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Aaron Joseph Neville (born January 24, 1941) is an American R&B and soul vocalist and musician. He has had four platinum albums and four Top 10 hits in the United States, including three that went to #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. His debut single, from 1966, was #1 on the Soul chart for five weeks.
Aaron Neville in c. 2001
|Birth name||Aaron Joseph Neville|
|Born||January 24, 1941|
|Origin||New Orleans, Louisiana, United States|
|Genres||R&B, soul, country, gospel, jazz, pop|
|Labels||Par-Lo, Curb, A&M, Chordant, EMI, Burgundy|
|Associated acts||The Neville Brothers, Linda Ronstadt|
He has also recorded with his brothers Art, Charles and Cyril as The Neville Brothers and is the father of singer/keyboards player Ivan Neville. Neville is of mixed African-American, Caucasian, and Native American (Choctaw) heritage.
The first of his singles that was given airplay outside of New Orleans was "Over You" (Minit, 1960). Neville's first major hit single was "Tell It Like It Is", released on a small New Orleans label, Par-Lo, co-owned by local musician/arranger George Davis, a friend from school, and band-leader Lee Diamond. The song topped Billboard's R&B chart for five weeks in 1967 and also reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind "I'm a Believer by the Monkees). It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. It was not the label's only release, as some sources claim. At least five other Par-Lo singles, three of them by Neville himself, are known to exist.
In 1989, Neville teamed up with Linda Ronstadt on the album Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind. Among the duets recorded for the disc were the #1 Grammy-winning hits "Don't Know Much" and "All My Life". "Don't Know Much" reached #2 on the Hot 100, and was certified Gold for selling a million copies, while the album was certified Triple Platinum for US sales of more than 3 million.
His other hits have included "Everybody Plays the Fool", his 1991 cover of the 1972 Main Ingredient song, that reached #8 on the Hot 100; "Don't Take Away My Heaven", "Hercules" and "Can't Stop My Heart From Loving You (The Rain Song)." Neville's biggest solo successes have been on the Adult Contemporary chart, where "Don't Know Much," "All My Life," and "Everybody Plays the Fool" all reached Number One.
During 1993 and 1994, Neville expanded his repertoire as a recording artist and ventured into making country music. In 1993, Neville released The Grand Tour on A&M Records. The Grand Tour was a No.1 song for country music legend George Jones in 1974 and while Neville's version only peaked at No.38 on the Billboard country singles chart, it was highly acclaimed by fans and critics, resulting in a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards in 1994. Neville's next country music project involved appearing on Rhythm, Country and Blues, an album of duets featuring R&B and Country artists performing renditions of classic country and R&B songs. Neville recorded a version of I Fall to Pieces, a major crossover hit for Patsy Cline originally released in 1961, with Trisha Yearwood that resulted in Neville and Yearwood winning the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals at the 37th Annual Grammy Awards. As a result, Neville became one of the only African American recording artists to win a Grammy within the Country genre.
In August 2005, his home in Eastern New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; he evacuated to Memphis, Tennessee, before the hurricane hit. He moved to Nashville after the storm. and failing to return to the city by early 2008, caused the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to temporarily change its tradition of having the Neville Brothers close the festival. However, the Neville Brothers, including Aaron, returned for the 2008 Jazzfest, which returned to its traditional seven-day format for the first time since Katrina. He then decided to move back to the New Orleans area, namely the North Shore city of Covington. Neville performed Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" during NBC's A Concert for Hurricane Relief on September 2, 2005.
Neville signed to SonyBMG's new Burgundy Records label in late 2005 and recorded an album of songs by Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke and others for Bring It On Home…The Soul Classics, released on September 19, 2006. The album, produced by Stewart Levine, features collaborations between Neville and Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Chris Botti, David Sanborn, Art Neville, and others. The album's first single was a remake of The Impressions' 1963 classic "It's All Right."
