Neil Innes, songwriter for British comedy troupe Monty Python, has died. He was 75. Innes, who also co-founded the Beatles spoof band The Rutles, passed away yesterday, 30 December.
Innes’ family confirmed the news in a press statement. “We have lost a beautiful, kind, gentle soul whose music and songs touched the heart of everyone and whose intellect and search for truth inspired us all”, they said.
Innes was born in Essex, UK in 1944 but raised in Germany. He co-founded the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in the 1960s while studying at Goldsmiths College in London, releasing tracks like 1967’s Death Cab For Cutie and 1968’s I’m The Urban Spaceman. The former later inspired the US band of the same name while the latter was pseudonymously produced by Sir Paul McCartney.
Innes was often regarded as the “seventh Python”, referring to his work with the famous comedy group. Innes’ contributions include sketches and songs like Knights Of The Round Table and Brave Sir Robin, as well as appearing in their classic films Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975) and Life Of Brian (1979). He also wrote and performed sketches for Monty Python’s final TV series in 1974 after John Cleese’s temporary departure.
When Monty Python came to an end, Innes formed The Rutles with fellow Python Eric Idle. Innes adopted the persona of Ron Nasty, a character loosely based on John Lennon. In a 2012 interview with Penny Black Music, Innes described joining the other members of Python onstage at Concert For George – a 2002 tribute to the late Beatles guitarist and Python collaborator George Harrison, at London’s Royal Albert Hall – as “probably one of the most special evenings of my life”.
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