Neil Innes is an English songwriter and performer
of brilliant comic songs - best known for his collaborative
work with Monty Python, as a member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah
Band, and as co-creator of the classic, acclaimed Grammy-nominated
film, soundtrack and band The Rutles.
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The Film: 'The Seventh Python'
In the mid-1970s, Innes became
closely associated with the TV series Monty Python's
Flying Circus. He played a major role in performing
and writing songs and sketches for the final series in 1974.
His songs and sketch writing included 'George III' (sung
by a pastiche black American girl group) which appears in
'The Golden Age of Ballooning,' 'Where Does a Dream Begin?'
used in 'Anything Goes: The Light Entertainment War,' the
'Most Awful Family in Britain' sketch, a humorous stilted
guitar version of the Flying Circus theme song, and 'The
Liberty Bell March,' during the credits of the last episode,
'Party Political Broadcast.' He is one of only two non-Pythons
to ever be credited writers for the TV series (the other
being Douglas Adams).
He appeared on stage with the
Pythons in New York City in 1976, performing the Bob Dylanesque
'Protest Song' as Raymond Scum (complete with harmonica)
which was included on the album 'Monty Python Live at City
Center'. He told the audience 'I've suffered for my music.
Now it's your turn.' In 1982, he travelled to the States
with the Pythons again, appearing in Monty Python Live at
the Hollywood Bowl. He performed the songs 'How Sweet to
Be an Idiot' and 'I'm the Urban Spaceman.' He also appeared
as one of the singing 'Bruces' in the Philosopher Sketch.
Innes wrote the songs for 'Monty
Python and the Holy Grail.' He appeared in the
film as a head-bashing monk, the serf crushed by the giant
wooden rabbit, and the leader of Sir Robin's minstrels.
He also had a small role in Terry Gilliam's 'Jabberwocky.'
Because of these long-standing connections, Innes is often
referred to as The Seventh Python.'
After Python finished its original
run on UK television, Innes joined with Python's Eric Idle
on the series 'Rutland Weekend Television.'
This was a Python-esque sketch show based in a fictional
low-budget regional television station. It ran for two series
in 1975-76. Songs and sketches from the series appeared
on a 1976 BBC LP, 'The Rutland Weekend Songbook.'
This show spawned The
Rutles (the 'prefab four'), an affectionate pastiche
of the Beatles, in which Innes played the character of Ron
Nasty (loosely based on John Lennon). Innes played Nasty
in an American-made spin-off NBC-TV movie, 'All
You Need Is Cash,' with Idle. The project also
yielded a hit album released by Warner Brothers, and a Grammy
Nomination for Best Comedy Album.
After Rutland Weekend Television,
Idle relocated to the USA, and Innes went on to create a
solo series in 1979 on BBC television, 'The Innes
Book of Records,' which ran for three seasons and
contained several of Innes' previous music compositions,
along with new ones written for the show.
During the 1980s, Innes delved
into children's entertainment. He played the role of the
Wizard in the live-action children's television series 'Puddle
Lane,' made by Yorkshire Television for the ITV network.
He voiced the 1980s children's
cartoon adventures of 'The Raggy Dolls,' a motley collection
of 'rejects' from a toy factory. The 65 episodes for Yorkshire
Television included the characters Sad Sack, Hi-Fi, Lucy,
Dotty, Back-to-Front and Princess.
In addition, he brought Monty
Python's Terry Jones's fairy-tale book 'East of the Moo'n
to television. He contributed all the stories and music
on this production. He was also involved with the enormously
popular children's show 'Tiswas.' More...
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