In memoriam: Neil Innes

Singer, songwriter and satirist Neil Innes died December 29 at the age of 75. A fixture of Britain’s avant garde comedy scene in the 1960s, he performed with Beatles parody band The Rutles and collaborated with Monty Python, earning the moniker the Seventh Python. But his cult following was established early on through his membership in the delightfully absurdist Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. He and Vivian Stanshall were the group’s main songwriters, composing “Death Cab for Cutie,” a sendup of pulp fiction novels in an Elvis Presley style. The title of the song was later taken in homage as the name of a U.S. alternative rock band. Monty Python veteran John Cleese tweeted that he was “utterly dismayed” by the news of Innes’ death, remembering his colleague as a “very sweet man, much too nice for his own good.”