The 9 albums that changed Neil Innes’ life

 By Peter Lindblad
NEIL INNES of The Rutles, the Bonzo Dog Band. Glen Claff photo
NEIL INNES of The Rutles, the Bonzo Dog Band. Glen Claff photo
With a wit as dry as the Sahara, Neil Innes has taken great pleasure in skewering music’s sacred cows. 

As Ron Nasty in the infamous Beatles film parody “The Rutles,” Innes played a character loosely based on John Lennon.

Long before that, however, Innes helped found the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in art school and spent time working with Monty Python. Here are the 10 … make that nine albums that changed his life — with a little bit of humor thrown in.

  The Band: Music From Big Pink
I think this is just about the best group of musicians ever put together — the dream team. It’s not fair to single anyone out, but the keyboard playing is like having your ear licked by a big, friendly dog.
  Miles Davis: Kind Of Blue
This is simply the best album to play while driving in the wee small hours, especially in the U.S., looking for a hotel after a gig. Particularly good for crossing the Delaware [River] at 2 a.m., [Wife] Yvonne and I were agreeably surprised to find that, unlike the painting, nowadays the same task is relatively effortless and only costs $3.
  The Mothers Of Invention: We’re Only In It For The Money
A lot of people in the U.S. thought that Bonzo Dog Band was the U.K. version of The Mothers of Invention and a lot of people in the U.K. thought that Frank and the boys were the U.S. equivalent of the Bonzos. Not entirely true, but we were kindred spirits.
  Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
I remember when The Beach Boys came to Crystal Palace in England and took about an hour to set up. People had started the slow handclap when suddenly “God Only Knows” came through the PA sounding just like the album. [I] thought we had died and gone to heaven. 
  The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
I don’t see how anyone can exclude this one from their Top 10. Popular music has never been the same since. And by the way, it has to be said: “Beatles” is such a silly name — I wish I’d thought of it.
  Paul Simon: One-Trick Pony
Two big friendly dogs? No, get a grip. Maybe Still Crazy After All These Years and Graceland are more popular, but this is still my favorite by far. Paul’s finest album since Art went into catering.
  The Rutles: Archeology
This may not be the best Rutles album, but it’s among the top two. A lot of good people put a lot of good things into it, and a lot of good people say a lot of good things about it. It’s a shame it’s almost as obscure as Pet Sounds used to be!
  Bob Dylan: Modern Times
I like all three of Dylan’s latest albums — (even the Christmas one has a certain je ne sais quoi). In my book he is the master of everyday language, and he continues to dignify us all with the spirit of Woody Guthrie. And what a wonderful band!
  Harry Nilsson: A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night
Dear Harry … how we all miss him. What a wonderful voice! How did he do it? The album was the brainchild of Derek Taylor. For me, it is timeless and the perfect way to chill out with absent friends after a heavy day.

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