×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Monty Python’ and ‘Rutles’ Musician Neil Innes Dies at 75

Neil Innes, a British singer, songwriter and comedian known for his work with “Monty Python,” the Rutles and the madcap ‘60s outfit the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, died Sunday at the age of 75, according to the BBC and multiple news outlets.

In addition to being a key member of the Bonzos — whose 1968 single “I’m the Urban Spaceman” was produced by Paul McCartney under a pseudonym — Innes appeared in many projects related to the British comedy troupe “Monty Python,” including the lead minstrel in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (that’s him singing “Brave Sir Robin”) and the Beatles spoof documentary “All You Need Is Cash,” where he was the main songwriter and played the John Lennon character Ron Nasty.

A spokesman for the family told the BBC that Innes had not been suffering from any illness and had “passed away unexpectedly on Sunday night.” He had been travelling home from France with his family.

“It is with deep sorrow and great sadness that we have to announce the death of Neil James Innes on 29 December 2019,” a statement from the family reads. “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. He died of natural causes quickly without warning and, I think, without pain. His wife Yvonne and their three sons, Miles, Luke and Barney, and three grandchildren, Max, Issy and Zac, give thanks for his life, for his music and for the joy he gave us all.”

Born in England in 1944, Innes learned several instruments as a child and graduated from Goldsmiths University in 1966. He joined the Bonzos that year and was the group’s de facto musical director, cowriting nearly all of its songs with frontman Vivian Stanshall. The group released four albums between 1967 and 1972 — songs from which spawned the titles of both the influential American rock magazine Trouser Press and the band Death Cab for Cutie — and reformed several times over the years.

Innes also wrote songs and appeared in several episodes of Python’s last season in 1974, as well as the troupe’s later films “Life of Brian,” “Jabberwocky” and other projects. He joined Python’s Eric Idle in a subsequent series called “Rutland Weekend Television,” which spawned the Rutles project.

While the Rutles spoof made merciless mockery of the Beatles’ history (in a move of questionable taste, the Yoko Ono character was a Nazi), the Fab Four themselves were largely quite amused by it and George Harrison himself appeared in it as a newscaster. The project began a long association between Harrison and Python’s Eric Idle, leading to films such as “Time Bandits.” The Beatles’ publisher at the time, ATV Music, successfully argued that Lennon and McCartney should receive songwriting credits for the Rutles’ songs, and ultimately settled out of court. Years later, Innes was added to the credits of Oasis’ 1994 track “Whatever” — ironically written by bandleader Noel Gallagher, a devoted and vocal Beatles fan — which was ruled to have infringed on the copyright of his song “How Sweet to Be an Idiot.”

In the wake of the Beatles’ 1990s “Anthology” retrospective, Innes reformed a version of the Rutles and toured with it in 1996, and in recent years played with Beatles tribute act the Bootleg Beatles.

“People were desperate to get the Beatles back together and a guy in America was offering them $20 million each for a reunion! It was quite absurd,” Innes told NPR in 2012. “And George Harrison, who by then was closely involved with the Pythons, felt something even sillier needed to be done. He loved every moment of The Rutles. The 1996 revival for our Archaeology album was even funnier really.”

A film about Innes’ life called “The Seventh Python” was released in 2008.

More Music

  • Taylor Swift, winner of the artist

    Universal Music Sells 10% Stake to Tencent-Led Consortium for $3.6 Billion

    As expected, Universal Music Group has sold a 10% stake to a consortium led by Chinese company Tencent in a deal that values UMG, the world’s largest music company and home to Taylor Swift, Drake and many others, for €30 billion (around $33.6 billion). UMG parent company Vivendi also agreed that the consortium has the option [...]

  • Carrie Underwood 53rd Annual CMA Awards,

    Carrie Underwood Says She Won't Be Back Hosting CMA Awards in 2020

    Some use the dawn of a new year to declare what they will be doing in the next 12 months, but Carrie Underwood has used this turn of the odometer to announce what she won’t. The singer took to social media Monday to tell fans that she won’t return as a co-host of the CMA [...]

  • Ryan Seacrest and Lucy HaleDick Clark's

    Ryan Seacrest Prepares for BTS Mania Ahead of New Year's Eve Times Square Celebration

    New Year’s Eve will be much dryer than last year’s festivities in New York City, and revelers may have Lucy Hale to thank. The cohost of ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” which airs Tuesday, Dec. 31 live starting at 8 p.m. east coast time, says, “I’m bringing the good weather.” [...]

  • Former U.S. President Barack Obama gesture

    Barack Obama Includes Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Bruce Springsteen on 2019 Favorite Songs List

    Barack Obama completed his annual roundup of favorite arts moments of the year Monday with a list of his favorite music from 2019. As always, it’s an assortment that mixes obvious crowd-pleasers with commendably smart and obscure choices that leave you wondering how the former president has so much time to troll Spotify and/or critics’ [...]

  • Photograph by Henry DiltzLinda Ronstadt at

    Linda Ronstadt Helps CNN Carry a Different Kind of Tune

    Fans of Linda Ronstadt have swooned over her voice, a powerful instrument that can blast the dust off an Everly Brothers classic and breathe new life into jazz and mariachi standards.  Yet what comes through most strongly in a recent documentary about the singer is the way she used her vocal abilities to call attention [...]

  • Entertainment One

    Hasbro Completes $3.8 Billion Acquisition of Entertainment One

    Hasbro is poised to become a bigger player in entertainment now that the toy giant has completed its acquisition of Entertainment One. The $3.8 billion all-cash deal was unveiled in August. Entertainment One CEO Darren Throop will report to Hasbro chairman-CEO Brian Goldner. Olivier Dumont, eOne’s president of family & brands, Steve Bertram, president, film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content

男的把j伸进女人下面