Aaron Neville

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Aaron Neville
Aaron Neville.jpg
Aaron Neville in c. 2001
Background information
Birth nameAaron Joseph Neville
Born (1941-01-24) January 24, 1941 (age 78)
Origin New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Genres R&B, soul, country, gospel, jazz, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, musician
Years active1960–present
LabelsPar-Lo, Curb, A&M, Chordant, EMI, Burgundy
Associated acts The Neville Brothers, Linda Ronstadt
Website aaronneville.com

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.

Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

The Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart ranks the most popular R&B and hip hop songs in the United States and is published weekly by Billboard. Rankings are based on a measure of radio airplay, sales data, and streaming activity. The chart had 100 positions but was shortened to 50 positions in October 2012.


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 Neville Brothers were an American R&B/soul/funk group, formed in 1977 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ivan Neville musician

Ivan Neville is an American multi-instrumentalist musician, singer, and songwriter. He is the son of Aaron Neville and nephew to members of The Neville Brothers.

Choctaw Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States

The Choctaw are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the Southeastern United States. Their Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean language family group. Hopewell and Mississippian cultures, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. About 1,700 years ago, the Hopewell people built Nanih Waiya, a great earthwork mound located in what is central present-day Mississippi. It is still considered sacred by the Choctaw. The early Spanish explorers of the mid-16th century in the Southeast encountered Mississippian-culture villages and chiefs. The anthropologist John Reed Swanton suggested that the Choctaw derived their name from an early leader. Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw phrase Hacha hatak.


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. [1] 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. [2]

Tell It Like It Is (song) 1966 single by Aaron Neville

"Tell It Like It Is" is a song written by George Davis and Lee Diamond and originally recorded and released in 1966 by Aaron Neville. In 2010, the song was ranked No. 391 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

<i>Billboard</i> Hot 100 Song chart in U.S

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Im a Believer original song written and composed by Neil Diamond

"I'm a Believer" is a song composed by Neil Diamond and recorded by the Monkees in 1966 with the lead vocals by Micky Dolenz. The single, produced by Jeff Barry, hit the number-one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending December 31, 1966 and remained there for seven weeks, becoming the last No. 1 hit of 1966 and the biggest-selling record for all of 1967. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 5 song for 1967. Because of 1,051,280 advance orders, it went gold within two days of release. It is one of the fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold more than 10 million physical copies worldwide. While originally published by Screen Gems-Columbia Music (BMI), it is now published by Stonebridge Music/EMI Foray Music (SESAC).

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. [3]

Linda Ronstadt American singer

Linda Maria Ronstadt is a retired American popular music singer known for singing in a wide range of genres including rock, country, light opera, and Latin. She has earned 10 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, and an ALMA Award, and many of her albums have been certified gold, platinum or multiplatinum in the United States and internationally. She has also earned nominations for a Tony Award and a Golden Globe award. She was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by The Latin Recording Academy in 2011 and also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by The Recording Academy in 2016. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. On July 28, 2014, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities. In 2019, she will receive a joint star with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their work as the group Trio.

<i>Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind</i> 1989 studio album by Linda Ronstadt

Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind is a studio album by American singer/songwriter/producer Linda Ronstadt, released in October 1989 by Elektra Records. Produced by Peter Asher, the album features several duets with singer Aaron Neville—two of which earned Grammy Awards—and several songs written by Jimmy Webb and Karla Bonoff. The album sold over three million copies and was certified Triple Platinum in the United States alone. It was also a major success throughout the world.

Dont Know Much 1989 single by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville

"Don't Know Much" is a song written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Tom Snow. The original version of this song was recorded by Barry Mann in 1980 and was made famous when it was covered as a duet by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville in 1989. Their version was a worldwide success, topping the Irish Singles Chart and reaching the top 10 in several territories.

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.

Everybody Plays the Fool 1972 single by The Main Ingredient

"Everybody Plays the Fool" is the title of a popular song written by J.R. Bailey, Rudy Clark and Ken Williams. It was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best R&B Song at the 1973 ceremony.

The Main Ingredient (band) American soul and R&B group

The Main Ingredient is an American soul and R&B group best known for their 1972 hit song "Everybody Plays the Fool".

The Adult Contemporary chart is published weekly by Billboard magazine and lists the most popular songs on adult contemporary radio stations in the United States. The chart is compiled based on airplay data submitted to Billboard by stations that are members of the Adult Contemporary radio panel. The chart debuted in Billboard magazine on July 17, 1961. Over the years, the chart has gone under a series of name changes, being called Easy Listening(1961–1962; 1965–1979), Middle-Road Singles(1962–1964), Pop-Standard Singles(1964–1965), Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks(1979–1982) and Adult Contemporary(1983–present).

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, [4] 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. [5] 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. [6] As a result, Neville became one of the only African American recording artists to win a Grammy within the Country genre.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as American folk music and blues.

