Twenty years ago yesterday, Vivian Stanshall died. Among his many creations are the stories of the Rawlinson family, especially Sir Henry Rawlinson. There was a real Sir Henry and he died March 5, 1895, 100 years to the day of Stanshall’s sad and accidental end.
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band played the role of jester in the court of the Beatles in the late 1960s, and Vivian Stanshall was the charismatic, curious leader of the leaderless and leader-resistant Bonzos. The missing link between the Beatles and Monty Python (if one was needed), in 1967 the Bonzos appeared in both “Magical Mystery Tour” (partially entertaining the Beatles with a performance of “Death Cab for Cutie”) and in the pre-Python but mostly Python-staffed afternoon television show, “Do Not Adjust Your Set.”
Here, Michael Palin of the Pythons introduces the Bonzos and Stanshall does his best worst Elvis in “Death Cab for Cutie.”
Stanshall, a writer for whom no declarative statement could be too perplexing (“I’ve never met a man I didn’t mutilate”), was paired up with Neil Innes, a songwriter whose Beatles-esque melodies led not only to to the Bonzos being produced by Paul McCartney (the minor…
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