Word came across the wires today of the sudden death of Neil Innes — Rutle, Bonzo Dog, associate of both The Beatles and Monty Python.

Most directly relevant to this blog, Innes appeared with the Bonzo Dog Band in Magical Mystery Tour. He also wrote their single “I’m the Urban Spaceman,” which was produced by Paul McCartney under the alias “Apollo C. Vermouth.”

And of course one cannot watch that without being reminded of his turn as the leader of Sir Robin’s minstrels:

Innes also appeared onstage with the Pythons, where one of his characters was a brutal Bob Dylan parody called “Raymond Scum.” He later reprised the number on the Old Grey Whistle Test, and though this version is sanitized for TV — for the record, that should be “have me a fuckin’ good time” — and lacks the electricity provided by the audience reaction in the Live at City Center performance, it is well worth a watch.

He also is the author of the most concise blues song ever written:

And here’s another quite concise tune, a hit that should have been:

Jesus, the Rutles, I temporarily forgot all about the Rutles. Innes was a gifted mimic, and this song could have appeared on a Beatles album without anyone batting an eyelash:

I could go on and on. But I probably shouldn’t. Here’s one last number though, probably my favorite of Neil’s. A sort of anthem for all of us who don’t quite fit in to society’s categories. We may not know what we’re doing, but we keep on doing it, and I for one take comfort in that. Thank you for your service, Neil; we’ll take it from here.

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