Some people hang the holly, others decorate the tree, and a few even terrorize the neighborhood with off-key caroling.
Here at Quick Stop Entertainment, we’re celebrating the holiday season by giving a little something back to you, our readers (you know who you are).
Every weekday leading up to the holiday break, we’ve got uber-exclusive gifts provided by a whole range of artists, actors, comedians, and studios. One a day, straight from them to you.
Ain’t that cool?
Today we’ve got an exclusive holiday tune from Neil Innes.
It was during the Jurassic period (the late ’60s) that Neil was a member of the legendary Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, madcap purveyors of esoteric music (Who else would revive music hall standards in the age of rock? They did it, and it worked!). Their biggest hit was the deceptively poignant “I’m the Urban Spaceman” (While the credited producer on that track was one “Apollo C. Vermouth,” he’s better known as Paul McCartney… Sir Paul McCartney, these days).
While firmly ensconced within the Bonzos, Neil first became acquainted (and vice-versa) with Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones while working on Do Not Adjust Your Set, a children’s show whose viewers tended to skew a bit older than the intended audience. Eric, Mike, and the two Terrys went on to form Monty Python with Graham Chapman and John Cleese, and The Pythons called on Neil’s musical skills numerous times over the years, particularly when producing their best-selling albums. When John Cleese decided to move on to greener pastures prior to Python’s fourth series, Neil stepped into the void as a contributing writer and performer. Neil was also tapped for Monty Python & the Holy Grail, contributing music and a memorable performance as the annoyingly truthful minstrel of Eric Idle’s cowardly Sir Robin. Not willing to let him get away just yet, Neil was brought in again for their follow-up film, The Life of Brian (wherein he outruns certain death during the colosseum debate scene).
Even while working with the Pythons, Neil continued his solo career, and it was during this period that he produced one of his most memorable compositions, the haunting (and perpetually relevant) “How Sweet To Be An Idiot.” His BBC program, Innes Book of Records, ran for 3 series and featured 90 original tunes. From torch song and ballad to rock and parody, the show featured an exceedingly wide range of styles.
It was during the latter-half of the ’70s, however, that Neil produced his most enduring work. While collaborating with Eric Idle on the post-Python TV series Rutland Weekend Television, the two devised a brief Hard Day’s Night parody with Idle portraying a boring filmmaker (so boring the camera ran from him) and Innes providing the Beatles-esque “I Must Be in Love.” During his next hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, Idle unleashed the short film on the American public. That led to SNL’s Lorne Michaels producing a mockumentary of the mock-band, named The Rutles, for NBC. All You Need Is Cash aired on March 22, 1978, starring Eric and Neil as one half of the “Pre-Fab Four” and featuring songs by Innes. In 1996, Innes reunited with Rutles bandmates John Halsey and Ricki Fataar to release The Rutles: Archeology, which sported 16 brand new tracks “discovered in the vaults,” a la The Beatles Anthology.
Neil continues to write and perform, and has recently released his latest solo album, Works in Progress (which you can learn more about at neilinnes.org or order here). He’s toured the UK with a reunited Bonzo Dog Band, and is about to launch an experimental podcast called “Radio Noir” on his official website, EgoWarriors.com
In fact, Neil sent us over an exclusive preview of “Radio Noir,” which also contains his holiday tune “Tinsel & String,” just for all of you Quick Stoppers…
Download Neil Innes’ “Radio Noir - Tinsel & String“:
Check out the rest of this year’s “Holiday Havoc” HERE
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