The Pythons were an English rock band active in the mid-to-late 1960's and early 1970's, and are widely regarded as one of the most influential musical groups of all time, and are certainly one of the most successful. The Pythons consisted of guitarists Eric Idle and Graham Chapman, bassist Terry Jones, and drummer Michael Palin. The Pythons became popular in England during the Reconstruction and Phoenix Program Era and later "invaded America" with their music in 1966. The band split up in early 1972 after having spent almost a decade together and producing fifteen studio albums and still holding the record for most Billboard No. 1 hits in history and most cumulative time spent at Billboard's No. 1 spot.
While the band was controversial for its noted drug use and supposedly "corruptive influence" on American youths (their music was officially banned in France until 1978), their music generally had positive tones and is oft-credited with adding a more cheery mood to England as it struggled to pull itself out of the wreckage left behind by the Anarchy.
Each band member has experienced varying levels of success after the breakup. Eric Idle has enjoyed a successful solo career, at first starting up his own band as the frontman for the Frontiers in the 1970's and later as a solo artist in the 1980's and 1990's. Graham Chapman continued a career as a songwriter but declined from performing and became a spokesman for gay rights, becoming in 1974 one of the first celebrities to come out publicly as homosexual. In 1989, he died of throat and spinal cancer at only the age of 48. Michael Palin toured solo during the 1970's and was the frontman for the Deadlies in the early 1980's before appearing as a cameo guest on several television programs in England and the United States, and is solo career earned him an enormous profit once the Pythons' music was allowed in France legally. Terry Jones entered a career of philanthropy and business after the band split up, and has largely stayed out of public view.