Art Neville, member of The Neville Bros. and founder of The Meters, dies

Chris Miller
July 22, 2019 - 12:35 pm

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Art Neville, eldest of The Neville Brothers and founder of The Meters, has died, according to the Neville family. He was 81.

Neville announced his retirement in December of last year, due to health issues. 

Not only a member of The Neville Brothers, along with his three brothers Aaron, Charles, and Cyril, Art Neville founded The Meters, playing keyboard for the seminal New Orleans funk band.

The Meters not only released their own music, but also served as session musicians for the likes of Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, including playing for Patti LaBelle's recording of the Toussaint-penned "Lady Marmalade."

Of his uncle Art's music, nephew Ivan Neville said it is almost impossible to put a label on it.

"It's hard to describe in words, man," he told WWL's Scoot. "It's just soulful, a soulful mixture of blues, rock'n'roll, funk, its a gumbo. Gumbo is the best way to describe it. When I was coming up, the gumbo that my mom and my grandmother made, it wasn't a chicken gumbo, it wasn't a seafood gumbo, we had everything it. It had chicken, sausage, shrimp, crab, all of it, seasoned up with everything else. That's about as good as I can describe it."

As a member of The Neville Brothers, Art Neville won a Grammy award for 1989's Yellow Moon. In 2018, The Meters were honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The Meters have been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame four times, most recently in 2017.

His death today leaves Aaron and Cyril Neville as the surviving members of original four-member Neville Brothers. Charles Neville died in April 2018.

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