Art Neville, the singer/keyboardist, and co-founder of legendary New Orleans funk kings The Meters and Neville Brothers has died. He was 81.
Neville passed on Monday (July 22) after years of declining health, with no cause of death made available. His longtime manager confirmed the news in a statement, adding that Neville “passed away peacefully this morning at home with his wife, Lorraine, by his side.”
He’s the voice of the iconic Carnival season anthem “Mardi Gras Mambo” along with other late 1950s and early 1960s classics such as “Cha Dooky Do” and “All These Things”.
Born in 1937 in New Orleans, Neville founded the family band in 1976 with three of his brothers, Aaron, Cyril and his late brother Charles, who passed away in 2018. Together, the band would close out the stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for a number of years, ending the final Sunday party with Art behind the keyboard, flashing the Star Trek Vulcan “live long and prosper” hand sign. He toured until 2018 when he announced his retirement.
A three-time Grammy winner and Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Neville helped spread the gospel that is New Orleans funk with songs such as “Sophisticated Cissy,” “Fire on the Bayou,” “Here Comes the Meter Man,” “Look-Ka Py Py,” “Cissy Strut” and “Hey Pocky A-Way.”
Many of The Meters classic songs such as “Oh, Calcutta” and “People Say” were sampled for other hits such as Amerie‘s “1 Thing” and Aaliyah‘s “Are You That Somebody” and Ginuwine‘s “Ain’t None Of Ur Friends Business”.