Art Neville, the keyboard player for the Neville Brothers, has died at age 81. Art was also a founding member of The Meters.
Art had his first hit while still at school as lead singer for New Orleans’ band The Hawketts. Their ‘Mardi Gras Mambo’ was a local hit. Art was 16 years old at the time.
In the 1960s Art gathered his brothers Aaron to form Neville Sounds, the forerunner of both The Meters and The Neville Brothers. After Art and Cyril left that band, Neville Sounds became backing singers for The Pointer Sisters and Lee Dorsey.
Neville Sounds became The Meters with Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones becoming early fans. The Meters became an important influence on Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Cyril and Aaron as well as other brother Charles regrouped with Art in 1978 to form The Neville Brothers. In Australia, the Neville Brothers reached no 100 with ‘Yellow Moon’ (1989) and number 44 with ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ (1992).
TThe Meters last album was ‘New Directions’ in 1977. The Neville Brothers last album ‘Walkin’ in the Shadow of Life’ was released in 2004.
Art had been in poor health in recent years.