In early December of 1989, I was in London for the 20th anniversary party for Monty Python. Graham Chapman had died two months earlier, on October 4, so I was prepared for a bittersweet evening.
Graham’s memorial service had been held that afternoon (the day John Cleese gave his famous and touching “Good riddance, the freeloading bastard” speech), so Graham’s presence was very much in the air. I had the chance to spend time with Graham’s foster son, John Tomiczek, the last time I would ever have a chance to see him. So, it had the potential for a very emotional evening.
Fortunately, it turned out to be emotional in a very good way, the way one would hope a Python event would be. It was held in the hall where, a few years earlier, the Mr. Creosote scene was filmed for Meaning of Life, which gave it the proper credibility. I spent the evening catching up with Pythons, crew members, and family members, several of which I hadn’t seen since Life of Brian ten years earlier. The hours flew by.
At the end of the night, gifts were handed out. There were three or four things to choose from, but I immediately honed in on something I’d never seen before–a brand new Python record album titled Monty Python Sings! It featured most of the great Python music from TV and films, collected on one piece of vinyl, under a beautiful Terry Gilliam cover. I had long been pestering the Python office to put out such an album, and here it was!
Despite knowing what a pain it would be to carry it back in my luggage, I brought it back to the States, and still remember the first time I heard it. In addition to all of the old favorites, there was one special treat. Graham had written and sang Medical Love Song for the Contractual Obligation Album (with Eric Idle) a few years earlier. But Monty Python Sings featured a new version, with additional lyrics, sung by Graham. His voice was noticibly weakened, but it was the last thing he did for Python before he died. I later found out that Eric had walked Graham through it all so that he would have one more piece of work for Python. And Eric immediately shot up to the top of the “Nicest Python List.”
Why do I bring all of this up now?
Because Monty Python Sings (Again) is being re-released on June 9, with new bonus recordings, a few long-lost gems from the Python archives, remixed Terry Gilliam cover artwork, and a special bonus disc of their very first record album, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, recorded live at Camden Town Hall in May 1970. Whether you’re going to the shows in July at the O2 Arena, or watching the final show in theatres, it’s a great way to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Python. It’ll be available on iTunes, or you can order a copy just by clicking here. Sounds like a great deal to me. Knowwhatimean?