powerfully unique personalities, the Neville Brothers thrive on
an explosive fusion of diversity and unity. This collective of talented
brothers is world-famous for its embodiment of the New Orleans sound.
Aaron, Art, Charles, and Cyril Neville have expanded
the horizons of New Orleans R&B while honoring the music's roots and
traditions. Drawing on the vast resources and multiple styles of
African-American music, The Neville Brothers have combined R&B,
jazz, reggae, and elements of rock and Zydeco with a harmony-based funk
groove all their own.
No group in America can claim a more illustrious history than the
Nevilles. The careers of Art and Aaron Neville
began in the early
50's around the street corners, on the porches and at house parties in
the notorious Calliope Projects. Energetic, but with little else to do,
it was only natural for them to pick up the rhythms and moods of the
city of which they were so much a part.
They played and sang the music of
the streets. It was gut level and it was real. "We'd spend the
whole night trying to sound like the Spaniels, the Clovers, and Sonny
Til and the Orioles," said Aaron. "At dances when I was a
little kid, Art would be up there singing while I'd be dancing with
some girl a foot taller than me. I knew then I wanted to be a
Art first came to note well before Elvis, having recorded
"Mardi Gras Mambo" with The Hawkettes in 1954.
"Mardi Gras Mambo" continues to get heavy airplay and
respectable sales during the local Mardi Gras festivities. While Art
was backing Little Richard in the studio and Larry Williams on stage,
saxophonist Charles left New Orleans for Memphis, where he played
with...well, everyone Big Joe Turner, Johnny Ace, Wilson
Bobby "Blue" Bland, Willie Mae Thornton, Tee Vee Mama,
King, you name them. And Aaron, who'd developed his heart-breaking
falsetto after falling in love as a child with the yodeling of the
singing cowboys of the silver screen, had a no. 2 smash with
"Tell It Like It Is" the winter preceding the Summer of
After Art, Cyril, and Aaron had played together as the Neville
Sounds, Art (Who was joined later by Cyril) formed The Meters,
who were acclaimed the world over as the grand masters of New Orleans'
Caribbean-influenced "second line" funk style. While The
Meters ruled New Orleans French Quarter, Cyril and Aaron played on
Claiborne Avenue with the Soul Machine, and Charles found himself
teaching at Goddard College in Vermont, a very long way from home.
Finally, after not having played together for 8 years, the brothers
reunited to help record the universally acclaimed The Wild
Tchoupitoulas a year after their mother's death in 1975. They
credit their uncle, the flamboyant Mardi Gras Indian George (Chief
Jolly) Landry, with getting them to join forces. "He told us that
our mother and father had always wanted to see us work together as a
band," Charles recalls. "He knew that if we got together as
a family, it would happen."
It happened, all right, but slowly. None of their first few
recordings as the Neville Brothers sold spectacularly, though
no less than Keith Richards called "Fiyo
On The Bayou" the best
album of 1981. The brothers nonetheless became their hometown's best-loved local attraction. In 1988, they returned to A&M and won a
Grammy with the sublime Daniel Lanois-produced "Yellow
Keeper" cemented their status as one of the
most fervently acclaimed groups in American pop.
The Neville Brothers have sold millions of records worldwide
and have gold and platinum records in 6 different countries. In the
United States, they have been the featured performers on television
from the early morning on "Good Morning America" and "Today" shows to
midday on "Oprah" to late night on "Saturday Night Live,"
City Limits," "Letterman" and the "Tonight Show." They were the stars of
their own Cinemax/HBO special, which is now available for home video.
They contributed the song, "Let That Hammer Fall" to the
The Nevilles' music has been hailed by music writers in nearly
every major periodical in the country and their live performances are
legendary, moving one of America's most acclaimed young novelists,
John Ed Bradley, to note in G.Q., "The Nevilles play Tipitina's,
and a spooky magic happens. Fruit juice becomes a Hurricane cocktail,
the fat of foot can suddenly hoof it, the blind, by God, can
Notable songs include -- .
- Mardi Gras Mambo
- Fire on the Bayou
- Tell It Like It Is
- Sitting in Limbo
- Meet de Boys on the Battlefront
- Brother John
- Hey Pocky Way
- Over You
- Sister Rosa
The Neville Brothers may be available for your next special event!
.Adult Contemporary. / AdultContemporary
.Funk. / xFunk
R&B. / NewOrleansR&B
.Early R&B. / EarlyR&B
.Soul. / xSoul
.Pop/Rock. / PopRock
.Ceremonial. / xCeremonial
x70s, x80s, x90s, x00s, x10s
Formed: ..in Louisiana / formed nLouisiana
..in New Orleans / formed NewOrleansLA
Based: ..in Louisiana / based nLouisiana