Neil James Innes (born 9 December 1944 in Danbury, Essex) is an English writer and performer of comic songs, best known for his collaborative work with Monty Python, and for playing in the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and later The Rutles. Innes spent a good part of his childhood with his parents and two-year-older brother Iain in post-war Germany during his Scottish father's military assignment as a warrant officer. He took piano lessons from age 7 to 14. He taught himself to play guitar. Neil's parents were supportive of their sons' interests. His father showed some artistic ability as he frequently drew and painted.
He later attended Thorpe Grammar School and the Norwich School of Art. Because Norwich lacked a particular art curriculum in which he was interested, he transferred to Goldsmiths' College, where he met Yvonne Catherine Hilton, majoring in drama, and they married on 3 March 1966. They have three sons, Miles (b. 1967), Luke (b. 1971), and Barney (b. 1977). They have two grandchildren.