Neil Innes

The unsung pariah of parodies

When people think of musical satirists, they think of "Weird Al" Yankovic song parodies when they should be thinking of Neil Innes, a guy who composes original music that slyly sends up artists and genres. He plied his craft in the '60s with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, the British music hall equivalent of the Mothers of Invention (his "I'm the Urban Spaceman," produced by Paul McCartney, was their biggest hit), and later became an unofficial seventh member of Monty Python. Innes' brightest musical moment was "Background to History," in which an expert on medieval English farming responds to questions in the musical stylings of Bob Marley, Gary Glitter, and Joe Cocker. His most popular work was with the Rutles, a Beatles satire so spot-on that Innes' music for it actually inspired a Rutles tribute album. The accompanying 1978 TV feature, All You Need Is Cash, was the first "mockumentary," predating Spinal Tap by a good half-decade. In his live show, expect a generous helping of Bonzo, Python and Rutles material, as well as Innes' fine solo work starting from his 1974 album How Sweet to Be an Idiot.

 
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