Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Neil Innes RIP

Neil Innes died. Everyone who knew him said how nice he was. "Too nice for his own good," said John Cleese.

I played the video of "How Sweet to be an Idiot" in his memory. I hadn't known I knew it but it seems I do. The hook is very familiar. Did he steal it from the Beatles? No, I did the research and it turns out Oasis stole it from him- and had to pay him financial compensation- and serve them jolly well right.

When I first saw the Rutles it all but made me cry. It seemed like an elegy for hopes and dreams of my generation. When I catch bits of it now I find much of the comedy far too broad. What it needed to be was as almost-straight as Spinal Tap. Innes' contributions are of course immaculate. He wrote "Beatles songs" that are all but indistinguishable from the real thing.

The Innes Book of Records was ground-breaking. I adored that show.

In later life he seems to have given much of his energy to kids TV- which is admirable but meant I no longer came across his work.

Not only was he nice but apparently happy with it- and perfectly content to be unfamous. "Take it from me," he said. "Being a Rutle was much more fun than being a Beatle."
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