Rutles’ Neil Innes Passed Away At 75

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Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and the one who played as John Lennon in the Beatles parody band called the Rutles recently died at the age of 75.

“It is with deep sorrow and great sadness that we have to announce the death of Neil James Innes on 29 December 2019,” his family 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. 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.”

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Neil Innes was born on December 9, 1944, in Danbury, Essex, England, and rose to prominence during the late ’60s in the U.K. playing in the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. The band got their break when they appeared in the Beatles made-for-TV film Magical Mystery Tour performing “Death Cab for Cutie,” and a year later, Paul McCartney, dubbed as “Apollo C. Vermouth,” helped produce their No. 5 hit “I’m the Urban Spaceman.”

Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band were also featured as a house band for the children’s T.V. show Do Not Adjust Your Set. They broke up in 1970 which led Innes to start writing music for Python’s show. Innes also performed and sang his own songs on their albums Live at City Center and Live at the Hollywood Bowl. 

When Python broke up, he remained close with Idle and started writing songs for the sketch show Rutland Weekend Television which saw the formation of the Rutles, a Beatles parody band with Innes.