Songwriting team of Sutton/Turner/Bowsher?

On the Paul McCartney album “Tripping the Live Fantastic,” the track “If I Were Not Upon the Stage,” is credited to Sutton/Turner/Bowsher. It’s about half a minute of that song “If I were not (this profession), an (another profession) me” ditty that was also featured in a Monty Python sketch. It sounds like it’s from the 1920s or 1930s.

But I can’t find Sutton, Turner, and Bowsher’s full names doing a Google search. Can anyone help me out?

In addition to Google drawing a blank for any other songs by that team, Wikipedia identifies the song as a “faux beginning” to Hey Jude, and AllMusic Guide doesn’t list any other recordings of the song at any time, which makes it sound like Paul made up some phony credits for the song. Doesn’t particularly read like a real lyric either.

As I said, though, I did hear a version of it on a Monty Python sketch. I have a clear memory of Graham Chapman singing “an engine driver me!”

It is only a snippet that McCartney sings on that album, but it’s pretty clearly recognizable.

Here’s the Monty Python from Episode 3:

It seems pretty clear to me that it’s the same song.

I know the song and the sketch you’re referring to, but googling bits of the song and the names of the writers of McCartney’s song is still turning up nothing, and googling lyrics brings up only the Python sketch. I think it’s unlikely that there was a real song about being in the C-I-D because MP was more likely to make up their own goofball songs. Maybe there’s some common root song, although it sounds more like a schoolyard rhyme than anything else, but since I haven’t heard McCartney’s song I couldn’t guess any further.

It very well could be a schoolyard rhyme, although the tune sounds slightly too “professional” for it. I think the C.I.D. line was made up to fit the sketch, but schoolyard rhymes are flexible that way.

But if it is a schoolyard rhyme, one that both the Pythons and McCartney knew, it seems strange that he would invent a credit.

Artists do sometimes create fake composition credits, but usually with the permission of the composer (most often when they do it themselves, like Nanker Phelge/The Rolling Stones or Bernard Webb/McCartney). But if it is a schoolyard rhyme, it really makes no obvious sense to make up a credit for it. It would seem to be creating unnecessary legal risks as well.

It does, I agree. But I don’t think it’s really out of character for Paul, who can definitely fake music from that period when he wants to. I also think it’s very unlikely that a real song referenced by both Paul McCartney and Monty Python would be this hard to find on the Internet.

I can’t imagine how that would create any legal risk.

McCartney sings only one line:

… before he stops the band and goes into “Hey, Jude.” But it’s in the same tune from the Python sketch.

At the risk of sounding like an idiot, couldn’t he be referencing the Python sketch?

Okay, here’s a little more evidence: says the copyright on the song is held by MPL Communications - Paul’s holding company. Granted, he owns a lot of music he didn’t write, but Wikipedia says he started using MPL in 1975 and the album in question is from 1979.

He could be. But the way I see the Python sketch, they themselves seem to be referencing something that would presumably already be familiar to the audience, not performing an original work.

MPL holds the copyright in the recording. There are at least two copyrights in a piece of music: (1) the composition (held by the actual composer or his successors in interest), and (2) the recording. In either case, though, when crediting a composer, one credits the original composer, not the party that currently holds the copyright in the composition (and then add that the recording was used with permission of MPL or whoever the current owner is). That’s why he would credit “Sutton/Turner/Bowsher” in the first place, even if he did currently hold the rights.

I think they’re just being their goofy selves, since I can’t find any reference to the song they would be spoofing in that scene. At least we’re broadening the pool to Python experts as well as McCartney experts. :wink:

The AllMusic Guide returns very few matches for “Bowsher,” and doesn’t name any songs. None of the hits appear to be good fits for “If I Were Not Upon the Stage.”

I’m going to give this one a bump for you, because like I said, I’d be surprised if both our Python nuts and Beatles/McCartney nuts were stumped on this one.

I think I’ve found it.

The ASCAP database identifies a song by Stan Bowsher, William A T Phillips, and Thomas P Sutton called “Someone Else I’d Like To Be”.

While I haven’t found lyrics, the couple of references I’ve found online seem to suggest that it’s the same piece, and it is credited to “Sutton/Bowsher/Turner” (I suspect that the “T” listed by ASCAP is that of Turner) in this album listing.

I hope that this helps.

Wow! That’s amazing, Gov!

This was the only copy of the song I could find on the internet, sounds like a music hall number.

Another website says:

This song was written by Thomas Sutton, Bill Turner, and Stan Bowsher. It was published in 1947 and is also known as If I Were Not Upon The Stage. It was recorded by Max Miller in 1954 and released as a single. The B-side was Don’t Forget Your First Sweetheart. Paul McCartney liked this song and it inspired his 1983 song Average Person from his album Pipes of Peace. The song has been played live by Paul McCartney as a faux beginning to Hey Jude. A live version recorded in 1990 was released the same year on the album Tripping The Live Fantastic.

Excellent! Adding to the knowledge almost eight years later! I wonder how you found this thread.


I Googled “an engine driver me”, including the quotes, and I found this interesting thread. :slight_smile:

Yes, but why did you google it? :slight_smile:

Just my habit of quote-googling phrases when I want to find some lyrics.

Putting “me” at the end of a sentence is unusual, so I was confident that “an engine driver me” would lead me to a page with the lyrics of the song (which it did).

Then I discovered this thread and my attention was pleasantly diverted :slight_smile: