Screaming Lord Sutch
David Edward Sutch
10 November 1940
|Died||16 June 1999 (aged 58)|
|Cause of death||Suicide by hanging|
|Occupation||Musician, perennial candidate|
|Political party||Official Monster Raving Loony Party|
David Edward Sutch (10 November 1940 – 16 June 1999), also known as 3rd Earl of Harrow, or Screaming Lord Sutch, was an English musician and serial parliamentary candidate. He was the founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and served as its leader from 1983 to 1999, during which time he stood in numerous parliamentary elections. He holds the record for contesting the most Parliamentary elections, standing in 39 elections from 1963 to 1997. As a singer he variously worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts, John Bonham and Nicky Hopkins, and is known for his 1963 novelty hit "Jack the Ripper".
Sutch was born at New End Hospital, Hampstead, London. In the 1960s, inspired by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, he changed his stage name to "Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow", despite having no connection with the peerage. His legal name remained David Edward Sutch.
After his career as an early 1960s rock and roll attraction, it became customary for the UK press to refer to him as "Screaming Lord Sutch", or simply "Lord Sutch". Early works included recordings produced by audio pioneer Joe Meek.
During the 1960s Screaming Lord Sutch was known for his horror-themed stage show, dressing as Jack the Ripper, pre-dating the shock rock antics of Arthur Brown and Alice Cooper. Accompanied by his band, the Savages, he started by coming out of a black coffin (once being trapped inside of it, an incident parodied in the film Slade in Flame). Other props included knives and daggers, skulls and "bodies". Sutch booked themed tours, such as 'Sutch and the Roman Empire', where Sutch and the band members would be dressed up as Roman soldiers. Fellow musician Chas McDevitt has claimed that he gave the idea for a Screamin' Jay Hawkins-inspired act to Sutch's manager Paul Lincoln after seeing Hawkins perform in New York in 1957, having already considered emulating Hawkins himself by starting his act by emerging from a silk-lined coffin but deciding that he "(didn't have) the personality to carry this off", stating that "no one in this country had heard of Hawkins until the mid-60s".
Despite a self-confessed lack of vocal talent, Sutch released horror-themed singles during the early to mid-1960s, the most popular being "Jack the Ripper", which was covered live and on record by garage rock bands including the White Stripes, the Gruesomes, the Black Lips and the Horrors, the latter for their debut album.
In 1963 Sutch and his manager, Reginald Calvert, took over Shivering Sands Army Fort, a Maunsell Fort off Southend, and in 1964 started Radio Sutch, intending to compete with other pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline. Broadcasts consisted of music and Mandy Rice-Davies reading Lady Chatterley's Lover. Sutch tired of the station, and sold it to Calvert, after which it was renamed Radio City, and lasted until 1967. In 1966 Calvert was shot dead by Oliver Smedley over a financial dispute. Smedley was acquitted on grounds of self-defence. About this time Ritchie Blackmore left the band. Roger Warwick left to set up an R&B big band for Freddie Mack.
Sutch's album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends was named in a 1998 BBC poll as the worst album of all time, a status it also held in Colin Larkin's book The Top 1000 Albums of All Time, despite the fact that Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Jeff Beck, Noel Redding and Nicky Hopkins performed on it and helped write it. On the other hand, for fans of the musicians involved,[who?] their work is considered well-worth listening to the album, and especially for the recently formed New Yardbirds/Led Zeppelin, offers a first take of the rolling funk-blues riffs and grooves that would define the classic Led Zeppelin sound.
For his follow-up, Hands of Jack the Ripper, Sutch assembled British rock celebrities for a concert at the Carshalton Park Rock 'n' Roll Festival. The show was recorded (though only Sutch knew), and it was released to the surprise of the musicians. Musicians on the record included Ritchie Blackmore (guitar); Matthew Fisher (keyboard); Carlo Little (drums); Keith Moon (drums); Noel Redding (bass) and Nick Simper (bass).
In the 1960s Sutch stood in parliamentary elections, often as representative of the National Teenage Party. His first was in 1963, when he contested the by-election in Stratford-upon-Avon caused by the resignation of John Profumo. He gained 208 votes. His next was at the 1966 general election when he stood in Harold Wilson's Huyton constituency. Here he received 585 votes.
He founded the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in 1983 and fought the Bermondsey by-election. In his career he contested over 40 elections. He was recognisable at election counts by his flamboyant clothes and top hat. In 1968 he officially added "lord" to his name by deed poll. In the mid 1980s, the deposit paid by candidates was raised from £150 to £500. This did little to deter Sutch, who increased the number of concerts he performed to pay for campaigns. He achieved his highest poll and vote share at Rotherham in 1994 with 1,114 votes and a 4.2 per cent vote share.
At the Bootle by-election in May 1990, he secured more votes than the candidate of the Continuing Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by former Foreign Secretary David Owen. Within days the SDP dissolved itself. In 1993, when the British National Party gained its first local councillor, Derek Beackon, Sutch pointed out that the Official Monster Raving Loony Party already had six. He contested 39 parliamentary elections – a record number – losing his deposit in all of them.
