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The Beatles Wiki

John Halsey (born 23 February 1945) is a rock drummer, best known for his appearance in the television film All You Need is Cash (1978) as Barrington Womble ("Barry Wom") of The Rutles. Previous to this he had played with fellow future Rutle Neil Innes's band Fatso and appeared with them in the BBC Television comedy series, Rutland Weekend Television, fronted by a third Rutle, Eric Idle.


Early life[]

Halsey was born in Highgate, North London and grew up in North Finchley. He joined the London rhythm and blues band Felder's Orioles in 1965, who released four singles on the Piccadilly Records label.


Timebox and Patto[]

In 1967 he joined Timebox, a band from Southport, who later became Patto. With record producer Muff Winwood they released three albums. The band disbanded in 1973.

The Rutles[]

Halsey was a member of The Rutles, a parody group of The Beatles. In it, he portrayed the fictional drummer, Barry Wom (based on Ringo Starr). The Rutles were foreshadowed in episode 3 of Eric Idle's 1975 BBC television series Rutland Weekend Television. He portrayed Wom from 1975 to 1978, and again briefly from 1996 to 1997, and finally from 2002 to its end in 2019.

He appeared on the Channel 4 show What The Pythons Did Next on 1 January 2007, discussing what it was like to work with Eric Idle. In April 2008 he appeared at the Rutles' thirty-year reunion in Los Angeles, where the four original band members played together again.

Other works[]

In 1972 Halsey played drums on the Lou Reed album Transformer and recorded as a session musician on albums including Mind Your Own Business by Henry McCullough (1975), Back to the Night by Joan Armatrading (1975), Bullinamingvase by Roy Harper (1977), Woman in the Wings by Maddy Prior (1978), and Mail Order Magic by Roger Chapman (1980). He toured with others including Joe Cocker, The Scaffold, Grimms, Chris Jagger, Neil Innes, Viv Stanshall, and Joe Brown.

Personal life[]

In an interview for the magazine Ptolemaic Terrascope in 1992, he said that he spent much of the 1980s selling fish from the back of a van after a near-fatal accident in Chichester in 1983 and that since then, he has been in the pub trade. Since 1996 he has been the landlord of the Castle Inn public house in Castle Street, Cambridge. He remains musically active, playing drums and singing with the Peg Leg Pub Band, a nine-piece ensemble he formed in the summer of 2022. Other members of the Peg Leg Pub Band include, Andy Holland (guitar and vocals), John Clark (guitar and vocals), Gary Neal (banjo, accordion and vocals), Sid Sidholm (harmonica), Ray Perkins (guitar, ukulele, kazoo, and vocals), Eric Haynes (bass, mandolin and vocals), Chris Skilton (guitar and vocals) and Lucy Hall (guitar, bass, and vocals).