U.K. chart.

Unlike many of these "Anthology" albums of historic recordings which contain only outtakes and alternative versions of familiar songs, the Archaeology album was advertised as consisting of entirely fresh material ... but ... a few of the tracks HAVE been heard before.
"Shangri-La" was previously released on Neil's "Taking Off" album, which was actually released before the first Rutles L.P., and "Knicker Elastic King" is on "Off The Record". In addition, Neil Innes has been performing "Joe Public" since at least 1985, and he also performed "Joe Public" and "Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Music" at the Beatlefest in 1994, well before this new album was planned.

The recordings are drawn from the album the band was working on when they broke up amid squabbles and lawsuits. The project was abandoned and the master tapes were buried. Literally.
As was widely reported at the time, all of the tapes were placed in a time capsule and buried in a secret location. Announcing that action, a spokesman for The Rutles stated that this was "to thwart bootleggers .... And tax authorities." Furthermore, the capsule would "stay buried for a thousand years." He added that the album wouldn't be released unless it was "...discovered by archaeologists or whoever digs these things up."
This led to Rutles fans dubbing the interred recordings the "Archaeology" tapes.
Asked why the legendary tapes have been dug up by The Rutles themselves, a mere 18 years later, Rutles member Ron Nasty stated simply, "Things change." All further queries have been referred to the band's accountants.

To promote the album "Shangri-La" was released as a single on 4th November 1996 and contains four songs. The additional tracks are "Joe Public" from the Archaeology album, plus "Baby S'il Vous Plait" a french language version of "Baby Let Me Be" (a knowing nod to the Beatles German language recordings ?) and ending with "It's Looking Good" a rehearsal track from the original "All You Need Is Cash" sessions, featuring Ollie Halsall.
"Shangri-La" was also issued in the U.K. as a 10-inch vinyl single.
A music video for "Shangri-La" was filmed on 3rd September at Sony Music Studios in New York and 9th September at Virgin Records in Los Angeles (see

The album comes in a glossy cover, with art direction by Jeff Lyons and photography by Timothy White, Nick Elgar and David Strickland. The inner sleeve is thick glossy card with no lyrics, and scant information.

18 years earlier saw the original Rutles album The Rutles

Side 1

Track Composer
Major Happy's Up And Coming Once Upon A Good Time Band Innes
Rendezvous Innes
Questionnaire Innes
We've Arrived (And To Prove It We're Here) Innes
Lonely-Phobia Innes
Unfinished Words Innes
Hey Mister! Innes
Easy Listening Innes
Now She's Left You Innes
The Knicker Elastic King Innes

Side 2

Track Composer
I Love You Innes
Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik Innes
Joe Public Innes
Shangri-La Innes
Don't Know Why Innes
Back In '64 Innes

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