New Orleans funk legend Art Neville dies, aged 81

Art Neville with Charles Neville performing with the Neville Brothers in Brooklyn, New York on 22 July 2004
(Image credit: Getty Images/David Corio)

Singer, songwriter, bandleader, pianist, keyboard player and all-round master of funk, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville, has passed away at the age of 81, his manager has confirmed.

Born in New Orleans, Art’s early career was influenced by such RnB artists as James Booker, Booker T. Jones and Bill Doggett, and at the age of 16 joined The Hawketts, who released Mardi Gras Mambo with Neville on vocals.

He then formed the Neville Sounds, with brothers Aaron and Cyril. However, a while after their departure from the band, the ‘Sounds renamed to The Meters who released such seminal funk classics as Cissy Strut.

In the late ‘70s, after the dissolution of The Meters, Art teamed up with brothers Aaron, Cyril and Charlie to form the Neville Brothers, who released the star-studded Uptown and 1989’s Yellow Moon, produced by Daniel Lanois.

The Meters later reformed with a slightly different line-up renamed the Funky Meters, and performed with Art until his retirement in 2018.

Neville is survived by his wife and three children, Lorraine, Arthel, Ian and Amelia, and siblings Aaron, Cyril and Athelgra.

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.