A&M Records American historical record label

A&M Records was an American record label founded as an independent company by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss in 1962. Due to the success of the discography A&M released, the label garnered interest and was acquired by PolyGram in 1989 and began distributing releases from Polydor Ltd. from the UK. Throughout its operations, A&M housed well-known acts such as Gin Blossoms, Dishwalla, Joe Cocker, Procol Harum, Captain & Tennille, Sting, Sergio Mendes, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Supertramp, Bryan Adams, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, The Carpenters, Paul Williams, Quincy Jones, Janet Jackson, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, Elkie Brooks, Carole King, Styx, Extreme, Amy Grant, Joan Baez, the Human League, The Police, CeCe Peniston, Blues Traveler, Soundgarden, Duffy and Sheryl Crow.

"The Grand Tour" is a song made famous by country music singer George Jones. Originally released in 1974, the song was the title track to his album released that year. The song became Jones' sixth No. 1 song on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart in August 1974, and was the fourth-biggest hit of the year. In 2014, Rolling Stone named the song number 38 on its "40 Saddest Country Songs of All Time".

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. [7] 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. [7] He then decided to move back to the New Orleans area, namely the North Shore city of Covington. [7] 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."

Aaron Neville (1990) Aaron Neville 1990.jpg
Aaron Neville (1990)

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 . [8] 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.

In 2009, Neville, along with the Mt. Zion Mass Choir, released a version of the song "A Change Is Gonna Come" on the compilation album, Oh Happy Day . [9]

In 2010, Neville and his brother Art performed with The Meters. [10]

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. [11]

In 2011, Neville, along with The Blind Boys of Alabama and Mavis Staples had toured New Zealand. [12]

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. [13] In October 2015, Keith Richards selected the song "My True Story" as one of his Desert Island Discs. [14]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Aaron Neville among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. [15]

Personal life

Neville is from New Orleans, Louisiana. He has mixed African-American, Caucasian, and Native American (Choctaw) heritage. [16] 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." [17]

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. [18]

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. [19]

Neville is the uncle of journalist and Fox News personality Arthel Neville. [20]

Neville is Catholic, with a devotion to St. Jude, to whom he has credited his success and survival. He wears a St. Jude Medal as a left earring. [21]


Studio albums

YearAlbumPeak chart positionsCertificationsLabel
US R&B US Christ US Gospel US Jazz US CAN USCAN
1966Tell It Like It IsPar-Lo Records
1986Orchid in the StormRhino
1991 Warm Your Heart 44PlatinumGoldA&M
1993The Grand Tour37PlatinumGoldA&M
1993Aaron Neville's Soulful Christmas36PlatinumGoldA&M
1995The Tattooed Heart5064GoldA&M
1997To Make Me Who I Am73188A&M
Nature Boy: The Standards Album851Verve
2005Gospel RootsChordant
Christmas Prayer74143EMI Gospel
2006Mojo SoulMusic Avenue
Bring It On Home... The Soul Classics2037Burgundy
2010I Know I've Been ChangedEMI Gospel
2013My True Story745Blue Note
2016ApacheTell It Records


Peak chart positions. "—" denotes releases that did not chart.

YearSingle US US AC US R&B US Country CAN CAN ACCAN CountryAlbum
1960"Over You"11121Non-album songs
1966"Tell It Like It Is"21962
1967"She Took You for a Ride"92
1991"Everybody Plays the Fool"8119Warm Your Heart
"Somewhere Somebody"64315
1992"Close Your Eyes" (with Linda Ronstadt)3890
1993"Don't Take Away My Heaven"5641712The Grand Tour
"The Grand Tour"903858
"Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight"2637
1994"I Owe You One"5129
"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"32The Grand Tour
1995"Can't Stop My Heart from Loving You (The Rain Song)"9923The Tattooed Heart
"For the Good Times"
1996"Use Me"93
"Crazy Love" (with Robbie Robertson)25 Phenomenon (soundtrack)
1997"Say What's in My Heart"26To Make Me Who I Am
2006"It's All Right"A28Bring It On Home...

Guest singles

YearSingleArtistPeak chart positionsAlbum
1989"Don't Know Much"Linda Ronstadt2141 Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind
1990"All My Life"111101
"When Something Is Wrong with My Baby"7852910
1996"That's What My Love Is For" Anne Murray 15Anne Murray
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

I Fall To Pieces ((Trisha Yearwood))

By heart by soul ((Avalon))

Compilation albums

Music videos

1993"Don't Take Away My Heaven" [23] Zack Snyder
"The Grand Tour" [24] Jim Shea
"Please Come Home for Christmas" [25] Bronwen Hughes
1994"I Fall to Pieces" (w/ Trisha Yearwood)Charley Randazzo
1995"For the Good Times" [26] Jim Shea


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