Neville's career has included work for television, movies and sporting events. Neville sang the National Anthem in the movie The Fan starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes. He also sang the anthem at the WWF's SummerSlam 1993 and at WCW's Spring Stampede 1994. Neville sang the theme music to the children's TV series Fisher-Price Little People. He also sang a new version of "Cotton," for Cotton Incorporated which was introduced during the 1992 Summer Olympics. In 1988 he recorded "Mickey Mouse March" for Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films, one of Various Artists. In 2006, Neville performed a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner", alongside Aretha Franklin and Dr. John on keyboards at Super Bowl XL in Detroit, Michigan. In addition, Neville (along with brothers Art and Cyril) did background vocals for the songs "Great Heart", "Bring Back the Magic", "Homemade Music", "My Barracuda", and "Smart Woman (in a Real Short Skirt)" on Jimmy Buffett's Hot Water, released in 1988.
On October 27, 2006, Neville made a guest appearance on an episode of the soap opera The Young and the Restless. He sang "Stand By Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine", from his album, Bring It On Home … The Soul Classics. In 2008 he released Gold, which includes a double album of his hits.
Neville was the featured artist for the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the University of Memphis Centennial Concert September 30, 2011, at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts.
In January 2013, paying tribute to the songs of his youth, Blue Note Records released Neville's My True Story, a collection of 12 doo-wop tunes, produced by Don Was and Keith Richards, with backing by musicians such as Benmont Tench and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. In October 2015, Keith Richards selected the song "My True Story" as one of his Desert Island Discs.
Neville is from New Orleans, Louisiana. He has mixed African-American, Caucasian, and Native American (Choctaw) heritage. His uncle, George "Big Chief Jolly" Landry, was lead singer of the Mardi Gras Indian group The Wild Tchoupitoulas.
Neville got his facial tattoo (of a cross) when he was 16 years old. Speaking to Billboard in 2019, he recalled, "My dad made me scrub it with Brillo Pads and Octagon Soap. The skin came off, but the tattoo stayed. But some years later, I had an album out called The Tattooed Heart [in 1995], and we were doing a special thing in a tattoo parlor, so I let them go over it and outline it -- freshen it up."
In 2008, during a People magazine photo shoot, Neville met photographer Sarah A. Friedman, who had been hired to take a portrait of the Neville Brothers. Neville and Friedman were married November 12, 2010, in New York City at the restaurant Eleven Madison Park.
Neville's oldest son Ivan is also a musician and released an album, If My Ancestors Could See Me Now, in 1988, which yielded a Top 40 hit with "Not Just Another Girl." Ivan has also performed with Spin Doctors, The Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt, and played keyboards for Keith Richards on his first solo tour. Ivan then assembled his own band (Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk) which tours and frequently appears in New Orleans.
Neville's third son, Jason, is a vocalist and rap artist who has performed with his father and with the Neville Brothers, notably at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Label|
|US R&B||US Christ||US Gospel||US Jazz||US||CAN||US||CAN|
|1966||Tell It Like It Is||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Par-Lo Records|
|1986||Orchid in the Storm||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Rhino|
|1991||Warm Your Heart||—||—||—||—||44||—||Platinum||Gold||A&M|
|1993||The Grand Tour||—||—||—||—||37||—||Platinum||Gold||A&M|
|1993||Aaron Neville's Soulful Christmas||—||—||—||—||36||—||Platinum||Gold||A&M|
|1995||The Tattooed Heart||50||—||—||—||64||—||Gold||—||A&M|
|1997||To Make Me Who I Am||73||—||—||—||188||—||—||—||A&M|
|Nature Boy: The Standards Album||85||—||—||1||—||—||—||—||Verve|
|Christmas Prayer||74||14||3||—||—||—||—||—||EMI Gospel|
|2006||Mojo Soul||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Music Avenue|
|Bring It On Home... The Soul Classics||20||—||—||—||37||—||—||—||Burgundy|
|2010||I Know I've Been Changed||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||EMI Gospel|
|2013||My True Story||7||—||—||—||45||—||—||—||Blue Note|
|2016||Apache||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Tell It Records|
Peak chart positions. "—" denotes releases that did not chart.