Sutch is buried beside his mother, who died on 30 April 1997, in the cemetery in Pinner, Middlesex. He was survived by a son, Tristan Lord Gwynne Sutch, born in 1975 to American model Thann Rendessy.
In 1991 his autobiography, Life as Sutch: The Official Autobiography of a Raving Loony (written with Peter Chippindale), was published. In 2005 Graham Sharpe, who had known him since the late 1960s, wrote the first biography, The Man Who Was Screaming Lord Sutch.
|15 August 1963||BE||Stratford-upon-Avon||National Teenage||209||0.6||5||5|
|31 March 1966||GE||Huyton 1||National Teenage||585||0.9||3||22|
|18 June 1970||GE||Cities of London and Westminster||Young Ideas||142||0.4||5||5|
|10 October 1974||GE||Stafford and Stone||Go to Blazes||351||0.6||4||4|
|24 February 1983||BE||Bermondsey||Official Monster Raving Loony||97||0.3||6||16|
|23 March 1983||BE||Darlington||Official Monster Raving Loony||374||0.7||4||8|
|9 June 1983||GE||Finchley 1||Official Monster Raving Loony||235||0.6||5||11|
|28 July 1983||BE||Penrith and The Border||Official Monster Raving Loony||412||1.1||4||8|
|1 March 1984||BE||Chesterfield||Official Monster Raving Loony||178||0.3||5||17|
|4 July 1985||BE||Brecon and Radnor||Official Monster Raving Loony||202||0.5||5||7|
|10 April 1986||BE||Fulham||Official Monster Raving Loony||134||0.4||5||11|
|17 July 1986||BE||Newcastle-under-Lyme||Official Monster Raving Loony||277||0.7||4||7|
|14 July 1988||BE||Kensington||Official Monster Raving Loony||61||0.3||7||15|
|10 November 1988||BE||Glasgow Govan||Official Monster Raving Loony||174||0.6||7||8|
|15 December 1988||BE||Epping Forest||Official Monster Raving Loony||208||0.6||7||9|
|23 February 1989||BE||Richmond (Yorks)||Official Monster Raving Loony||167||0.3||6||9|
|4 May 1989||BE||Vale of Glamorgan||Official Monster Raving Loony||266||0.6||8||11|
|15 June 1989||BE||Vauxhall||Official Monster Raving Loony||106||0.4||10||14|
|22 March 1990||BE||Mid Staffordshire||Official Monster Raving Loony||336||0.6||7||14|
|24 May 1990||BE||Bootle 2||Official Monster Raving Loony||418||1.2||6||8|
|27 September 1990||BE||Knowsley South||Official Monster Raving Loony||197||0.9||6||7|
|8 November 1990||BE||Bootle 3||Official Monster Raving Loony||310||1.1||5||7|
|7 March 1991||BE||Ribble Valley 3||Official Monster Raving Loony||278||0.6||6||9|
|4 April 1991||BE||Neath||Official Monster Raving Loony||263||0.8||7||8|
|16 May 1991||BE||Monmouth 4||Official Monster Raving Loony||314||0.7||4||7|
|4 July 1991||BE||Liverpool Walton||Official Monster Raving Loony||546||1.4||5||6|
|9 April 1992||GE||Huntingdon 1||Official Monster Raving Loony||728||1.0||6||10|
|9 April 1992||GE||Islwyn 5||Official Monster Raving Loony||547||1.3||5||5|
|9 April 1992||GE||Yeovil 6||Official Monster Raving Loony||338||0.6||5||6|
|6 May 1993||BE||Newbury||Official Monster Raving Loony||432||0.7||7||19|
|29 July 1993||BE||Christchurch||Official Monster Raving Loony||404||0.8||5||6|
|5 May 1994||BE||Rotherham||Official Monster Raving Loony||1,114||4.2||4||5|
|9 June 1994||BE||Bradford South||Official Monster Raving Loony||727||2.4||4||5|
|9 June 1994||BE||Eastleigh||Official Monster Raving Loony||783||1.4||5||14|
|16 February 1995||BE||Islwyn||Official Monster Raving Loony||506||2.2||5||7|
|25 May 1995||BE||Perth and Kinross||Official Monster Raving Loony||586||1.4||5||9|
|27 July 1995||BE||Littleborough and Saddleworth||Official Monster Raving Loony||782||1.9||4||10|
|1 February 1996||BE||Hemsworth||Official Monster Raving Loony||652||3.0||5||10|
|11 April 1996||BE||South East Staffordshire||Official Monster Raving Loony||506||1.2||5||13|
|31 July 1997||BE||Uxbridge||Official Monster Raving Loony||396||1.3||4||11|
|20 November 1997||BE||Winchester||Official Monster Raving Loony||316||0.6||5||8|