Neil Innes: ‘How Sweet To Be An Idiot’ Expanded Edition

❉ The former Bonzo, Rutle and Seventh Python’s solo debut, to be reissued in April by Cherry Red.

Neil Innes’ sad and sudden death in December 2019 robbed the world of one of Britain’s most original and unique musical and comic talents. Innes made his name in the 1960s with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band before diversifying in the 1970s into TV, Solo and other projects – including the famous and much-loved Beatles pastiche The Rutles.

How Sweet To Be An Idiot was Neil’s debut solo album, first issued on United Artists in 1973, its title and cover design reflecting Neil’s eccentric sense of humour. The album has never been reissued on CD in its original format and sleeve – until now! Cherry Red were working with Neil on this project prior to his tragic death.

Neil Innes performing on stage, Victoria Palace, London, 1975. (Photo by Dick Barnatt/Redferns)

The package boasts 10 bonus tracks, some of them previously unissued, including the different single arrangement of the album’s title track and various A- and B-sides, including 1974 single Re-Cycled Vinyl Blues, featuring a guest appearance by Michael Palin.

Neil Innes told We Are Cult’s James Gent:

“I had done it anyway as a song, and poor old Michael, I talked him into it … At the time they were talking about getting old records and melting them down because there was a vinyl shortage.  And I thought about the idea that when you melted these old records down, some of the bits would come through.  So I proceeded to write this thing, it was very funny.  We did this wonderful arrangement and the record company loved it, put it out, but then we found that 8 publishers wanted a share for every little bit of quote on it.  It was getting airplay at first until people realised they had to fill out 9 PRS forms – that’s Performing Rights Society – every time it was played.  So it’s a collectors’ piece.”


  1. Prologue
  2. Momma B
  3. Immortal Invisible
  4. Topless-A-Go-Go
  5. Feel No Shame
  6. How Sweet To Be An Idiot
  7. Dream
  8. L’amour Perdu
  9. Song For Yvonne
  10. This Love Of Ours
  11. Singing A Song Is Easy

Bonus Tracks

  1. Slush (Single Version)
  2. Music From Rawlinson’s End (Single Version)
  3. How Sweet To Be An Idiot (Single Version)
  4. The Age Of Desperation
  5. Re-Cycled Vinyl Blues
  6. Fluff On The Needle
  7. Lie Down And Be Counted
  8. Bandwagon
  9. What Noise Annoys A Noisy Oyster
  10. Oo-Chuck-A-Mao-Mao

❉ Neil Innes: ‘How Sweet To Be An Idiot’ Expanded Edition Released April 24, 2020, via Grapefruit/Cherry Red Records. £10.95. Click here to pre-order directly from Cherry Red Records.

❉ Cherry Red Records have been releasing and reissuing the most innovative and independent thinking music since 1978. Follow them on Twitter or visit their site.

❉ News release edited by James Gent.

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1 Comment

  1. So Neil preceded The Avalanches in regard to publishing rights issues!

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