|Year||Single||US||US AC||US R&B||US Country||CAN||CAN AC||CAN Country||Album|
|1960||"Over You"||111||—||21||—||—||—||—||Non-album songs|
|1966||"Tell It Like It Is"||2||—||1||—||96||2||—|
|1967||"She Took You for a Ride"||92||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1991||"Everybody Plays the Fool"||8||1||—||—||19||—||—||Warm Your Heart|
|1992||"Close Your Eyes" (with Linda Ronstadt)||—||38||—||—||90||—||—|
|1993||"Don't Take Away My Heaven"||56||4||—||—||17||12||—||The Grand Tour|
|"The Grand Tour"||90||—||—||38||—||—||58|
|"Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight"||—||26||—||—||37||—||—|
|1994||"I Owe You One"||—||—||—||—||51||29||—|
|"I Fall to Pieces" (with Trisha Yearwood)||—||—||—||72||—||—||—||Rhythm, Country and Blues|
|"Even If My Heart Would Break" (with Kenny G)||122||—||—||—||—||—||—||The Bodyguard (soundtrack)|
|"Betcha By Golly, Wow"||—||—||—||—||32||—||—||The Grand Tour|
|1995||"Can't Stop My Heart from Loving You (The Rain Song)"||99||23||—||—||—||—||—||The Tattooed Heart|
|"For the Good Times"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Crazy Love" (with Robbie Robertson)||—||25||—||—||—||—||—||Phenomenon (soundtrack)|
|1997||"Say What's in My Heart"||—||26||—||—||—||—||—||To Make Me Who I Am|
|2006||"It's All Right"A||—||28||—||—||—||—||—||Bring It On Home...|
- A "It's All Right" peaked at #12 on Hot Contemporary Jazz Songs.
|Year||Single||Artist||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US||US AC||CAN||CAN AC|
|1989||"Don't Know Much"||Linda Ronstadt||2||1||4||1||Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind|
|1990||"All My Life"||11||1||10||1|
|"When Something Is Wrong with My Baby"||78||5||29||10|
|1996||"That's What My Love Is For"||Anne Murray||—||—||—||15||Anne Murray|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart
I Fall To Pieces ((Trisha Yearwood))
By heart by soul ((Avalon))
- Greatest Hits (1990)
- The Very Best of Aaron Neville (2000)
- 20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of Aaron Neville (2002)
- Brother to Brother (2003)
- Love Songs (2003)
- Aaron Neville & Friends Sky Blue Music (2007)
- Gold (2008)
|1993||"Don't Take Away My Heaven"||Zack Snyder|
|"The Grand Tour"||Jim Shea|
|"Please Come Home for Christmas"||Bronwen Hughes|
|1994||"I Fall to Pieces" (w/ Trisha Yearwood)||Charley Randazzo|
|1995||"For the Good Times"||Jim Shea|
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 209. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Par Lo Label Discography - USA". 45cat.com. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
- Gundersen, Edna (April 23, 2008). "Jazz Fest is yet another survivor of Katrina". USA Today. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
- "Aaron Neville To Perform on 'The Young & The Restless'". Starpulse.com. October 2, 2006. Retrieved October 27, 2006.
- "Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah go gospel for "Day"". Reuters. March 27, 2009.
- "Aaron Neville – Official Merch – Powered by MerchDirect". Merchdirect.com. November 22, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
- "Hear Keith Richards' Desert Island Discs". Uncut.co.uk. October 26, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
- Faber, Jim (July 19, 2017). "'Buried history': unearthing the influence of Native Americans on rock'n'roll". The Guardian. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
- Prato, Greg (March 13, 2019). "Aaron Neville on Upcoming Crawfish Fest Appearance, His Musical Family and the Rise of Face Tattoos". Billboard (magazine). Retrieved March 19, 2019.
- "Aaron Neville and His Songs of Faith – February 1999 Issue of St. Anthony Messenger Magazine Online". Americancatholic.org. Archived from the original on April 12, 2001. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- "Bluebeat Music : Neville Aaron & Art – (2CDS) Brother To Brother [Fuel3232] – $15.00". bluebeatmusic.com.
- "CMT : Videos : Aaron Neville : Don't Take Away My Heaven". Country Music Television. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
- "CMT : Videos : Aaron Neville : The Grand Tour". Country Music Television. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
- "CMT : Videos : Aaron Neville : Stacked – Holiday Cheer : Please Come Home For Christmas". Country Music Television. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
- "CMT : Videos : Aaron Neville : For The Good Times". Country Music Television. Retrieved September 30, 2011.