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Musician/comedian Neil Innes passed away suddenly and unexpectedly December 29th. He was 75 years old. Probably best known for his work with Monty Python and co-founding The Rutles with Eric Idle, Innes was a gifted musician who used humor to get his points across.
Innes is one of only two non-Pythons to receive writing credit for the TV series, the other being Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy). For Monty Python And The Holy Grail he wrote songs, such as "Knights Of The Round Table" and "Brave Sir Robin", and also played a head-bashing monk, the serf crushed by the giant wooden rabbit, and the leader of Sir Robin's minstrels.
He also had small roles in Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky and Monty Python's Life Of Brian, and performed the whistling on the latter's hit song, "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life".
He appeared on stage with the Pythons in the UK and Canada in 1973, in London in 1974 and in New York City in 1976, performing the Bob Dylanesque "Protest Song" (complete with harmonica) on the album Monty Python Live At City Center. Introduced as Raymond Scum, after his introduction he told the audience, "I've suffered for my music. Now it's your turn."
In 1980, he travelled to the States with the Pythons again, subsequently 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 and as a Church Policeman in the "Salvation Fuzz" sketch.
Python founding member Sir Michael Palin described him as "a great writer" and "the most lovely friend". "He was the first Neil Innes really!" Sir Michael told BBC Radio 4's PM program. "We were very lucky to have him on board."
His collaborations with Monty Python and other artists were documented in the musical film The Seventh Python, which premiered at the Mods & Rockers Film Festival in 2008.