Art Neville, a New Orleans music legend has died at the age of 81 at his home on Monday. He was the founding member of the bands, Neville Brothers and the Meters.
Neville’s longtime manager, Kent Sorell released a statement in which he said, ” Art ‘Poppa Funk’ passed away peacefully this morning at his home with his adoring wife, Loraine by his side”. The cause of death is unknown and not made clear.
Neville founded three bands over his long music career
Neville whose full name was Arthur Lannon Neville was born in 1937 in New Orleans. His music career began when he joined Hawketts with whom he recorded the classic Mardi Gras Mambo on 1954. He joined Navy but left it after four years in service to pursue his career in music. He, then founded the Neville Sounds which was renamed to The Meters in 1965.
The Meters included Neville, Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, and Leo Necentilli. They recorded famous songs like Cissy Stru, Sophisticated Cissy and Look Ka Py Py. The Meters‘ success opened them for the Rolling Stones on their Tour of the Americas in 1975.
But the Meters soon dissolved in 1977 after which Neville with his three brothers- Charles, Cyril and Aaron, and uncle recorded an album entitled Wild Tchoupitoulas. Their work together led to the formation of a new band Nevill Brothers which lasted for the next three decades. And once again in 1993, Neville formed another and his last band, the funky METERS.
He was keyboardist, singer, and songwriter who was won three Grammy Awards over the course of his more than 50-year-long career. Last year, the musician was awarded the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006, he also received the NAACP Image Award.
Neville was the eldest among his brothers. He has three children including a son Ian, and daughters Amelia and Arthel who’s an anchor for Fox News. The musician had suffered from many health issues, including complications from back surgery. He announced his retirement from music in December.