Monday, May 4, 2009

How Sweet to Be an Idiot

Just a tad more Neil Innes.

After the Rutles album came out, there was a lot of talk about how similar the songs were to Beatles songs (including this article, which proves that scholarly study of humor will almost immediately spiral into self-parody).

Unfortunately, the owners of the Beatles publishing (but not the Beatles themselves) decided that the Rutle songs were too close to Beatle songs and sued. In the process, Innes lost all the publishing and songwriting royalties for all the songs from the first Rutles album (and was so disgusted with the music business that he dropped out of music for several years). Add in legal squabbling with Eric Idle about legal ownership of the idea of the Rutles, and you've got enough to make you want to smash everything in sight. (And blame it on society.)

But the universe does have a way of showing that there is such thing as Karma, even if it takes longer than we want. In the mid-1990s, Oasis, a band whose music is often ignored while people focus on their influences and frequent fistfights, released a song called "Whatever" which -- and I'm not sure how to put this delicately -- sounds exactly like the Neil Innes song "How Sweet to Be an Idiot."

And, perhaps in part to make up for mistreating him financially with the Rutles, the universe awarded Innes royalties and co-writing credit on "Whatever."


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