Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and the Rutles, and frequent musical collaborator with Monty Python, passed away Sunday, Dec. 29, at the age of 75. The Bonzos were originally called the Bonzo Dog Dada Band, and were founded to do for popular music what the Dada movement did for art - give it a good, swift kick in the seat of the pants. The members played both conventional and bizarre instruments, and lampooned many musical styles, including classical, jazz/big band, British music hall, and pop. Their biggest hit single was "I'm the Urban Spaceman", written by Innes, which hit #5 in the UK but stiffed in the US. Innes was a friend of the members of Monty Python, and wrote a number of songs for them beginning in 1972.
After Monty Python's Flying Circus finished its original run on British television, Innes joined with Python Eric Idle for the series Rutland Weekend Television, a Pythonesque sketch show. That show spawned the Rutles, a pastiche of the Beatles, which yielded an American made film "All You Need Is Cash" and an album of music from the film in 1978. A second album, "The Rutles Archaeology", was released in 1998.
In the 1980s Innes did a lot of work in British children's' television, and wrote many books, most of them for children. In the '70s and '80s he did additional musical comedy work, the best known of which were a number of appearances with Python including "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl." Because of that work he was often called "The Seventh Python."
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